Frequently Asked Questions - Retreat Center

How are meals served for groups visiting the Retreat Center?

Home-cooked meals are served cafeteria-style at a designated time. For groups, meal times are established with the group leaders prior to the retreat. Our dining room is bright and spacious, accommodating up to 108 individuals.  We are able to accommodate the following special dietary needs if notified of them in advance: vegetarian - no fish, vegetarian - with fish (pescatarian), gluten free, and most common food allergies. Our ability to meet other special dietary needs will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 


How are meals served for private retreatants?
Silent meals are a time to savor God’s bountiful goodness and remain in contemplative communion with our loving Creator.  Guests on private retreat are served in the Retreat Center dining room at designated times.   When groups are present, a separate alcove of the main dining provides an area in which private retreatants may maintain their silence.  We do our best to accommodate special dietary needs.


Liturgy of the Hours, Sacred Heart Monastery Chapel

May I join the Sisters for prayer and Eucharist?
The monastic Community gathers in the chapel morning, mid-day, and evening to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and to celebrate Eucharist. Guests are always welcome. To enrich your participation in the Liturgy of the Hours, a Sister will provide a brief orientation and assist you in finding a place to sit.


Are men allowed in the Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center?

We welcome men as guests of the Retreat Center, either as private retreatants, as part of a mixed retreat, or with a men’s retreat group.


What are your check-in and check-out times?
For groups, these times are established with the group leader in advance of the retreat. For private retreatants, we ask that you arrive and depart during business hours, 8:00 am – 3:30 pm. Special arrangements can be made if necessary.


What meeting room equipment are you able to provide?
With advance notice and depending on availability, we are able to provide at no charge the following:

  • podium
  • microphone with box amplifier
  • media cart
  • wi-fi access
  • piano
  • easel (you provide pad and markers) 


For a usage fee and with advance notice we are able to provide (depending on availability):


  • CD player
  • easel (we provide pad and markers)
  • DVD/VCR player with old-style TV
  • flat-screen TV with HDMI cable and DVD player (you provide laptop)
  • flat-screen TV with HDMI cable and DVD player (we provide laptop)


For groups wishing to show Power Point presentations via projector, you will need to bring your own projector. Please confirm availablity of equipment at the time you make your reservation. 


How do I arrange for a Sister to lead our group retreat or come speak at our church?

We have a number of Sisters who are able to lead group retreats or give presentations of varying lengths to a variety of audiences.  This can be done here at the Retreat Center, or they can come to your church or parish.  The range of possible topics is broad and includes such areas as scripture studies, Benedictine spirituality, prayer, women saints, poetry and spirituality, and many more.  Please contact the Retreat Center office for more information. 


Is there a dress code?
We suggest comfortable attire, appropriate for the season. We also suggest comfortable walking shoes. Many find a light sweater helpful for the meeting rooms. If you plan to join the Sisters for the Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharist, we prefer that shorts not be worn in the monastic chapel.


What should I bring?
In addition to seasonal clothing and comfortable shoes, please bring all toiletries and other personal items you may need. Other suggested items include an alarm clock and an umbrella. You may also wish to bring a journal, and a book or two for spiritual reading. If attending a group retreat, there may be additional items suggested by your group leader. We provide sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, and wash cloths.


Will I have a private room?
For  retreat programs sponsored by the Retreat Center, you may choose a private room, or your may choose to share a room with someone you know. For Centering Prayer retreats and occasional other retreats, private rooms are required. 

For church groups and other organizations that use our facilities, you will need to check with your group leader about room assignments.

All private and directed retreatants have private rooms.


Will I have a private bath?

For groups:

Mary Guest House and St. Joseph Guest House each contain twelve semi-private rooms with en suite bath.  Benet Hall contains 18 beds in 11 bedrooms.  Four restrooms, each containing a toilet, sink, and shower, are located down the hall from the bedrooms.

For those on private retreat:

Subiaco, our area dedicated for private retreatants, features a private bath with each private bedroom.


How do I arrange for spiritual direction?
Spiritual direction sessions for private retreatants must be scheduled prior to the retreat. Please contact the Retreat Center office, and we will assist you. If you live near Cullman and wish on-going spiritual direction sessions, we can assist you with getting in touch with a director.




We welcome any other questions you may have. You may reach us at:

Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center

(256) 734-8302