Welcome to San Damiano Retreat

The premier retreat center in the East Bay

Entrance 10 (rs)San Damiano is a sanctuary of transformation for people of different faiths and backgrounds. The peace and beauty of our gardens and spacious grounds offer a serene place where individuals, groups, and organizations, (both religious and non-religious), may reflect on new insights…new choices… new decisions.


  • Inspiring retreats for spiritual growth
  • A Retreat Center for meetings and conferences
  • Private retreats and directed private retreats
  • Spiritual Direction
  • Daily Eucharist
  • A peaceful environment of natural beauty to rest and renew

 “Your Warmth and Hospitality Are So Appreciated”

What else do people say about San Damiano?

Lisa & gang (rs)About the staff… The staff at San Damiano is above and beyond any expectations. We were so well cared for and the kitchen staff helped us in so many ways. To the kitchen staff – THANK YOU! You are the best. Kateri, your organizational skills are awesome. You help us with such graciousness and with kind spirit. Your warmth and hospitality are so appreciated and inspiring.

About the Retreat Presenters… Paula D’Arcy never disappoints when there. God has so gifted her and she has been willing and able to share with us. I’m grateful for everyone at San Damiano for maintaining the connection with her and inviting her back. I look forward to the next time she is there. The presenter [Clare Ronzani] offered a variety of ways to enter into prayer – it has been the best retreat experience I have ever had.

Entrance (rs&cr)About our environment… Thank you for sharing your home and garden as a place for me to heal, grow, and enjoy the community.

About gratefulness… The people who built the retreat center and continue its legacy are held in our hearts in a special way. Being on top of that hill and in the sanctuary of nature is just – well there is nothing like it. For all of this and so much more, I am truly graced and grateful. Can’t wait for God to reveal when I’m supposed to be there next. San Damiano impressed me deeply. It was like drinking from a well of beauty, abundance, peace, and great joy.


… 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 Sts. Francis and 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 changing needs of God’s people.

Let Us Host Your Event

Yes, yes, and yes! San Damiano is available as a conference and retreat center and many groups take advantage of our space for these gatherings:

- Training & Team Building Workshop
– Management Off-Site Seminars
– Executive & Corporate Retreats
– Strategic Planning
– Business and Professional Meetings
– Board Retreats

The Conference Facilities page has all the information you need to get your “foot in the door!” Here is a sampling of some of the groups that come:

- John Muir Hospital Chaplains
– Sandia National Lab
– Western Regional Interfaith Organization
– Intergovernmental Management Training
– Lafayette School District
– Domestic & Foreign Missionary Society
– Kaiser Permanente
– Berkeley Food & Housing Project
– Kern County Superintendents of Schools
– African American Quilt Guild of Oakland

Contact Lisa today at lisab@sandamiano.org, 925-837-9141, ext. 303.

Our courtyard – a lovely place to gather

Mid-winter reflections at the fountain

Mid-winter reflections at the fountain


Hot Topics

Taize Prayer

On Wednesday evenings during Lent from 7-8 pm in the San Damiano Chapel. Feb. 25, March 4, 11, 18, & 25. Fr. Vince will lead the Taize prayers and there will be coffee and cookies following each Wednesday service.

Our Director’s & Administrator’s Messages

We are envisioning some new ways to offer “love, hospitality, and nourishment” to our retreatants. One area dear to my heart is the Sacred Liturgy. In the decree on the Sacred Liturgy proclaimed by the Second Vatican Council, the bishops of the world stated that Liturgy is the “source and the summit of Christian life.” To that end we are intending to enhance our celebrations of the Church’s liturgical life. On this website, you will find many opportunities to celebrate special feast days including a renewed emphasis on Franciscan Feast Days. For example, one special day is the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels of Portiuncula on August 2nd. On this day we commemorate the restoration of the little portion, the “Portiuncula” down in the Assisi valley, a place most beloved of St. Francis. Be sure to view the entire calendar of retreats and liturgical celebrations on the Retreats Page. Fr. Vince Mesi, OFM (Director).

Br.-Mike-rs (rs)San Damiano is very beautiful, but the world is not always. It remains very broken, lonely and bruised. Our work is to refresh, pray with, teach, heal, and nourish people while they are here so they can take the beauty of this place down the hill to share with the world. Offering that kind of love, hospitality, and nourishment to retreatants calls San Damiano to always reimagine schedules, goals, and programs. These are some we are going to try and create this year:

  • more opportunities to pray with the Franciscans
  • an increased emphasis on Spiritual Direction
  • more opportunities for directed private retreats
  • a concentration on Franciscan spirituality and feasts
  • coordinated opportunities to serve
  • ways to respond to Pope Francis’ call to renew the Church
  • continued exploration of interfaith dialogue and spirituality
  • more expressions of beauty and art
  • more retreats geared to the marginalized of society
  • retreats designed to help address the issues of brokenness in our world
  • and, on an extremely practical level, some “Tender Loving Care” for this 50 plus year old building that has sheltered so many people through so much.

May we all strive to be, to see, and to make the beauty and wholeness for which our world so desperately cries. Br. Mike Minton, OFM (Administrator)


Donate 3Annual appeals and fundraiser are an essential part of San Damiano. Enhancing our warm and inviting environment and renovating our buildings and grounds ensures that we can continue to be a place that actively welcomes all people and supports the sense of growth, reflection, and renewal, available here. Continuing to provide quality, relevant speakers and presentations so that retreatants may address the challenges that they meet in everyday life is an ongoing challenge. Here is a Donate 2list of opportunities to give your support:

  • Legacy Society
  • Fall Auction & Dinner
  • Spring & Christmas Appeals
  • NEW: Open Golf Tournament
  • Donate a Garden Bench

The Christmas Appeal letter will be mailed shortly. We want to say Thank You in advance to all who have so generously supported the ministry of San Damiano throughout the 2014 year and in all our 53 years in existence. Ways to support San Damiano can be found on the Giving page.

The Bishop’s wine was lovely

Dinner was served and all enjoyed it

The 2014 Fall Fundraiser Auction & Dinner was enjoyed by all!


“Today’s workshop was well guided. I learned the importance of compassion toward self and others.

“I especially liked the time for reflection in your many gardens and outdoor spaces.

“I especially liked that the presenter was so willing to talk with people one on one and treated us like friends and welcomed our presence. His talks got down to the nitty gritty of what it’s like trying to pursue a contemplative life.

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