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Established in 1961, the San Damiano Retreat was a place of natural beauty where thousands of people came for spiritual renewal and growth. San Damiano was initially a retreat house for men only. Shortly thereafter, however, it was opened to a wider variety of groups seeking a place for quiet reflection, and the Friars have long extended their programs to meet the varying needs of the times. Today, retreats of many different varieties – including spirits.

The mission of San Damiano Retreat is to provide a peaceful environment of natural beauty where people of all faiths and backgrounds may seek spiritual renewal and growth In the Spirit of St Francis and St Clare, and guided by the Franciscan traditions of joy, hospitality, compassion, peace and simplicity, we offer contemporary and challenging retreats and programs in response to the Chan.

The original St. Damiano, a small church located outside the town of Assisi, Italy, has great significance in the life and vocation of St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order. It was in prayer before the crucifix of the 12th century in the dilapidated church of San Damiano that Francis heard a voice. The Christ of the Crucifix spoke to Francis, “Francis, go and repair my church that is falling into ruins.” Literally, Francis began to gather stones and began to build the building only to realize that the larger community of the whole church was meant to be, not just a material building. St. Clare of Assisi, the first female follower of St. Francis, was given to St. Damiano as the first convent for her community, the Poor Ladies. The Poor Clares took with them the original cross of San Damiano to the Basilica of Santa Chiara, where it hangs in a chapel. It is our hope that the San Damiano Retreat will be a place of listening, vision and reconstruction for you and a place of encounter with Christ.

Guests continue to sing praises for the food served in San Damiano. Chef Ron Roncarati and his team ensure a varied, abundant, hearty and healthy meal for breakfast , lunch and dinner. If you have special dietary considerations, please let our Hospitality staff know when you make your reservations. Meals are served buffet style.

Be sure to visit the organic garden in the meadow of the lower pond called “The Canticle Garden” in honor of St. Francis’ poem, “The Canticle of the Creatures.” This prayer, full of joy and praise, was paradoxically written at a time of great physical suffering. We invite you to bring your joys and sorrows to the garden and to walk through the labyrinth.

This small plot of land reflects our commitment to Franciscan values and deepens environmental awareness through organic and sustainable farming practices. The labyrinth, located in the Canticle Garden, is a walking meditation path of prayer. Walking the labyrinth reduces stress, calms the mind, and opens the heart. There are also chairs for those who want to linger while enjoying the creation of God.

This amazing landmark in Danville, California is located near some other must-see places of interest:

  • Blackhawk Museum
  • Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site
  • AuburnJames Winery 
  • Blackhawk Plaza
  • Museum of the San Ramon Valley
  • St. Isidore Catholic Church 
  • Iron Horse Regional Trail
  • Century Blackhawk Plaza

All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location at 1091 Shary Circle in Concord, California! Stop by for a visit anytime!

By Geraoma - Own work, Public Domain,