Welcome to San Damiano Retreat

A Franciscan Presence In Northern California

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

Hot Topics

How are we a Franciscan Presence in Northern California?

Care for Creation

We are deepening our care for creation by looking at our water usage, updating our spring-fed water tank, changing our watering system from spray to drip, capturing rain water, placing signs in guest rooms encouraging conservation of “sister water”, mulching more to keep the moisture in the ground, making plans to address sustainability in the gardens, and exploring the feasibility of putting in solar power. Also, we have flowers that are specifically attractive food sources to bees and butterflies, helping them have places to eat as they migrate and move.


We are working at healing the “scandal of division” amongst the Christian Churches by offering ecumenical prayer services; first with Taize during Lent and now every Saturday with Morning Prayer at 8:45.

Outreach to the Poor

We have agreed to be the last resort short-term placement for an established social service agency in the East Bay helping refugees as they arrive in this country.


We have added more Franciscan themed prayer and retreat experiences.


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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