Upcoming Programs

An Advent Journey with Early Monastic Women

Saturday, December 7, 2019

During Advent, as we await the coming of the Christ child, we are especially aware of our longing for God. In the early centuries of Christianity, this longing led some women to seek God through monastic life in a variety of creative forms, from venturing into the desert to forming household monasteries. On this Advent Day of Reflection, we will take an introductory look at the lives of several of these early monastic women and the wisdom they can share with us across the centuries, particularly in the context of our Advent journey today.


Retreat Director: Sister Elisabeth Meadows, O.S.B.

Cost: $30, includes lunch



Introduction to Centering Prayer

January 24 – 26, 2020


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 $255

Printable Registration Form (pdf)



Letting Go and Letting GodThe Wisdom of Twelve-Step Spirituality   

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Letting go of self-will and the powerful drive to control all the various circumstances of life (including people, relationships, and situations) begins with recognizing the reality of our own limitations and the inherent “imperfections” that are part of the human condition. Letting God’s will and loving care uphold and direct our lives requires an ever-deepening process of surrender that is described in all genuine spiritual traditions yet uniquely articulated through the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. This reflection day will focus on the core principles of Twelve-Step spirituality and the gift of spiritual freedom that is experienced when these principles are put into practice.


Retreat Director: Sister Thérèse Haydel, O.S.B.

Cost: $30, includes lunch                                                                                                            




Holy Week at the Monastery


April 10, 2020- Good Friday Day of Reflection

Take a day apart for silence and prayer on this holy day.  Join the Sisters in their silent lunch, outdoor Stations of the Cross, and in their Good Friday liturgy. Spend the rest of your day in silent prayer on the beautiful grounds of Sacred Heart Monastery and in the comfortable sitting areas of the Retreat Center.

$15, includes lunch

Printable Registration Form (pdf)


April 9 – 10, 2020 – Holy Thursday through Good Friday

Join the Sisters for the special liturgies of Holy Thursday and Good Friday while taking time apart for silent communion with God on these holy days.  Begins with supper on Holy Thursday and concludes with the afternoon liturgy of Good Friday.

$150, includes private room and meals

Printable Registration Form (pdf)


April 9 – 12, 2020 – Holy Thursday through Easter

Experience the three days of the Sacred Triduum immersed in the beauty of Sacred Heart Monastery, joining the Sisters in their silence and in their prayer as they celebrate the special liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday.  Limited enrollment; Silence. 


Cost: Private Room $265; Shared Room $205/person

Printable Registration Form (pdf)



Merton and Women

May 8 – 10, 2020

A Mother’s Day weekend exploration of women and the feminine in the life and teaching of Thomas Merton with special focus on his correspondence with women and his conferences with women religious and monastics.

Retreat Director: Bonnie Thurston, Ph.D.
Bonnie Thurston, a New Testament scholar, lives quietly in West Virginia.  She is an experienced spiritual director, retreat leader, theological writer, and poet.  Bonnie wrote her doctoral dissertation on Thomas Merton and has led retreats and lectured on Merton widely in the U.S. and abroad.  Her work on Merton has been translated into Dutch, German, Italian and Spanish.     

Cost: Private Room $255

Printable Registration Form (pdf)




Hope and Healing for the Spousal Loss Survivor

July 10 – 12 , 2020                                                        

This weekend retreat for spousal loss survivors will introduce a full range of ancient and contemporary forms of healing which link the resources of the Christian faith with the best of the behavioral sciences and expressive arts in addressing body-mind-spirit healing:  the power of ‘restorative retelling’ – sharing our loss experiences within small groups to facilitate emotional release, insight, and the formation of enduring bonds with fellow survivors; access to information on loss and survivorship; exposure to methods which facilitate healthy coping and mourning; and access to a variety of rejuvenating spiritual practices.  This retreat is geared toward female and male spousal loss survivors ages thirty-five to sixty-five – persons of working age or recently retired. (Survivors contending with post-traumatic stress, clinical depression, and other psychiatric conditions are asked to contact the facilitator to determine whether retreat participation would be helpful.  The Retreat Center can provide contact information.)

 Retreat Director: Rev. Stephen Sweatt, M.Div., M.Ed., LPC

Cost: Private room $255

Rev. Sweatt is Clinical Director of Community Grief Support in Birmingham, AL.  An ordained Baptist minister, he has extensive training and experience in bereavement counseling, chaplaincy, pastoral care, and crisis counseling.  Jan Owen of Community Grief Support in Birmingham will co-lead the retreat.