Soul Soothing Retreats

Thoreau - I Am AlarmedFinding a recommendation for a warm weather escape in the dead of a Minnesota winter is quick and easy. Ask a neighbor, post the question on facebook, scan a newspaper. Think Cancun or South Beach. And hordes of people. And chances are a co-worker can talk your ear off about great ski mountains with blissfully barren back bowls or a great place to stay in Tuscany.

But when it comes to seeking solitude and finding the quiet within, do you really want to trust the guy at the water cooler or the virtual thumb’s up from “I’ma- world-traveler” on Trip Advisor? Maybe. But then again, maybe not. Vacation time is precious. Like sand sifting through your fingers, it slips by quickly. If it’s soul-seeking and time away to clear your head and perhaps heal your heart, do your research and choose wisely. Think about the type of experience you are really looking for. Silent retreat? A week away with a theme such as Compassion? Or time away to get your diet back on track and be thoughtful about what you put into your body?

Retreats abound these days. Take your time to really think about the type of experience you want. And let the journey unfold from there. Following are some suggestions to help you explore the possibilities. Brew yourself some chamomile, and read on.


Men only, silent, religious

Demontreville Jesuit Retreat House Lake Elmo, MN 651-777-1311 “Each year more than 3,000 men from all walks of life participate in retreats at the Deomontreville Jesuit Retreat House. Retreats at Demontreville have one theme: to know, love, and serve God in this world. Strict silence is maintained throughout the weekend, except for an optional recreation period after dinner on Friday and Saturday.”

For women

Assissi Heights Spirituality Center, Rochester, MN 507-282-7441 Italian Romanesque home of the Franciscan Sisters. Rooms for women on 100 secluded acres.


Anderson Center, Red Wing, MN 651-388-2009 Rooms available from November- April in historic house on 330 acres in the bluff-land region of the upper Mississippi.

The Grand Marais Art Colony, Grand Marais, MN 218-387-2737 Began in 1947 as a summer refuge for artists seeking study in the wilderness. Workshops in printmaking, book arts, sculpture, drawing, and watercolor, acrylic, oil, and sumi-e painting. www.

Yoga and Meditation

Replenish Yoga & Wellness Offering a variety of retreats to balance mind, body and spirit in beautiful, serene nature settings that allow you to replenish yourself.
• Weekends of self-care and spiritual rejuvenation
• Enjoy mat work, group discussion, meditation & personal time
• Each yoga and wellness retreat has its own unique theme
• Private sessions and corporate retreats available.

Institute of the Himalayan Tradition, St. Paul 651-645-1291 A place for study and sharing, education and community. Workshops and classes in hatha yoga, meditation, stress-relief, relaxation, wellness, self-discovery. Private consultations, initiations, residential programs and group/ private retreats are also offered.

12 steps

Hazelden Renewal Center, Center City 800-257-7810 or 651-213-4200 Retreat lodge for those living the Twelve-Step recovery program.

Families coping with an ill child, or death

Faith’s Lodge, Webster, WI, 612-825-2073 A unique retreat center for families who have a seriously ill child or have suffered the loss of a child. Located on 80 acres, about two hours from the Twin Cities.

Nature Retreats

Audubon Center of the North Woods Sandstone, 888-404-7743 Non-profit environmental learning, conference and retreat center on Grindstone Lake near Sandstone, MN. Diverse 535 acre lakeside sanctuary with 7 miles of trails and meeting spaces, lodging, meals, as well as team-building, challenge and natural;ist programming for any size group. Offering a variety of nature-connected all-inclusive adult, family, and youth ‘getaways’ such as our Women’s Wellness and Adventure Weekends; Food and Farms Weekend; Birding Bonanza; summer family camp, and winter family escape.

Boundary Waters Wilderness Area, northern Minn. Various entry points. The BWCA is a 1,090,000- acre wilderness area within the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota under the administration of the U.S. Forest Service. bwca. 218-626-4300

Camp Bliss 6150 Camp Fish Rd., Walker, MN 56484, 218-547-4004 A one of a kind retreat center located outside of Walker, MN with three lakes on 43 acres of gorgeous forest. Women’s retreats, personal empowerment retreats, weddings, conferences and getaways — as well as private rentals to meet any event you have in mind.


ARC Retreat Center, Cambridge, 763-689-3540 Serving individuals and groups seeking time apart, rest, and spiritual renewal. Log lodge with single rooms, hermitage and cottage on ninety wooded acres near Cambridge.

Benedictine Center of St. Paul’s Monastery, Maplewood, 651-777-7251 Contemporary monastic environment of Benedictine Sisters. www.stpaulsmonastery. org/7-benedictine-center/ retreatsonmyown.

Carondelet Center, St. Paul, 651-696-2750 Historic center adjacent to the College of St. Catherine. The sisters of St. Joseph have rooms for up to 20 guests. Labyrinth and walking paths.

Christ the King Retreat Center, Buffalo, 763-682-1394 Oblates of Mary Immaculate offer accommodations in a retreat house that overlooks Lake Buffalo.

Dunrovin, Marine-on-St. Croix, 612-433-2486 The Christian Brothers have two suites and 38 single rooms available for private retreats in their center on the St. Croix River. www.

Episcopal House of Prayer, Collegeville, 320-363-3293 Nine single and four double bedrooms available in the house, with an opportunity for meditation in the architecturally-stunning oratory adjacent to it. Meditation path and walking trails.

Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center Prior Lake, MN

Franciscan Life Center, Little Falls, 320-632-0668 A private, two-unit log cabin/ hermitage nestled in a pine grove clearing on the Franciscan Sisters’ campus in Little Falls. www.fslf. org/pages/FranciscanLifeCenter/

Holy Spirit Retreat Center 3864 420th Ave Janesville, MN 56048 Phone: 507-234-5712

Loyola Spirituality Center, St. Paul 651-641-0008 “dedicated to helping people notice, name and respond to the experience of God in their lives. We welcome all regardless of faith tradition, age, race, sexual and gender orientation or economic means.” See website for retreat topics and locations. www.

McCabe Renewal Center, Duluth, 218-724-5266 Benedictine Sisters offer rooms for individual and group retreats in historic Duluth mansion. Labyrinth and massage available. www.

Mount Olivet Retreat Center, Farmington, 952-469-2175 Contemporary retreat center on 150 wooded acres owned by Mount Olivet Lutheran Church. Indoor pool, sauna, whirlpool, prayer labyrinth.

Pacem in Terris, St. Francis, 763-444-6408 Year-round hermitages on 240 wooded acres operated in the Franciscan tradition.

Prairie Woods Franciscan Retreat Center Hiawatha, Iowa

Sacred Ground Center for Spirituality, St. Paul, 651-696-2798 Directed Retreats. Schedule a private appointment with a Sacred Ground Spiritual Director. Walk and explore the spacious grounds and labyrinth while meditating on your path. www.

Shalom Retreat Center Dubuque, Iowa, 563-582-3592 On an 81-acre prairie, offers room to walk, pray, and reflect with numerous paths, meditation garden and wildlife. Private or directed retreats, bedrooms and hermitage, all faiths and spiritualities. www.

St Anthony Spirituality Center Marathon WI

The Spirituality Center at St. Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, 320-363-7112 Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict offer rooms at their Spirituality Center and a woodland hermitage. Garden & walking paths. Everyone is welcome! • Individual and group retreats • Centering prayer retreats • Faith formation programs • Hermitage retreats • Sophia Program for Women in Ministry • Spiritual Companioning

St. John’s Abbey Guesthouse, Collegeville, 320-363-2573 Benedictine monks offer 30 rooms in their guesthouse that also has a meditation chapel, library, meeting rooms, and dining room. On the campus at St. John’s University.

Online resources

FindtheDivine, an online directory of spiritual retreats, religious retreats and conference centers. Includes articles and blog. www.

Loyola Press. Experiment with a three-minute online retreat. “Three- Minute Retreats invite you to take a short prayer break right at your computer.

Minnesota specific retreat links: aspx


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