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Commonly Asked Questions

Why might I want to go on retreat?

Taking a time away from the demands of everyday life, to be quiet, to pray, to worship, to read, rest, and relax, allows us to refocus our lives on what is most important to us. Some people come on retreat at moments of transition, where they feel the need for particular discernment. Others come on retreat simply to refresh and renew their spirit. Our relationship with God, like all human relationships, needs attention and care to grow. Times of retreat allow us to turn our whole selves to God, to listen and be attentive to the voice of God. Many people experience retreats as times when God seems particularly near.

What will I do with my time?

The Brothers meet for several services marking the hours of each day, beginning with Morning Prayer and ending with Compline at its close. On most days, brothers and guests will also gather to celebrate the Holy Eucharist. We invite guests to join us for all of these services, or as many as they wish. Three meals punctuate the day as we eat together, often in silence, with one brother reading aloud from a book or while listening to recorded music.

Between these hours, our chapels are open to guests for silent prayer and meditation. Our collection of books on spirituality, of biography or fiction might tempt you. Our houses are situated in beautiful natural settings conducive to recreation, offering paths for walking or jogging. Many guests report, after a retreat, how surprised they were by the rich joy of being able to rest, even to the point of napping for long hours each day!

What days can I come on retreat?

Guests may arrive at our houses from Tuesday through Friday, depending on the length of their stay. There are normally no arrivals on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.

At the Monastery you may arrive between 11:30 am to 12:15pm,
or between 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
At Emery House you may arrive between 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

If you cannot arrive within these windows, please call to verify that an alternate arrangement is possible.

All guests leave by Sunday afternoon, when our guest facilities close for the Brothers’ Sabbath, from Sunday evening to Tuesday morning.

Why aren’t more dates available?

Many weekends are already booked with groups who fill our guest facilities to capacity, while others find the brothers leading retreats away from our houses at churches throughout North America. Our houses are also closed at other times for the Brothers to attend to the Community’s needs in chapter meetings, and to their own needs for retreat, solitude, prayer, and contemplation.

If you cannot find a weekend opening, try a weekday retreat: we often have availability during the week. Because space for retreats is quite limited, we reserve the right to decline applications for retreats or to place applicants who have made a number of retreats with us in the past on a waiting list. Deposit checks will be returned to any applicants declined or placed on a waiting list.

Can I meet with a Brother during my stay?

If you would like to meet with a Brother for spiritual direction during your stay, please schedule an Individual Companioned Retreat. See the “Take a Retreat With Us” page for more information.

(Brothers may be available at other times for individual meetings, but this is not always possible and cannot be guaranteed.) 

What about the details: directions and parking?

For directions to the monastery and maps, click here. Please note that both our houses are readily accessible via public transportation.

Due to community, staff, and emergency access needs, guest parking is not available at the Monastery in Cambridge. (For-fee, public parking garages are available nearby.)

Guest parking in two lots is available at Emery House, West Newbury.

How can I schedule a retreat?

To book a retreat, at either the Monastery Guesthouse or at Emery House, please contact the Guesthouse Manager/Receptionist by e-mail at guesthouse@ssje.org or by telephone at (617) 876-3037 extension 10.

To secure a reservation, you’ll need to make a non-refundable deposit of 50% of the total retreat cost.

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