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?

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.

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

Faithful volunteers Mary Ann Digirolamo and Annette Maggiora work the front desk & gift shop every week! Thanks so much Ladies!

Faithful volunteers Mary Ann Digirolamo and Annette Maggiora work the front desk & gift shop every week! Thanks so much Ladies!


Hot Topics


Mike & Ray Golf (cr&rs)Mark your calendar on Monday, May 18, 2015 – and plan to come to our Second Annual Open Golf Tournament at the Diablo Country Club. If you would like to volunteer or donate an auction item, please call and let us know at 925-837-9141.

Local Artists at San Damiano

One of the purposes of San Damiano is to help bring more beauty into the world.  In January, we began asking local artists to display their work here.  We started with an exhibit by Christine Hartmann.  One of her works was a wonderful and joyful Madonna. Christine donated this piece to us and it hangs at our front door to welcome us all in.

Our current artist is Bill Carmel. Bill has been a professional artist for more than 35 years.  Along with the Smithsonian, his art is displayed in many local galleries. His exhibition here consists of three different abstract series. The titles in the series include “One God” which uses sacred words in Arabic, “Boogie Woogie” and “Fire and Water”. His work will be on display until May.

photo-5 (rs)


Br. Mike Minton, OFM was instrumental in bringing a presenter to San Damiano who spoke on the life and poetry of Rumi, the 12th century poet, theologian, and scholar. Ustadh Feraidon Majadedi provided listeners with a wonderful afternoon with Rumi. Here are some quotes from the participants:

  • Rumi day (rs)Very inspiring and welcoming. Your hospitality is touching.
  • Rumi is universally applicable across religious dogma. I enjoyed it all! The setting was exceptional.
  • Best part of the day was the lecture, outdoor session, and walking around the garden – beautifully executed event.


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

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!


“A great friend of mine showed me San Damiano about ten years ago and I have been blessed over and over again since. Sitting up there in various places, I just know God is going to come and meet me. We are truly blessed for the people who had the vision to build it in the 1960’s and to keep it in such great shape since then.

“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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