We have 6 single guest rooms and 2 rooms for married couples. Each guest room is private with its own bathroom.
Why come to a monastery on retreat? Most people in our Western culture either don’t hear or don’t heed the call for spiritual retreat. We’re busy. We have commitments. We have demands. We have much to do. And when we do get a break, there are certainly destinations more comfortable, convenient and distracting than a Trappist monastery. There’s no swimming pool here. There’s no TV. Hopefully, no cell phone. The accommodations are simple. Make no mistake: this is no resort. This is not the place for a vacation. So, why come?
Guests come to New Clairvaux for a variety of reasons. Some are facing questions of discernment. Others are facing questions of healing. Many come to renew or deepen their faith. Some come from curiosity. Others simply don’t know why they came. Regardless of the reasons, your invitation is actually quite clear: you are invited to listen. You are invited to a deep inner quiet and a profound active attention to God’s presence and voice. This quiet and attention form the heart of a self-directed retreat.
For those accustomed to directed retreats organized around specific topics and predetermined daily schedules, the self-directed retreat can be a bit disconcerting. “What am I to do? How do I spend my time?” are questions sometimes asked by those experiencing it for the first time. This discomfort is understandable and the questions are worthy of reflection.
Guided by the light of the Divine inside of you, you may be drawn to read a specific book in the library, or write your thoughts and feelings in a journal, or talk with a monk or friend you happened to meet. Perhaps you will be drawn to walk through the orchards or take a well-needed nap. You may simply feel the call to sit in attentive silence. Whatever opening may occur for you, know it is not an accident. Regardless of why you came here, your silence and your deep listening will allow you to hear God’s voice in a new way. As the Psalms challenge us: Be still and know that I am God (Ps. 46:10).
Day of Reflection retreatants register in advance to spend a day on retreat at the abbey. If you wish to spend a day of reflection at the monastery, please call (530) 839-2434 to make arrangements or you may register using the online “Reservations” form (fill-in required information and select option “Day of Reflection” under Retreat Length Preference). Visiting hours: daily 6 am – 8 pm *(Gates locked at 8 pm). For more details, please send your questions firstname.lastname@example.org.
This program is for men and women desiring a retreat that extends beyond the maximum allotted seven day retreat experience. The program requires a commitment of at least two full weeks (14 days). Normally it is self-directed but spiritual direction is available upon request. Monastic enclosure at this time only allows male participants to join the monks’ choir if they desire. Arrangement can be made to share in the daily manual labor if the retreatant requests. Those interested may request an application form from the program director at email@example.com. We ask that you submit the names and contact information of three references. We will contact them. Physical/mental good health, physical mobility, and financial stability are requisites for approval to the program. The abbot has final approval on all applicants. Only one participant is allowed at a time.
Reservations are necessary; we are often booked up as much as six months in advance.
Time frames for scheduling retreats are weekdays with an arrival Monday between 2:30 and 4:30 PM and a departure Friday by noon; or weekends, with an arrival Friday between 2:30 and 4:30 PM and a departure Monday by noon. We receive guests on Monday and Thursday between 2:30 and 4:30 only. Longer retreats can be arranged with permission. At this time we no longer offer lunch before guests depart. We do not offer single overnights.
Arrival time is between 2:30 and 4:30 PM. Please notify us if you wish to cancel or make a change in your reserved dates to allow those on standby to make a retreat.
Check-out time is by noon. Please place the used bedlinens and towels into the pillowcase and leave at the foot of the bed. Please place your room key and any donations you may care to make for your stay in the mail slot of the Guestmaster’s door in the Welcome Center.
St. Luke Guest Dining Room is available to retreatants at all meal times. A Silent Room, located adjacent to the main dining room, is available for those wishing to maintain silence during meals. You are invited to help yourself to all food in the hot plates, or on the dining room counter and in the guest refrigerator. Regular tea and herbal teas are available in the kitchen. Meal times are:
Breakfast: anytime until 9:00 am
Dinner (Lunch): any time between 12:00 and 1:30 pm
Supper: any time between 4:00 and 7:00 pm
Be aware that following the custom of the monks, the main meal of the day is the mid-day meal. Usually the guesthouse fare reflects the monks’ vegetarian diet. Those on special diets are encouraged to bring their own food. Unless you wish to share this food with other guests we encourage you to label each item with your name and retreat dates. Peel-off labels and pens are provided in the kitchen. Please rinse dishes and place in the dishwasher after your meal.
We strongly encourage you to maintain a spirit of silence during your retreat. We especially encourage you to observe the period of Grand Silence that extends from Compline, the last prayer of the day, until after Lauds in the morning. Please, no playing of musical instruments anywhere on monastery grounds. Radios, iPod, or other personal music systems should be used with headphones.
If you wish to talk with a monk for spiritual direction and/or confession, please contact the guestmaster. Due to scheduling demands on the monks available to meet with guests, we cannot always fulfill all requests for spiritual direction, but we will try to meet as many requests as possible. The monastery does not provide psychological or any other form of counseling.
We invite retreatants to participate in services conducted in the abbey church. You are welcome to join the monastic community in the singing of the psalms, but we ask that you do so gently and in unison with the monks. The acoustics of the church can make even moderately loud singing in the visitor’s section a distraction for the monks in the choir. We encourage visitors who are not Catholic to participate in church services to the extent they are comfortable. We are only able to offer Holy Communion to those currently members of the Catholic Church. For personal prayer outside the Hours of prayer in the Abbey Church, St. Cecilia’s chapel is available.
The guest library is always open to retreatants and has an ample supply of contemporary religious and other books. Please feel free to use this space for reading or quiet study. Through an honor system, library books may be “checked-out” for use in guest rooms. Please place all returned books on the counter in the library before you leave the monastery. The monastery librarian will re-shelf all returned books.
We strongly encourage retreatants to turn off your cell phone during your entire stay at the monastery. If you must make or receive a call, please be mindful of how your use of the phone impacts the contemplative environment for you and for those around you.
The donations we receive from our guests allow us to keep the Guest House open and available for all. Your generosity helps cover some of the costs for building maintenance, grounds maintenance, meals and general services in the guest area. A $95 deposit is required to hold a room reservation. Retreats are $95 per night, per person ($190 for a double suite), which includes a private room with a private bathroom and all meals are included.
After unloading your luggage to your room, please park your vehicle in the guest parking area located on the south side of the large brick winery building.
Manual labor is an important aspect of monastic spiritual practice. If during your visit you are interested in joining for some of our work, please contact the Guestmaster in the Welcome Center.