Retreat House

“Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ, for He is going to say, ‘I came as a guest, and you received Me'” (Matthew 25:35) Saint Benedict’s Rule for Monasteries, Chapter 53

Welcome to Holy Cross Abbey’s Retreat House. This ministry is a way to share a taste of our monastic life with you by sharing our silence and solitude, the natural beauty of this setting and the monastic liturgy throughout the day. The monks think of the Retreat House as our guest house; unfortunately that term has specific connotations in our world and this is not just a place for an overnight stay. Rather our Retreat House is specifically for those who need time to reflect on their lives, pray or refresh themselves spiritually. Staying with us in the Retreat House is a commitment to maintaining the silence contemplative environment of the place for all the guests.

The Current Guest Master is Fr. James Orthmann and the Retreat House is managed by Carol Hensley.

chapelMaking a Reservation: There are sixteen rooms in our Retreat House, available by reservation to men and women who wish to spend time in retreat. There are no conferences, nor is there a rigid schedule to follow. You need to make a reservation to insure that a room is available at the time you request.

You may request a room on the “A” level–on the same floor as the dining room, library and counseling rooms–or on the “B” level below. There is an elevator as well as stairs connecting both levels.

To make a reservation you may telephone Carol at 540-955-4383, Monday through Friday during normal work hours. If Carol cannot come to the phone, you may leave a message on her answering machine. You may contact her by email at:

In any given year, you may make a retreat as often as you wish, if we have the vacancy.

Carol is not in the office during Federal holidays and the Retreat House is closed over the Christmas Holiday and during the monks’ annual retreat.

Length and Nature of Retreats:

Weekday retreats begin on Monday at 3:00 PM and end on Friday by 9:30 AM.

Weekend retreats are from Friday at 3:00 PM through Sunday at 3:00 PM.

There are no conferences, nor is there a rigid schedule to follow. Under normal circumstances, a monk is available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Spiritual Direction; details for this service are posted on the bulletin board.

The opportunity for enjoying silence and solitude is a special part of your retreat. Please share this with the monks and the other guests by helping maintain the quiet of the surroundings and respecting the privacy of the monastic quarters.

Catholic Priests who are making a retreat at our guest house are welcome to concelebrate Mass in the Abbey church with the monks. Please let Carol or Fr. James know if you intend to concelebrate.

The Cost: We ask each guest to mail in a non-refundable $75.00 deposit after you’ve made your reservation with Carol.

We ask each guest to leave an offering to defray the expenses of your visit; these include food, maintenance, utilities and staff salaries and benefits. For a Monday through Friday retreat, we suggest an offering of $350 to $600. For a Friday through Sunday weekend, we suggest $200 to $350. Your deposit forms, of course, part of that final offering.

Traveling to Holy Cross Abbey: Retreatants leave Route 7, turning north onto Castleman Road to travel a country mile alongside the Shenandoah River, between rows of sycamores and osage oranges. If you’re depending on GPS, the address of your destination is Holy Cross Abbey, 901 Cool Spring Lane, Berryville, VA 22611. Right beyond the monastery gate, the paved road ends. Aftewr turning right through the gate, you enter Cool Spring Lane and a sudden expanse opens. A sign marking the Natural Cemetery is immediately to the right and the open air chapel is just beyond that. Far off to the right you may catch a glimpse of the Retreat House. You will eventually arrive at the tan brick Gift Shop; take a right and the road brings you to the Retreat House with its parking circle.

Checking In: The parking lot faces the entrance to the Retreat House a door to the east, facing the Blue Ridge Mountains, or a door facing west, facing the Abbey. The vestibule leads to the foyer. To the left of the central hallway, you’ll see a Bulletin Board: there is posted a list of names and room assignments. You just have to find your name on the list and you will see your room number next to your name. When you’ve identified your room assignment, please put a check next to your name.

Rooms with an “A” before the number are on the same level as the foyer; rooms with “B” before the number are downstairs. The odd numbered room are on the left side of the hallway, the even-numbered room are on the right side of the hallway.

Your Room: You will enjoy the use of a single-occupancy room with its own bathroom. Each room has a single bed, chair, built in closet, desk, desk chair and standing lamp. Sheets, towels, soap and blankets are provided. There is a thermostat on the wall near the desk for the heat or air conditioning, depending on the season. On the desk is a laminated card with some helpful guidelines for your visit and an envelope for your offering when you leave.

Checking Out: At the end of the retreat, please leave a second check mark next to your name on the bulletin board. You may place the envelope with your offering in the box attached to the lintel of the door to the west side of the foyer as you exit. You may also leave prayer requests in the same box.


Holy Cross Abbey
901 Cool Spring Lane
Berryville Virginia 22611

Phone: 540 955 4383