Upcoming Programs


General Information

  • Room, meals, and linens are included in program cost.
  • Unless noted otherwise, weekend programs begin Friday at 7:30 pm and end Sunday after the noon meal.
  • Programs may be cancelled for insufficient registration.
  • click for printable driving directions (pdf)

Would  you like more information about any of our programs?  We can be reached at (256) 734-8302 or retreats@shmon.org.



The year 2015 marks the 1st centenary of Thomas Merton's birth. 

The following two programs offer an opportunity to remember Merton during this centenary year.



Preparing for Christ's Coming:

Thomas Merton on Advent and Prayer

The two retreat offerings below - one an evening presentation and the other weekend retreat - will explore teachings from the beginning and end of Thomas Merton’s life. The Friday evening program will be a presentation on Merton’s view of Advent drawn from writings during the first ten years of his monastic life.  The weekend retreat will explore Merton's teachings on prayer in the last 8 years of his life, in fact the last few days before he left for Asia and his great transitus.



The Friday evening presentation:

“The Sacrament of Advent:” Lessons and Carols from Thomas Merton

December 4, 2015 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Exploration of a journal entry, 3 poems & an essay on St. Bernard which Merton wrote in the first 10 years of his monastic life will provide a “service of lessons & carols” that closes with an Advent invitation to echo Mary’s fiat.

Cost: Friday evening lecture only - $15



The weekend retreat: 

Thomas Merton on Prayer 

December 4-6, 2015   

NOTE: As of November 10, the weekend retreat is full.  There are limited alternate accommodations available.  After these is full, we will initiate a waiting list.  Please call if you are interested in attending.  N.B. - There is still availablility for the Friday evening presentation.


Following Friday evening’s presentation above, additional sessions will focus on Merton’s teachings on prayer based upon principles from a letter he wrote and teachings given to monastics and women religious near the end of his life. There will be ample silence throughout the weekend.

Cost (includes Friday evening presentation): Private Room $245; Shared Room $205/person

Retreat Director: Bonnie Thurston, a New Testament scholar and former professor, lives quietly in West Virginia. She is an experienced spiritual director and retreat leader. Author of 19 theological works, Bonnie is also a poet who has authored five volumes of verse and whose work appears frequently in religious periodicals. Bonnie wrote her doctoral dissertation on Thomas Merton and has led retreats and lectured on Merton widely in the U.S. and abroad. She was a founding member of the International Thomas Merton Society, served as its third president, and has published extensively on Thomas Merton, with works on Merton translated into Dutch, German, Italian, and Spanish.


Printable Registration Form (pdf)




Introduction to Centering Prayer

January 15 - 17, 2016


Centering Prayer is a form of Christian prayer rooted in the ancient Christian contemplative tradition.  Its purpose is to foster a deeper intimacy with Christ through the silence and stillness of contemplative prayer. 

This workshop/retreat is designed for those new to Centering Prayer.  Private rooms and the ability to maintain silence are required.

Retreat Directors: Contemplative Outreach Birmingham Staff

Cost: Private Room $245

Printable Registration Form (pdf)


Good call: A vocation Retreat for YOung Women

January 22-24, 2016


An opportunity for single, Catholic women ages 18-35 to 'come and see' the Benedictine way of life. 


For more information or to register, contact Sr. Magdalena Craig, OSB, at (256) 615--6114.






Intensive Centering Prayer Weekend

February 5 - 7, 2016

Centering Prayer is a method of Christian prayer rooted in the ancient Christian contemplative tradition. For those who have already attended an Introduction to Centering Prayer Retreat, this weekend will allow you to further deepen your relationship with God.  There will be extended periods of Centering Prayer and shared Lectio Divina.  The weekend will be spent in silence.  Limited enrollment.

Contemplative Outreach Birmingham Staff

Cost: Private Room $245

Pre-requisite: Introduction to Centering Prayer

Printable Registration Form (pdf)




Learning to Communicate and Connect

April 22, 23, and/or 24, 2016


As the number of persons with Alzheimer's and other diseases of dementia increases, the overwhelming stress for caregivers is becoming more evident. In Meeting the Mystery of Alzheimer’s, Jade Angelica draws on the experience of caring for her Mother, her training as a spiritual director, and her practice of improvisational theatre techniques to help other caregivers discover creative ways to reduce conflict and enjoy more peaceful and meaningful relationships with their loved ones. The program is comprised of four events, most of which can stand alone, but also fit together to form a whole. You may register for selected events, or come for the entire weekend.




Friday, April 22, 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

The Healing Power of “Yes!”: An Introduction to Healing Moments

In this presentation, participants will engage in exercises designed to enhance their skills of observation and their understanding of dementia. They will increase their abilities to communicate and connect, and learn ways to improve the quality of life for their loved ones with dementia, as well as reduce the stress of caregiving.


Cost: $20, includes coffee and light refreshments




Saturday, April 23, 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM

Enhancing Care for Persons with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

This day-long workshop will focus on teaching caregivers various techniques in order to improve communication and interactions with Persons who have illnesses of dementia. The use of improvisation can create healing moments of deep connection and joy, enhancing the quality of the caregivers’ lives as well as the lives of their loved ones.


Cost: $80, includes lunch and refreshments; registration limited to 36 individuals. Please note: Participation in the Introductory presentation on Friday evening is required.




Saturday, April 23; 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

"Turn and Be Healed: Alzheimer's Disease - A Call to Love"

A service of candle lighting and prayer to honor and remember our loved ones with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. No charge; open to all, but pre-registration required




Sunday, April 24, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

A Retreat on the Spirituality of Caregiving

This compassionate workshop introduces spirituality as a way of finding hope in the face of an incurable illness, and provides caregivers with the opportunity to acknowledge their feelings - including loss, confusion, frustration and grief – in a safe and supportive environment. Exploring images of God and identifying fears regarding Alzheimer’s and dementia, caregivers will be strengthened in the realization that they are not alone on this journey.

Cost: $20


For a comprehensive experience of Meeting the Mystery of Alzheimer's...

...we invite you to come for the entire weekend. The rates below include 2 nights lodging; 3 meals on Saturday and 2 on Sunday; and all program fees:

Private room w/ bath: $270; Shared room w/ bath: $230/person; Single night stays available. Call for details.



About the presenter: The author of Where Two Worlds Touch: A Spiritual Journey through Alzheimer's’ Disease, Jade Angelica, M.Div., D.Min. is founder of Healing Moments, a ministry of education and advocacy for Alzheimer’s and other diseases of dementia. In addition to her M.Div. from Harvard University, and her D.Min. from Andover Newton Theological School, Jade has a Diploma from Improv Boston University. She leads workshops and retreats throughout the country focused on improving the lives of individuals with dementia and their caregivers. Her most important ministry has been caring for her mother, Jeanne, who died from Alzheimer’s in 2011.


Printable Registration Form (pdf)



An Approach to T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets:

"The Dry Salvages" and "Little Gidding"

Saturday, May 7, 2016 ~ 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM


Four Quartets, written by T. S. Eliot as a message of hope during World War II, reflects his life-long quest for meaning, a spiritual search that led him to become an Anglican. The complexity and beauty of the Quartets resonate with those who seek the spiritual dimension, and the poems have long been plumbed for their Christian themes. This program will provide a discussion of the whole work, with a focus on the final two Quartets: “The Dry Salvages” and “Little Gidding”, with Sister Marian Davis providing insight into the spiritual depths of this classic work. This is the second of two programs on the Quartets. The two are intended as a series, but each can also stand alone if you can attend only one.

Retreat Director: Sister Marian Davis, O.S.B., Ph.D.
Cost: $30, includes lunch

Printable Registration Form (pdf)





8-Day Intensive / Post - Intensive Centering Prayer

May 17-24, 2016

Intensive: An in-depth retreat for those experienced in Centering Prayer.  The retreat will facilitate entrance into a more profound level of spiritual practice in an atmosphere of silence, solitude, and community, designed to assist participants in entering a more intimate relationship with God.  DVD's of Fr. Thomas Keating's Spiritual Journey course will be viewed.

Post-Intensive: A next step into a profound silence and stillness to facilitate a more intimate union with

God.  An Intensive Centering Prayer experience is a prerequisite of the Post-Intensive.

Arrival is between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm on May 19, with departure after breakfast on the final day.

Retreat Directors: Contemplative Outreach Birmingham Staff

For cost and registration information: Please contact Katy Smith at (205) 410-1493 or smithdoc20 [at] gmail [dot] com for registration information.  A non-refundable deposit of $100 is required for the 8-day retreat.  Deadline for registration and deposit: May 12, 2015.



Five-Day Directed Retreat

June 27 - July 1, 2016


This retreat offers an opportunity for on-going faith development under the personal guidance of an experienced director.  Enjoy silence, scheduled consultations with a spiritual director, and time for personal reflection and prayer.  Participants have the option of joining the Benedictine Community for Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours.


Retreat Directors: Sister Kathleen Gallas, O.S.B. and Sister Mary McGehee, O.S.B
Cost: Private Room $470

Printable Registration Form (pdf)




Introduction to Centering Prayer

September 2 - 4, 2016


Centering Prayer is a form of Christian prayer rooted in the ancient Christian contemplative tradition.  Its purpose is to foster a deeper intimacy with Christ through the silence and stillness of contemplative prayer. 

This workshop/retreat is designed for those new to Centering Prayer.  Private rooms and the ability to maintain silence are required.

Retreat Directors: Contemplative Outreach Birmingham Staff

Cost: Private Room $245

Printable Registration Form (pdf)

For additional information about our programs, please contact:

Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center

Telephone: (256) 734-8302
E-mail: retreats @ shmon.org