All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ.
–Rule of Benedict, Ch. 53
Welcoming Our Guests as Christ
Our guesthouse ministry is the primary ministry of the monks at Holy Cross Monastery. We welcome around 3,000 guests each year on individual, directed, and group retreats.
We are a monastic guesthouse. The quiet and openness that our guests so value arise out of the balanced life of the monastic community, grounded in a rhythm of regular worship and a commitment to lifelong conversion to the monastic way of life as expressed in the Rules of St. Benedict and our founder, James Huntington. We strive to live faithful lives of integrity, hospitality, generosity, mercy, and open-heartedness. We hear regularly from our guests that those are the same qualities that they seek in their times of retreat, and we believe that that they find them here because we are engaged in that search ourselves.
Our guesthouse ministry is the natural extension of the life that we live as Christian monastics. In his Rule, St. Benedict urges the monastic community to receive all visitors as Christ. Without guests, our ability to seek and serve God would be impoverished.
Because of this conviction, we welcome all who seek rest, beauty, quiet, respite, and fellowship, from any faith or none at all. We find in the diversity of our guests a richness that both nourishes and challenges us—and both of those are good things!
Although we do not observe strict silence all the time, we do try to create an atmosphere that is conducive to prayer, quiet reflection, and the slow emergence of the inner life. As such, we offer much more silence than most people experience in their daily lives. Although silence does sometimes threaten our comfortable sense of ourselves in the world, through regular immersion in periods of silence, we have come to see it as a luxury, a gift, and a witness we can offer to a noisy world.
We offer a wide variety of programming and retreats in the guesthouse, though we prioritize programs that help retreatants to deepen their relationship with God in the service of inner transformation. In building our retreat offerings, we strive to balance the interests and competencies of our community (both monastic and regional) with the great needs we see in the Church and the wider society. We currently focus on the following areas:
Prayer & Contemplation
Prayer is the beginning and end of the spiritual life. Through prayer God draws us ever deeper into the heart of Love that beats at the core of all creation. Purity or unity of heart is the goal of every Christian life, and it is unity of heart that we seek, which is to say the uniting of our entire being—body, mind, spirit, heart—centered in love on the one who gives and sustains our life. We offer many retreat programs that provide tools and frameworks for deepening one’s prayer life.
Recognizing that beauty is an intrinsic part of the spiritual life, Benedictines, and monastics in general, have long been known for their art, most of it quite practical in origin and nature. Most of our brothers are engaged in some kind of creative work, including painting, photography, textiles, calligraphy, music, and writing. We believe that the flowering of creativity is a sign of spiritual and emotional health, and that, as such, creative engagement can lead us to ever greater health and wholeness. We offer many programs to facilitate artistic practice as spiritual discipline.
As monks and Christians we are not called to remove ourselves from the world. And, indeed, the world flows through the monastery. God has given us this time and this place as the theatre for our conversion. We believe that the witness of our monastic life is vital to this historical moment as an antidote to the division and violence that plague our world. We do not accept the fallacy that contemplation and action are opposed to one another. Rather, we see contemplation as the foundation of social action, and social action as the natural result of the life of prayer. We offer programs to give rest to those working for social change and to stir up and equip all of us to continue to work for the flourishing and healing of the whole creation.
Mission & Outreach to the Local Church
Benedictines take a vow that includes stability, which has traditionally been understood as stability of place. We seek to be rooted and through that rootedness to grow deeply in this home God has given us. From this understanding of stability, we see an obligation and an opportunity to serve as a resource for the local Church. We are working on efforts to provide opportunities for the local Christian community to continue to deepen and develop their faith, to learn from monastic tradition and spirituality, and to help us remain connected to the community in which we are planted.
U I D O G
That in all things God may be glorified.