Universal Life Church

GethsemaniRelationships take time to cultivate. You have to spend time with your friends and family members to develop a connection. Your spiritual relationship isn’t any different. It takes time to replenish your soul and to develop a relationship with your spiritual leader. You need solitude, and maybe even direction, to reacquaint yourself with God and to examine your priorities. Here are eight places in the United States where you can take a spiritual retreat.

Abbey of Gethsemani

Thomas Merton lived at this monastery in rural Kentucky from 1941 until he died in 1968. This Trappist Monk community offers weekday and weekend retreats that are silent and undirected. Guests can participate in prayer and the Eucharist, but it’s not mandatory. Reservations are made by email. Offerings to the abbey are according to means, on a free-will basis, according to the website. Meals are provided to retreatants.

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center

Think Jewish summer camp for adults at this retreat center in the Berkshire Mountains. This retreat center is more structured and has many themed weeks. Upcoming weeks include Jewish song traditions, a food conference, a weeklong study of the Torah, yoga practice and a men’s retreat. Rates vary by theme and date. Children are welcome. They even have commuter rates for those who do not wish to stay overnight.  

Shasta Abbey Buddhist Monastery

This monastery in Mt. Shasta, California, offers retreats all year long for Buddhists and non-Buddhists. One of the most popular retreats is the introductory retreat that offers meditation instruction, Dharma talks, informal discussions and much more. Although the monastery does not charge for its retreats, it does operate through donations.

St. John’s Abbey

This Benedictine monastery in central Minnesota offers private and group retreats, as well as Advent, Lenten and year-end retreats directed by the monks. Costs vary. Guests are welcomed regardless of ability to pay. For individual retreats, you choose the length and dates. You have the option of meeting with a spiritual director as part of your retreat.

Ghost Ranch

Located in New Mexico, this retreat center is owned by the Presbyterian Church. People of all ages, races and religions are welcome. It offers many spiritual retreats, as well as studio retreats for artists. You can go on outdoor adventures or take in the natural environment. Georgia O’Keeffe bought a little part of the ranch and designed the logo. It’s a beautiful place with a long heritage of providing education and serenity.

Breitenbush Hot Springs

This retreat center in Detroit, Oregon, is set in a temperate rain forest. Not only can you enjoy peace, solitude and inspiration, the center offers vegetarian meals, a stone labyrinth, forest trails, a library and massage. Rates vary by season and type. They offer cabins, with and without plumbing, dorm style rooms and more. Make reservations early for the peak season from May 25 through mid-October.

Hope Springs

This sacred space encourages responsible green living, feminist education and transformational work in a community-building program. The center is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It offers many different programs, a silent retreat for men and women, an artist’s retreat, a retreat for bereaved mothers and much more. The fees vary, based on the length of the retreat and activities involved. Check the calendar to find the retreat that fits your needs.

Saint Leo Abbey

This Benedictine monastery is located near Tampa, Florida. It does offer scheduled retreats, but you can also rent the guesthouse for a modest rate and enjoy a quiet getaway. Lodging includes meals, but the guesthouse also has a small kitchenette, a private study and a screened-in back porch that overlooks Lake Jovita. People of all faiths are welcome.

Category: Religion

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