Retreat Programs

Explore our retreat offerings. And remember! You can also visit us for a “self-guided” retreat any time. If you’d like more information, or to make a reservation please contact our Guesthouse Office. Don’t forget to leave us your name and contact details so we may get back to you. If you want regular reminders of soon coming retreat programs, click the “e-mail newsletter” button in the right-hand column.

Easter Week Clergy Retreat: Re­Joice, Re­Plenish, Re­Create, Re­Lax

Wednesday, April 8 – Friday, April 10

:: Led by Rev’d Gwyneth Murphy

God saw fit to rest after a week of intense productivity, so why shouldn’t clergy rest after the intensity of Holy Week and Easter? This retreat is a Sabbath of spacious time in the peace of the monastery and the beauty of the Hudson River. The brothers and staff will see to leaflets, music, candles, coffee and people’s needs. While there will be opportunities to reflect, pray and have fun with fellow clergy, you can also just nap, sit by the river, read a book or knit. (Fun includes social hour, hiking, exploring local towns and who knows what else …)

If you have been “meaning to get to the monastery one of these years” this may be the time. There are jigsaw puzzles to complete, a Labyrinth to walk, a library to peruse, chanting at the daily office, exceptional food, places inside and out to sit and read …all in the context of Benedictine spirituality and hospitality.

The Rev. Gwyneth MacKenzie Murphy is Interim Pastor at St. Gregory’s, Woodstock, NY, a Retreat Leader, Spiritual Director and Sacred Dancer.

Cost: $225, deposit: $80

Preaching Heart and Soul: the Sermon and Spiritual Formation

Tuesday, April 21 – Friday, April 24

:: Led by Rev. Martin Smith

In this practical workshop for ministers we will explore the role preaching can play in our own ongoing spiritual formation, practice ways to kindle the imagination and open up sermon preparation in prayer, and face the challenge of sharpening the focus of preaching as an act of spiritual formation. Our focus is on our own intimacy with God in preaching and our desire to awaken hearers to the “wanting ­to ­be of God in their lives.” Participants will not need to bring any existing sermons texts. Instead there will be opportunities to preach short sermons during our time to practice the valuable skill of engaged preaching, using only the briefest of notes or none.

Fr. Martin L. Smith is well know throughout the Episcopal Church and beyond for his explorations of contemporary spirituality through workshops, retreats and preaching, and widely read books including, The Word is Very Near You, A Season for the Spirit, Reconciliation, Compass and Stars, Love Set Free and recently, with the Rev Julia Gatta, Go in Peace: the Art of Hearing Confessions.

He has over thirty years of experience in training and supervising preachers and spiritual directors. Now retired, he makes Washington DC his base for a roving ministry of spiritual formation and teaching.

Cost: $300, deposit: $80

Spring Library Retreat

Tuesday, April 21 – Friday, April 24

:: Led by Br. Bernard Delcourt

Join enthusiastic volunteers for a labor of love – and balance work, prayer and recreation – as we continue the rewarding tasks of caring for and cataloging over 20,000 volumes.

Cost: $200, deposit: $80

Eastertide Contemplative Days

Tuesday, May 5 – Friday, May 8

Praying alongside the Monastic Community.

Join us as we observe our Eastertide “Contemplative Days.” During this period we are in complete silence, no programs or spiritual direction are offered and there is a reduced worship schedule (Matins, Eucharist and Vespers). This will be limited to 15 guests who would like to enter into deep silence with us.

Cost: $225, deposit: $80

Writing Your Life

Friday, May 8 – Sunday, May 10

:: Led by Beverly Donofrio

Discover the consciousness-­expanding potential of memoir in a weekend­-long writing workshop designed to take you deeper into your hearts, your souls and your pasts ­­to discover and depict the transformative movement of spirit in your lives. Instructor Beverly Donofrio creates a supportive environment in which to mine your own experiences, ask questions of it, and contemplate the mystery. You will create raw material then craft it using the narrative techniques of scene writing, reflection, and summary to bring your story to life. Telling your story can be profound and fun. All that is required is a strong desire and the courage to write the truth.

Beverly Donofrio has published three memoirs: her first, the New York Times bestseller, Riding in Cars with Boys, was made into a popular movie; her second, Looking for Mary was chosen as a Barnes and Noble Discover Book; and her latest, Astonished, is still collecting accolades. She has published two children’s books, with a third on the way in 2014. Her essays have appeared in many anthologies and periodicals, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Spirituality and Health, Oprah magazine, Huffington Post and Slate. Her NPR documentaries can be heard through Sound Portraits. She has taught creative nonfiction workshops across the United States and is currently on the faculty of the low­residency MFA program at Wilkes University. Donofrio lives in Woodstock, NY, where she is writing the libretto to a musical based on Astonished. You can read or access some of her essays at her website,

Cost: $290, deposit: $80

Loving the World: Photography as Spiritual Practice

Tuesday, May 12 – Friday, May 15

:: Led by Mr. Paul Kimmerling

Is it possible to see the world anew, with wonder and curiosity? To re­present our surroundings as we find them, without judgment… indeed, with love?

Join us as we take an “inside ­out” approach to seeing the world and taking photographs. In this weekday retreat, you will engage in contemplative practices as well as digital photography, to strengthen the connection between our inner lives and our capacity to see the world as we find it. Such a connection — between our outer vision and inner being — has been explored by photographers, philosophers, and poets through the ages as well as mystics such as Rumi, Meister Eckhart, and St. Francis.

This retreat is ideal for those who would like to refresh their love of photography, as well as those who are new to making digital pictures. No level of proficiency is required. It is also ideal for those who want to revitalize their spiritual practice through the pursuit of an artistic medium.

Come and explore the grounds at Holy Cross Monastery, including our shoreline on the Hudson. Take pictures with your digital camera or smartphone camera. Engage in photography as a contemplative practice.

Paul Kimmerling is a retreat and workshop leader, spiritual director and practitioner of contemplative photography. His current programs include “Live the Questions”, a week-long retreat on the lives of Sts. Francis and Clare, in Assisi, Italy, and “Loving the World: Photography as Spiritual Practice”. Through 2012, he was a lay leader at Christ the King, Stone Ridge, and St Andrew’s, New Paltz, where he contributed programming and preaching. He is a board member of the Companions of Mary the Apostle, a religious community of Episcopal women, in West Park, NY. Read more about Paul, and his work, at

Cost: $300, deposit: $80

River and Mountain Pilgrimage

Tuesday, May 26 – Friday, May 29

:: Led by Br. Peter Rostron

Registration limited to 8 people

Join Br. Peter for several hikes along the Hudson River and in the Catskill Mountains. We will approach these outings as pilgrimage, with discussion and prayer to frame each hike. Please bring appropriate clothing, footwear, and other gear (water bottles, sunglasses, daypack, etc.) for hikes ranging in length from 2 to 8 miles, rain or shine. Some hikes may include steep, rocky trails with elevation gains of up to 1800 feet. You are also invited to bring tools for personal expression, such as journals, sketchpads, or cameras.

Cost: $275, deposit: $80

The Women in the Gospel of John: Witnesses for Our Time

Friday, May 29 – Sunday, May 31

:: Led by Shane Phelan, CMA

John’s Gospel is centrally about witnessing to Jesus ­ to who he is and what he does. The stories are familiar ­ and that can be a problem. How can we see with fresh eyes and hear the Good News of God through these witnesses?

We will explore this question by spending time with six women in John’s Gospel ­ Mary the mother of Jesus, the Samaritan woman, the woman taken in adultery, Mary and Martha of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene, apostle to the apostles. Each of them speaks to a part of us that needs to meet Jesus, to challenge him, and to testify about him.

Through discussion, reflection, and prayer we will seek to unite the tools of the intellect with the eyes of faith. Come with your Bible and an open mind.

Shane Phelan is an Episcopal priest and co-­founder of the Companions of Mary the Apostle, a new community of women living on the grounds of Holy Cross Monastery.

Cost: $265, deposit: $80

Alexander Technique

Friday, June 19 – Sunday, June 21

:: Led by Dan Cayer

The Alexander Technique Retreat features three days of intensive yet relaxing study with Dan Cayer, a nationally certified Alexander Technique teacher working in the field of pain, injury, and stress. The Alexander Technique is a 100-year-old method aimed at improving the way the body is used. A few of the many benefits of the technique are learning how to reduce tension and stress, improving posture, and managing pain. Those who may benefit from the technique are people in pain, those with physical restrictions, those who want to improve their posture, performers, musicians, athletes, and those interested in the mind/body connection. The workshop will be full of hands-on work, dialogue, in-depth learning, and fun. All levels are welcome from beginners to those who have studied Alexander extensively.  Why not take time for yourself in a special time, in a special place – and find a healthy mind/body balance?

Dan Cayer received his teaching certification from The American Center for the Alexander Technique in New York City. After a serious injury left Dan unable to work or carry out household tasks like cleaning dishes, he began studying the Alexander Technique. His return to health, as well as his deep experience with the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of pain, inspired him to help others. Dan has shared his firsthand experience of how this process can bring relief to seemingly intractable physical or psychosomatic challenges in workshops across NYC, Las Vegas, and in the UK. He demonstrates with passion and playfulness how to apply the Alexander Technique in everyday life.

Fees are $375 for tuition, room and board. The fee for commuters is $270. For more information, please visit register or ask questions, please contact Julie Donato at 845-227-2706 or

Summer Individually Directed Retreats

Tuesday, June 23 – Friday, June 26

:: Led by the Monastic Community

*short written assignment before the retreat begins

*limited registration

Spend some time with a director and a good deal of time with silence this summer. This is a retreat in which prayer and silence will be practiced as an invitation for deeper union with God and in which each participant will work with a spiritual director chosen by the monastic community.

Cost: $310, deposit: $80

Quest by Question

Friday, June 26 – Sunday, June 28

:: Led by Elizabeth Broyles, CMA and Mr. Paul Kimmerling

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Rainer Maria Rilke’s advice in Letters to a Young Poet points us to a powerful way to journey. We human beings have grappled with the great questions that arise as part of the spiritual quest for at least as long as we have had language. The scriptures grapple, too. What is my relationship with God? My sisters and brothers? Creation? Am I my brother’s keeper? asks Cain of God. Jesus queries the disciples: Who do you say that I am? Come and practice being patient with all that is unsolved. Listen soulfully with others on the Way as the nourishing and challenging questions teach us. Bring your curiosity and a journal.

Sr. Elizabeth delights in accompanying others as they seek to live their questions. A priest, spiritual director and retreat leader, she is co-­founder of the Companions of Mary the Apostle, a new community for women that is in residence on the grounds of Holy Cross Monastery.

Paul Kimmerling is a retreat and workshop leader, spiritual director, practitioner of contemplative photography, and a board member of the Companions of Mary the Apostle. Read more about Paul, and his work, at

Cost: $265, deposit: $80

Summer Contemplative Days

Tuesday, June 30 – Friday, July 3

Praying along-­side the Monastic Community

A completely silent time with the monks as we observe our Summer “Contemplative Days.”

During this period we are in complete silence, no programs or spiritual direction are offered and there is a reduced worship schedule (Matins, Eucharist and Vespers). This will be limited to 15 guests who would like to enter into deep silence with us.

Cost: $225, deposit: $80

Associates Retreat: The Yoke of Jesus

Friday, July 3 – Sunday, July 5

:: Led by Br. Randy Greve

We will explore the book The Yoke of Jesus: A School for the Soul in Solitude by Addison Hodges Hart, which applies some of the monastic tradition to contemporary spirituality in ways that will be beneficial to associates living a rule of life. Participants will be provided copies of the book and be asked to read selected chapters during the retreat.

Cost: $190, deposit $80