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.

Praying with the English Mystics: Wisdom for Today from Julian of Norwich and The Cloud of Unknowing

Friday, September 2 – Sunday, September 4

:: Led by Carl McColman

England boasts a remarkable heritage of saints, mystics, and contemplatives — prayerful followers of Jesus Christ whose ancient wisdom remains surprisingly relevant even for our time.

What can we learn from our “spiritual heroes” of the past? Do they have something to teach us today, as we strive to live out our faith in the twenty-first century? Can a medieval woman like Julian of Norwich, or a manual of contemplation like The Cloud of Unknowing, really help us to grow closer to God, deepen our daily prayer, and find a greater sense of Divine Intimacy in the ordinary moments of our life? The answer is YES! This retreat, which combines interesting insights into the wisdom of the past with practical guidance for meditation, contemplation and prayer today, celebrates the uniquely English contribution to Christian spirituality with an eye to applying its timeless teachings to today’s world.

The retreat will be led by Carl McColman, author of The Big Book of Christian Mysticism and the forthcoming Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints and Sages.

Cost: $325; deposit: $80

The Benedictine Experience: Hallowing Time

Tuesday, September 6 – Sunday, September 11

:: Co-sponsored by Friends of St. Benedict and Holy Cross Monastery

The Benedictine Experience offers the opportunity to live the rhythm of Benedictine life and experience its distinctive balance of time spent in prayer, study, work, rest, and community. We will pray alongside the monks for the full round of the daily offices and be in silence for most of our time. Daily conferences led by Holy Cross brothers will focus on how the cycle of monastic offices as outlined by St. Benedict help us to “hallow time.” Each day we will also spend time engaged in practical or manual work and in private study or reflection. After Compline each evening, we will enter the Great Silence until after breakfast the next morning. This time spent fully living into the monastic rhythm of life will, we hope, inculcate Benedictine values of listening, humility, silence, and hospitality, and help us to find a way to reorder our everyday lives.

The Friends of St. Benedict is an ecumenical organization that seeks to make the ancient wisdom and practice of Benedictine spirituality accessible to modern people.  The Friends have been hosting Benedictine Experience retreats at Canterbury Cathedral and a few “thin places” in the US for more than thirty years.  To learn more about the work of Friends of St. Benedict, please visit

Cost: $595, deposit: $80

Individually Directed Retreats

Tuesday, September 13 – Friday, September 16

:: 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 in silence.  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

Cost: $325; deposit: $80

Library Retreat

Tuesday, September 20 – Friday, September 23

:: Led by Elizabeth Beaudin

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 15,000 volumes.

Cost: $200, deposit: $80


Tuesday, September 20 – Sunday, September 25

:: Led by Beverly Donofrio

Limited to 8 participants.

This is a five-day writing retreat for people already in the process of writing their memoirs. We will meet each day for three hours to discuss, review, and read our work to each other. Exercises may be given, depending on the group’s needs. The rest of the time is your own to write, read, contemplate, walk, pray. Structure can be the most difficult part of composing a book: how to craft the stories of your life into an engaging and dramatic whole. My intention is to help you see the forest (of your book) through the trees (of your experiences). I will meet with each of you individually to discuss how to further your writing. The idea is to create a sense of expansiveness, community, inspiration, and fun.

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 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: $120

Vulnerability as Spiritual Practice: Listening with the Body

Friday, September 23 – Sunday, September 25

:: Led by Erika Murphy

While God embraces us in our completeness, we often reject parts of ourselves that we see as “unworthy.” What happens when, instead of trying to struggle against our vulnerabilities we dive into them, beginning a journey of becoming even more intensely human? This retreat will explore the possibilities of Spirit that arise when we honor our full selves and begin to listen (and speak) with the most vulnerable aspect of our humanity: our bodies. Qi Gong exercises and guided moving meditation will allow us to take root in the spiritual “alignment” and centeredness that we all naturally possess. During these practices of harmony and stillness we will reflect on what we hear: what are our bodies telling us?  What do we need to embrace about ourselves in order to become more connected to ourselves, others, and God?  Participants will have the opportunity to interweave their thoughts and reflections with these guided practices as we find ways to appreciate the gift of our humanity. Join us as we bring our bodies and minds – and their accompanying vulnerabilities – into the vibrant light of spiritual awareness.

Erika Murphy, M.Div., Ph.D., teaches religious studies in Fairfield, CT. Her work in theology and spirituality has led her to explore the rich world of the mind-body connection through meditation and other mindfulness practices. In her academic work, Erika is often drawn to explore the theological resonances between vulnerability and spirituality. She is also a practitioner of the internal martial art I Liq Chuan, an art based on Tai Chi philosophy and Zen principles, which focuses on the body as a path to awareness, stability, and mindfulness. 

Cost: $275; deposit: $80

Living the Threefold Rule

Tuesday, September 27 – Friday, September 30

:: Led by Rev. Matthew Wright

“Rule”—as in “Rule of Life”—comes from the Latin word regula, and is not so much about rules as it is a regulating principle that governs one’s life of prayer.  Anglican theologian Martin Thornton wrote about the “threefold Rule” of the Church — a balanced life of prayer that intentionally connects the pray-er, through regular disciplines, with each Person of the Holy Trinity.  We will examine the Daily Office, contemplative prayer, and Holy Eucharist within this framework, and look at ways to make each an intentional part of your personal rhythm of prayer.

We will focus particularly on The Book of Common Prayer as an “ascetical tool-kit” (and not just your “Sunday pew book”!).  “Ascetical theology” is our theology of how we practice or “do” our faith, and from this angle we’ll engage the Prayer Book and the Church’s liturgical year as road maps.  We will ground our discussion in the wider currents of Catholic and Anglican spirituality.  Come and explore a deeper life of Christian prayer and practice!

The Rev. Matthew Wright is an Episcopal priest, writer, and retreat leader. He serves as priest-in-charge at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Woodstock, NY.  Matthew and his wife, Yanick, live alongside the brothers of Holy Cross Monastery.

Cost: $310; deposit: $80

Fall Associates Retreat: “My Soul in Silence Waits”

Tuesday, September 27 – Friday, September 30

:: Led by Br. Randy Greve

We will spend our retreat time together looking at Margaret Guenther’s book, My Soul in Silence Waits, in which she closely examines themes of patience, trust, and expectation found in Psalm 62. In the first chapter of the book, Guenther introduces us to ways of making a retreat wherever we are – at a place apart or in the midst of our daily lives – and then she continues with eight meditations on the psalm, exploring images of longing, silence, waiting, safety, enemies, and God as a rock and a refuge. As in all her books, Guenther finds new ways to explore these ancient themes with the wit and practicality of an accomplished storyteller.

The book will be provided on arrival.

Cost: $225; deposit: $80

River & Mountain Pilgrimage

Tuesday, October 4 – Friday, October 7

:: Led by Br. Peter Rostron

Limited to 8 participants.

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: $285, deposit: $80

Ballroom Dance

Friday, October 7 – Sunday, October 9

:: Led by Julie & 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 at 845-227-2706 or

Sing a New Song: Revisiting The Psalms

Tuesday, October 11 – Friday, October 14

:: Led by Laurel Massé

We all have tunes that make us want to dance, tunes that break our hearts, and tunes that help to heal the breaks. We turn to music to help us gather, celebrate our triumphs, and grieve our losses, and that is the power of song.

Several millennia ago, a great king wrote songs that remain unequaled in their depth of expression. In this retreat, we will explore his masterwork: the Psalms. The emotions and longing in them are as human and universal as when they were new. Yet many of us have lost the sense of their earthy immediacy because we only hear sanitized versions, or in poor musical settings or language to which we can’t relate. It’s time to peel away the safety wrappers and make these psalms our own to whisper, shout, and sing. This retreat is for all who have loved, hated, and struggled with the psalms, and who long to sing a new song.

With a repertoire that embraces Basie and Bach, banjos and bagpipes, the Beatles, and the Bard of Avon, Laurel Massé is a singer without musical borders.  A founding member of the vocal group Manhattan Transfer, she has won international respect as a solo artist and teacher. She has lectured and led master classes at prestigious institutions such as Dartmouth and The Royal Academy of Music (UK) and is a long-time instructor at Ashokan Music and Dance, and a popular adjudicator/clinician of high school choral programs. Ms. Massé resides in the Hudson River Valley in upstate New York, where she is an Episcopal worship leader, lector, and eucharistic minister.

Cost: $310; deposit: $80

Prayerful Stitches

Thursday, October 13– Sunday, October 16

:: Led by Br. Bernard Delcourt

Join us for the New York Sheep and Wool Festival and a prayerful focus on being mindful and intentional in our yarn work. Bring your own stitching material and technique of choice (knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, etc).

Cost: $350, deposit: $80

Fall Contemplative Days

Tuesday, October 18 – Friday, October 21

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

October Garden Days

Tuesday, October 25 – Friday, October 28

::  Led by Br. Will Owen

Limited to six participants.

Join the monastic community in the Benedictine rhythm of work and prayer, help us maintain and restore our garden spaces, and enjoy the beauty of the Hudson Valley in summer. We will have morning and afternoon work periods as well as time for the Office, rest, and recreation.

No payment is required, though your donation in any amount will be gladly accepted to support our life and work. Please e-mail Brother Will ( with any questions.

Alexander Technique

Friday, November 4 – Sunday, November 6

:: 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 hands-on 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 nationally-certified Alexander Technique teacher working in the field of pain, injury, and stress. He brings the unique experience of a life-changing 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 well-being. He has conducted workshops in New York, Las Vegas, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit Dan’s website at

Fees are $385 for tuition, room and board. The fee for commuters is $275. For more information, please visit To register or ask questions, please contact Julie Donato at 845-227-2706 or

Library Retreat

Tuesday, November 8 – Friday, November 11

:: 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 15,000 volumes.

Cost: $200, deposit: $80

Brush with God

Tuesday, November 8 – Friday, November 11

:: Led by 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 a priest in the Diocese of Bethlehem, 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: $475, deposit: $120

Holy Discontent: Finding Meaning in Spiritual Pot Holes

Tuesday, November 15 – Friday, November 18

:: Led by Christopher McCauley

How might we name the great spiritual discontent that finds its way into each of  us at some point in our life?  Is it possible to engage this ‘hunger’ and find meaning in its presence?  Audaciously, might we even need this disturbance to our inner peace for the very sake of our happiness?  Join us for this deep exploration of the “spiritual pot holes” that may either leave us stuck or become a portal for welcome change in life–right now. We will learn specific techniques to identify our Holy Discontent and its invitation to response and revelation.  Take a “long loving look” at your own life challenges and what may be the sources of new calling and life, and then prayerfully and gently explore how you can move through this discontent to a place of joy and happiness that is life-giving for you and those with whom you share your life.  We will use talks, safe sharing, music, contemplation and prayer in this process. This retreat is facilitated in a style that is both interactive and enjoyable.

Christopher McCauley is the former Chair of Spiritual Directors International. the first global learning network of spiritual directors in history, and is Executive Director Emeritus at Stillpoint: The Center for Christian Spirituality in Pasadena, California. He is a contemplative Christian with a deep respect for the wisdom of the world’s great spiritual traditions. Christopher leads retreats and pilgrimages both in the US and in the world. He lives in Pasadena, California.

Cost: $400, deposit: $120

Dramatizing Scripture

Tuesday, November 15 – Friday, November 18

:: Led by Br. Reinaldo Martinez-Cubero

Until the printing press made ownership of books commonplace, the Bible was experienced by listening to it being read aloud, and it was largely written with this in mind. Expand your experience of Holy Scripture by exploring different modes of delivering aloud the words of the Bible. We will use a variety of acting methods, including light and easy physical exercises, diction exercises, games, and journaling as a prelude to dramatic readings of scripture. No acting experience is necessary, but do come with an open mind, a relaxed stance, and a desire to know scripture in a new way.

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

Advent Silent Retreat with Yoga and Meditation: Breath of Heaven

Friday, November 25 – Sunday, November 27

:: Led by Carolyn Bluemle

Limited to 14 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.

Advent is a time of God’s presence in the darkness of Mary’s womb with a promise of light and love. Yoga can help us enter our bodies to find gentle awareness of God’s presence in our hearts: God who seeks to be born again and again out of our struggles and out of our tender longing for balance and joy for everyone. Pondering Mary’s assent and hope expressed in the Magnificat, we will explore the healing power of the breath which unites our deepest selves and God and the world. Together we will co-create our own variations of a yoga sequence to Amy Grant’s simple and beautiful song: “Breath of Heaven.”

Please bring a symbol of your intention for the retreat to place on a prayer table in the practice room. Yoga props are provided. Previous experience with yoga is not required but is recommended because familiarity with some of the postures makes it easier to enter the practice as prayer. All postures can be be modified for any-body.

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: $250, deposit: $80