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.

Alexander Technique

Friday, November 20 – Sunday, November

:: Led by Dan Cayer

This retreat features three days of intensive yet relaxing work using the Alexander Technique, 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 hands­on work, dialogue, in-depth learning, and fun. All levels are welcome, from beginners to those who have studied the technique extensively. Why not take time for yourself in a special time, in a special place, and find a healthy mind/body balance?

Dan Cayer is a nationally­certified Alexander Technique teacher working in the field of pain, injury, and stress. He brings the unique experience of a life­changing injury and extensive mindfulness training to help students become less stuck in their bodies. 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 now teaches the Technique as a method of recovering balance and well­being. He has conducted workshops in New York, Las Vegas, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit Dan’s website at

The fee is $375 for tuition, room, and board. For commuters the fee is $275. To register or ask questions, contact Julie Donato at 845-­227-­2706 or

Thanksgiving, the Monastery Way

Tuesday, November 24 – Friday, November 27

:: with the Monastic Community

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 and Meditation: Let It Be Dark that We May See Light

Friday, November 27 – Sunday, November 29

:: Led by Carolyn Bluemle

Limited to 13 participants.

Come, take refuge. Enter the healing power of monastic rhythm each day and integrate body and spirit. Align body and breath through yoga postures in prayer; sit in guided and silent meditation; chant the psalms with the monks; and sing Taizé chants in the beautiful chapel.

The Advent season calls us to leave the darkness of the ‘barbed-wire entanglements’ of our ‘own ideas’ and prepare to receive the gift of God’s light. The yoga and meditation on this retreat will be focused on untangling the knots of expectations, preconceptions, and habits long overused so that we may open ourselves to the miracle of God’s presence.

While all are welcome, some previous yoga experience is recommended but not required. All poses and sequences can be modified for any body. If you have some familiarity with some of the postures then entering into prayer comes more easily.

Please bring a symbol of your intention for the retreat to place on a prayer table in the practice room. Yoga props are provided.

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.

Cost: $240, deposit: $80

Winter Contemplative Days

Tuesday, December 1 – Friday, December 4

Limited to 15 participants.

Join the brothers in this time of complete silence, with no programs or spiritual direction offered and a reduced worship schedule.

Cost: $225, deposit: $80

Holy Cross Advent Retreat – O Come, Let us Adore Him

Friday, December 4 – Sunday, December 6

:: Led by Rev. Martin Smith

We all have a latent gift for adoration and we will dedicate this retreat to the realization of this inner capacity for “loving with the brakes off,” as we contemplate Christ who “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness” (Phil. 2:7). Looking frankly at the inhibitions that hold us back from letting go in adoration, we will open ourselves to the Spirit’s release of our freedom to love.

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: $290, deposit: $80

Advent Individually Directed Retreats

Tuesday, December 8 – Friday, December 11

:: Led by the Monastic Community & Friends

*short written assignment before the retreat begins
*limited registration

Spend 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 Thin Space and Spacious Time of Advent

Friday, December 11 – Sunday, December 13

:: Led by Rev. Gwyneth MacKenzie Murphy

Advent invites us to enter into a thin space, where the veil between heaven and earth becomes porous. Guided by the readings appointed for Advent, we’ll enter into the spacious time of Advent. The retreat will include time for silence and solitude as well as group prayer and pondering. We’ll create an Advent altar: you are invited to bring an icon, prayer, bit of nature – anything which expresses your spiritual journey.

Rev. Gwyneth MacKenzie Murphy is Interim Rector at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Chappaqua, NY, a retreat leader, spiritual director, and sacred dancer.

Cost: $290, deposit: $80

Magnificat! An Advent Retreat

Friday, December 18 – Sunday, December 20

:: Led by Srs. Elizabeth Broyles and Shane Phelan, CMA

The fourth Sunday in Advent is a crucial hinge between Advent and Christmas, but it often gets lost in preparations for the Feast of the Incarnation. The story of Mary is at its heart. The scriptures place Mary front and center. Mary, a young woman whose life was cracked wide open by an angel’s message, opens her heart and mouth to praise God with her YES! in word and song. “Let it be with me according to your word” comes first, followed by her visit to Elizabeth and proclaiming the Magnificat, which has been sung for nearly 2000 years by Christians around the globe.

Come join us for this time of reflection, conversation and praise. Enter into the story as a way of further preparation for a fresh, full welcome of Jesus our Savior and our God. Give yourself an early Christmas gift!

Sisters Shane and Elizabeth are the founding Companions of Mary the Apostle, a Christian community that is both residential and dispersed. They are retreat leaders, spiritual directors and Episcopal priests. Shane and Elizabeth delight in offering this retreat as a means to deepening faith by encountering Mary, a woman of profound commitment to God. Her YES! to being the Mother of God is a gift to all followers of her Son. People of all genders are welcome to participate.

Cost: $290, deposit: $80

Christmas, the Monastery Way

Tuesday, December 22 – Friday, January 1

:: 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 ancient cycle of monastic prayer from Advent into the Christmas season.

Please note that the Guest House will remain open through Christmas Day this year and will close on Sunday, December 27 after Vespers.  The Guest House will re-open at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, December 29 and remain open until the conclusion of Vespers at 3:30 PM on Friday, January 1. It will then remain closed until 2:00 PM on Tuesday, January 12.

Cost: $80 per week night/$95 per weekend night, deposit: $80

Welcoming the New Year: A Twelve Step Retreat

Wednesday, December 30 – Friday, January 1

:: Led by Sr. Shane Phelan, CMA

Do you struggle with the holidays?  Or do you just need a tune-up?  Either way, the New Year is a great time to take stock of your spiritual program.  Come listen for the ways God is calling you to new life in the coming year.  We will have meeting time each day and time for silent reflection and journaling.  Our theme this year is “Adventures Before and After.”

This retreat is open to all people in 12-Step programs.  It is a space for confronting our addictions in all their manifestations.  Come with an open heart and a desire to see God in one another and ourselves.

Shane Phelan is an Episcopal priest and a member of the Companions of Mary the Apostle, an ecumenical community dedicated to Mary Magdalene. She has 30 years of recovery work, and has led numerous recovery groups and retreats.

Cost: $225, deposit: $80

Be Still and Know: Embracing the Gifts of Contemplative Prayer

Friday, January 15 – Sunday, January 17

::Led by Carl McColman

Psalm 62 proclaims, “For God alone my soul in silence waits.” Waiting on the Holy One, in silence, is the heart of Christian spirituality. This weekend will introduce you to the centuries old practice of contemplation — a form of silent prayer in which we gently open our hearts and minds to the hidden yet real presence of God. We will tap the wisdom of the desert mothers and fathers, The Cloud of Unknowing, and The Way of a Pilgrim, among other sources. Here is an opportunity to relax, enjoy the serenity and beauty of the monastery, to pray both alone and with the monks, and to reflect on the gifts of prayer and spirituality that are at the heart of the Christian life. No prior experience of contemplative prayer is required, although this retreat does work well as a ‘refresher course’ for those with experience in the practice of Christian contemplation.

Retreat leader Carl McColman is the author of several books, including Befriending Silence, Answering the Contemplative Call, and The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. He blogs on Christian spirituality and contemplative living at McColman is a life-professed Lay Cistercian (a layperson under formal spiritual guidance of Cistercian monks) affiliated with the Trappist Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. He has been a practitioner of Christian contemplative prayer and meditation for over 30 years.

Cost: $325, deposit: $80

The Spiritual Practice of Singing

Tuesday, January 19 – Friday, January 22

::Led by Br. Reinaldo Martinez-Cubero

Saint Athanasius of Alexandria believed that singing is essentially a spiritual discipline, and an important practice in spiritual formation. Singing allows us to use the core elements out of which the world came into being, and through which it is sustained: breath, tone, intentionality, and community.

This retreat offers intensive spiritual work on the fundamentals of singing: posture, breath, tone production, and diction. Br. Reinaldo will use a variety of practical methods to help participants find their best tone production and range for the purposes of chanting and liturgical singing. Participants will work on different musical settings of the Eucharistic Prayer and other liturgical music using Episcopal Liturgical Resources.

While this retreat is intended for those in the clergy who do not feel comfortable with their singing, those who wish to get in touch with their singing voice, or those who feel out of practice and want to get back into it, all are welcome who would like to explore singing as a spiritual practice.

Br. Reinaldo has been a voice teacher and theatre director for 24 years and before entering the order of the Holy Cross worked as a voice teacher and theatre director in NYC for 18 years. He founded The Pied Piper Children’s Theatre of NYC in 1999, and Delphi Theatre in 2004. With those two organizations he produced over 130 plays, musical, and operas, and taught acting, scene study, and musical theatre repertoire classes. As a singer/actor he has performed in operas, oratorios, musical theatre, concerts, recitals, cabarets, and theatrical plays throughout the United States.

Cost: $285, deposit: $80

Associates Retreat: Making All Things New

Thursday, January 28 – Sunday, January 31

::Led by Br. Randy Greve

Join Br. Randy in exploring Henri Nouwen’s small book on spirituality, Making All Things New, which will be provided to you upon arrival. This is always a popular retreat, offering a mid-winter respite of prayer and good conversation.

Cost: $265, deposit: $80

Winter Library Retreat

Tuesday, February 2 – Friday, February 5

::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

Stepping Into Lent, Moving into the Desert: Path, Practice, and Prayer

Tuesday, February 16 – Friday, February 19

::Led by Rev. Gwyneth Murphy

The spiritual journey is our evolving relationship with ourselves, each other and the divine. Lent is a special time in this journey, an invitation to enter more deeply into the mystery of what it means to be human, created in the divine image and called to continue Jesus’ ministry of compassion and justice. As we are not the same from year to year, neither is our Lenten path.

Lent rests in the apparent paradox that the spiritual journey is done alone, as well as in community. Thus, there will time spent in silence and solitude, as well as time together.

We shall enter into the gospel stories of Jesus’ baptism, and of his then entering into the desert for forty days. Through guided reflections offered by the retreat leader, and our shared prayer and reflection, we shall each uncover the path, practice, and prayer to which God calls us this Lent.

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

Cost: $310, deposit: $80

Lenten Contemplative Days

Tuesday, February 23 – Friday, February 26

Limited to 15 participants.

Join the brothers in this time of complete silence, with no programs or spiritual direction offered and a reduced worship schedule.

Cost: $225, deposit: $80

Holy Cross Lent Retreat: Listen to the Desert

Friday, February 26 – Sunday, February 28

::Led by Br. Randy Greve

The desert mothers and fathers offered many words of wisdom that serve as a solid foundation for monastics and that can also promote the spiritual maturity of all Christians. Br. Randy will guide you into Gregory Mayer’s book, Listen to the Desert, during this silent retreat. The book will be provided.

Cost: $250, deposit: $80

Lenten Individually Directed Retreats

Tuesday, March 1 – Friday, March 4

::Led by the Monastic Community & Friends

*short written assignment before the retreat begins
*limited registration

Spend some time with a director and a good deal of time with silence this Lent. 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: $325, deposit: $80

Free to Live: Forgiveness as a Path to Freedom

Friday, March 4 – Sunday, March 6

::Led by Sr. Elizabeth Broyles, CMA

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. – The Lord’s Prayer

Jesus, teaching us to pray, makes forgiveness central to the lives of his followers. Yet we often forget it is possible to forgive and be forgiven. We sometimes treat it as optional and even fail to take in that we are promised forgiveness by God when we repent. Why is this so difficult? To claim the freedom offered us in Christ we need to forgive and be forgiven in relationship to God, each other and ourselves. This retreat will explore the practice of forgiveness—seeking it, offering it and receiving it. To enable us to live into the practice we will ponder what forgiveness is and is not in the scriptures and other spiritual writings. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on forgiveness in their own lives and focus on some ways to move deeper into the practice and experience. Bring a journal!

Sr. Elizabeth delights in accompanying people in their faith journeys through retreat leadership, teaching spiritual practices and providing spiritual direction. She is co-founder of the Companions of Mary the Apostle, an ecumenical religious community for people of all genders. An Episcopal priest for the last 20 years, she came to ministry in response to perceiving a deep need of God’s life-giving presence to heal the hearts and lives of those with whom she worked in a secular setting. In recent years Sr. Elizabeth has been drawn to focusing on forgiveness as essential to Christian life and journey whether one seeks healing and transformation for oneself or the ability to love and be loved more fully in relationship to God, neighbor and self.

Cost: $275, deposit: $80

“With My Body I Thee Worship…”

Tuesday, March 15 – Friday, March 18

::Led by Br. Robert Sevensky

These words, drawn from the 1662 marriage rite of the Church of England, remind us that divine worship is always embodied and invites the participation of the whole person. This retreat will examine Christian spiritual practices that engage the body and the senses. It will include breath awareness, chanting, posture (standing, bowing, kneeling), gestures, movement (pilgrimage, Stations of the Cross) sacramental and devotional materials (bread, wine, water, oil, palms, lights, incense) vestments and vesture, and praying with objects or images. How can an awareness of our bodies at prayer open us to God’s presence and power?

Cost: $285, deposit: $80

Your Life as Story

Friday, March 18 – Sunday, March 20

::Led by Beverly Donofrio

Limited to 10 participants.

Are you stuck, looking for a way in, unable to figure out how to proceed, wondering how to make a cohesive story and a compelling read from the raw material that is your life? To master memoirist Beverly Donofrio writing is about diving deep to find your truth, and then shaping your experiences into a story others will not want to put down: because your truth, pain, shame, obsessions, help them face their own. And because telling your story not only has the potential to heal the teller, but the reader, too.
Beverly will offer in-class exercises designed to unearth memory and approach your material in a safe, fun, and original way. She will instruct you in the craft of plot, setting, and reflection, teach you how to move back and forth in time seamlessly and to write detailed, visually descriptive language.

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. Ms. Donofrio lives in Wood¬stock, 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: $300, deposit: $80

The Three Great Days – Holy Week at the Monastery

Thursday, March 24 – Sunday, March 27

::with the Monastic Community

Join the monastic community in a distinctive observance of the central event of the liturgical year – from Maundy Thursday with the washing of the feet, through Good Friday and the procession of to the Cross, and onward to the exaltation of the Great Vigil and the sunrise celebration of Easter Sunday.

Cost: $285, deposit: $80

Easter Week Clergy Retreat: Re-Joice, Re-Plenish, Re-Create, Re-Lax

Wednesday, March 30 – Friday, April 1

::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: $235, deposit: $80