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.

Brush with God

Tuesday, November 11 – Friday, November 14

:: Led by Rev. Peter Pearson

For over twenty five years, Peter Pearson has been teaching others to paint icons using the classic techniques of Byzantine iconography. In each workshop there is a focus on the four fold way of iconographers: technique, history, theology, and prayer. Each student will complete their own icon from start to finish in a peaceful environment that fosters a deeper experience of praying in and through the brush strokes. This year, we’ll do a simple icon during out time together. No previous experience or training in art is necessary and all materials will be furnished. All that is required is a willingness to let go and to try something new. Please join us for this exciting journey into Byzantine iconography! Peter Pearson, osb, has been painting icons since he was 12 years old and has taught hundreds of people to learn to paint them as well. The author of two books on icon painting, he is also the rector of The Church of the Good Shepherd in Scranton, PA and a vowed member of the New Benedictine Community, an ecumenical monastic community. Each of these aspects of his life nourishes his soul as well as the souls of those he serves.

Cost: $465, deposit: $80

Ballroom Dance for Couples

Friday, November 14 – Friday, November 16

:: Led by Julie and Joe Donato

Have you always wanted to learn to dance? This is a joyful weekend for committed couples seeking to learn to dance or improve their dancing, to develop an activity to enjoy together, and through this activity, deepen their faith. Through the verbal and non-verbal interaction of partner dancing, and the roles of leading and following, we will learn how to improve communication, create trust, and find more joy in relationship. We will learn the basics of waltz, foxtrot, swing, rumba, cha cha and merengue in a relaxed, non-competitive and fun style. The weekend also includes time for reflection and quiet. Joe and Julie Donato met at a swing dance. Joe was a long-time ballroom teacher in the Philadelphia area, and moved to the Hudson Valley when they were married in 2012. They opened their dance studio in Poughkeepsie and have enjoyed teaching couples and singles there and throughout the Hudson Valley. Both members of this dancing duo also have many years of leading retreats, worship groups and small group ministry. They are known as patient, encouraging teachers and have lead hundreds of people to enjoy the mental, physical and spiritual benefits of social dancing. $295 per person/ $590 per couple which includes tuition, room and board. To register or ask questions, please contact Julie Donato, 845-227-2706, or email

Library Retreat

Tuesday, November 18 – Friday, November 21

:: Led by Brother 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

Christianity in the 2nd Axial Age

Friday, November 21 – Sunday, November 23

:: Led by Rev. Matthew Wright

Many thinkers today believe we are entering a “2nd Axial Age” that is transforming the face of religion and spirituality. How does this impact Christian faith? Is the Church becoming obsolete? This retreat will explore these questions, and look at the ways that Christianity is coming of age as a vital wisdom path for the 21st century, with particular emphasis on contemplative practice and interspiritual dialogue. What is an “interspiritual” Christianity? How can we be true to our own tradition, while opening ourselves deeply to another? How can we engage Christianity as a path of practice and transformation, and not merely a belief system? Come and join in a weekend of contemplative practice and intellectual inquiry as we tackle these questions together. Matthew Wright is an Episcopal priest. Grounded in the practices of contemplative Christianity, his spiritual journey has also taken him through study and initiation in the traditions of Vedanta and Islamic Sufism. At age 29, he is a leading young voice in the field of interspirituality, exploring emerging new forms of religious identity and belonging. He lives with his wife alongside our community here at Holy Cross Monastery sharing in our life of prayer, worship and service.

Cost: $275, deposit: $50

Thanksgiving, the Monastery Way

with the Monastic Community Tuesday, November 25 – Friday, November 28

Harvest Thanksgiving is a wonderful and ancient tradition that calls us into a thankful relationship with God and with all of God’s creation. As Americans, we join with our sisters and brothers without regard to faith tradition in giving thanks, and as Christians, it is vital to give thanks and praise to God at every opportunity. At the monastery, we blend Americana (yes, turkey, dressing and the works on Thanksgiving) with religious tradition. Join us for any or all of these days. Cost: $250 for all three nights, deposit $80

Advent Silent Retreat w/ Yoga, Meditation and Chant

Friday Nov 28 – Sunday Nov 30, 2014

The Depth of our Longing Advent Silent Retreat (Yoga and Meditation)

:: Led by Carolyn Bluemle

Limited to 15 participants

Isaiah gives full expression to our deep longing for God that arises when we are sensitive to the troubles of the world and our lives. He calls out: “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence…” Come, take refuge and pray. Enter the healing power of monastic rhythm each day. Integrate body and spirit in worship: aligning body and breath through yoga postures and praying the body through posture sequences to sung prayers; sitting in guided and silent meditation; chanting the psalms with the monks and Taizé chants in the beautiful chapel. These practices, by waking us up and bringing us into harmony with our own humanity and embodiment, can help us let God answer our longing with the shattering power of innocence and vulnerability in the incarnate Christ child. Some previous experience with yoga is recommended but not required.  The postures and sequences can be modified to accommodate everyone. Please bring a symbol of your intention for the retreat to place on a prayer table in the practice room. Carolyn Bluemle has taught yoga since 1989 and is Iyengar certified. She has led numerous retreats at Holy Cross and workshops in the Sacred Circles program at the Washington National Cathedral.  She holds a Masters in ancient Greek philosophy from UC Berkeley and has enjoyed many years as a dancer. Through the healing practices of yoga, meditation, and Taizé chant she has renewed her Christian faith.  Her teaching, precise and enthusiastic, with humor and compassion, reflects her deep experience of yoga as prayer.

Fee: $ 240, Deposit:  $:80

Advent Contemplative Days

Tuesday, December 2 – Friday, December 5

Praying along-side the monastic community A completely silent time with the monks as we observe our Advent “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

Holy Cross Advent Retreat

Friday, December 5 – Sunday, December 7

:: Led by Sr. Elizabeth Broyles, CMA

A manger for his birth: Christ’s coming, our Becoming If in your heart you make a manger for his birth then Christ will once again become a child on earth. Angelus Silesius As Christians we know the coming of Christ, celebrated each Christmas, is more than an event in history. It happens again and again, ever deeper, in our hearts and lives. Come join in this Advent retreat for a time of preparing ourselves—body, mind and spirit—as the place where Christ is continually born. Through meditations, prayer, chant and other means, learn about divinization: the ancient and contemporary belief in a process of becoming Christ, active and loving in God’s world. Bring a journal or other writing materials. Sr. Elizabeth Broyles is a Companion of Mary the Apostle, a community of religious women in residence on the grounds of Holy Cross. A priest for 20 years, she has had the joy and challenge of seeking Christ through prayer, study and relationship with the monks of Holy Cross for some 40 years. Encounters with the wisdom and practices of other faiths have contributed greatly to her journey, and strengthened her commitment to Christ. Sr. Elizabeth is a spiritual director and retreat leader, and delights in accompanying others in their becoming.

Cost: $265, deposit: $80

Advent Individually Directed Retreats

Tuesday, December 9 – Friday, December 12

:: Led by the Monastic Community

*short written assignment before the retreat begins

*limited registration

Some time with a director and a good deal of time with silence this Advent. 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

“The Lord Is With Thee” An Advent Journey with Mary of Nazareth and the Angel Gabriel

Friday, December 12 – Sunday, December 14

:: Led by the Rev. Gwyneth MacKenzie Murphy

In the words of Meister Eckhart,  “We are all meant to be Mothers of God, for God is Constantly needing to be born.”  As we enter into the mystery of The Annunciation to Mary, we will contemplate the Annunciation in our own lives. Entering the Silence, we listen for the Angel inviting us to bring God into the world.   Entering the Stillness, we await the movement of the Spirit within. The retreat will include time for silence and solitude as well as group prayer and reflection. – We will create our own altar:  You are invited to bring icons, prayers, bits of nature or any (small) thing which connects to or symbolizes your spiritual journey. The Rev. Gwyneth MacKenzie Murphy, Interim Pastor at St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church in Chappaqua, NY, is a retreat leader, spiritual director and sacred dancer.

Cost: $265, deposit: $80

Christmas, the Monastery Way

Tuesday, December 23 – Thursday, January 1

(closed Friday, December 26)

with the Monastic Community

Christmas at the monastery is filled with solemnity and celebration as we observe the closing days of Advent and then the great feast of Christmas, followed by the beauty and joy of Christmas-tide. We gather together as the shepherds did, to offer praise to God and to pray for peace on earth and in our hearts. Join us as we observe the ancienty cycle of monastic prayer from Advent into the Christmas season. Please note that the Guest House closes at Vespers on Christmas Day and remains closed throughout Friday, December 26. The Guest House re-opens at 2:00 on Saturday, December 27 and remains open through January 1.

Cost: $80 per weeknight/$95 weekend, deposit: $80

Welcoming the New Year: A Twelve Step Retreat

Tuesday, December 30, 2014 – Thursday, January 1, 2015

:: led by Sr. Shane Phelan, CMA

Each day is a chance to work our programs, but the turning of the calendar offers us a special chance to review and renew. Join us for the first day of the rest of your life, the first day of the year. We will spend time together, and also have time for quiet reflection. Some chances for individual sharing will also be available. A late-night gratitude meeting will be held on New Year’s Eve. Members of all 12-Step groups are welcome. In a sacred space of anonymity and vulnerability, we can learn from one another and support those whose symptoms differ from our own, but who share the challenge of powerlessness over people, places, and things. Sr. Shane Phelan has been involved in recovery work since 1985, across a variety of programs. She is an Episcopal priest and a member of the Companions of Mary the Apostle, a new women’s community located on the grounds of Holy Cross Monastery.

Cost: $240, deposit: $80

The Guest House closes at Vespers on Thursday, January 1, 2015 and re-open at 2:00 on Tuesday, January 13, 2015.


Thursday, January 15 – Sunday, January 18, 2015

:: Led by Br. Robert James Magliula

The first word of Benedict’s Rule is “Listen”. The disciple’s goal is to hear God’s Word not only as message but to experience it as encounter. To listen closely with our whole selves on a daily basis is a difficult and life long process. It’s about hearing words and recognizing signs, so as to encounter God, others, and ourselves. Join us in exploring what facilitates our listening and what hampers it in our seeking intimacy with God and each other.

Cost: $265, deposit $80

Winter Library Retreat

Tuesday, January 27 – Friday, January 30

:: 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

Writing from the Heart

Tuesday, January 27 – Sunday, Feb 1

:: Led by Beverly Donofrio

St. Benedict said, “We must listen with the ear of our hearts.” In this 5-day workshop the stillness and silence of retreat will help you discover and reveal the movement of spirit in your lives. As you dive more deeply into your pasts you may experience the consciousness expanding as well as the healing potential of memoir. Instructor Beverly Donofrio creates a supportive environment in which to mine your own life 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. class size is limited to 10. 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 also published three children’s books. 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 low-residency 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: $575, deposit: $80