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.

Lisa & gang (rs)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.

Tulips March 2014 (cr&rs)2014 THEME…
Embracing A Joyful Faith

“I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11) Jesus’ intention is that our faith in Him and God be joyful, as He is joyful. We see examples of St. Francis’ joyful faith in the way he lived. Joy overflowed in him everyday for God, others and creation. As this year progresses, may you be inspired to look with joyful faith at your life’s journey through the examples of Jesus and St. Francis. We invite you to set aside the time and San Damiano will provide the place.


… 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.

A group enjoys the courtyard.

Hot Topics

Fall Fundraiser, Auction, & Dinner Date

Sunday, October 26 is our Fall Fundraiser beginning at 4 pm. Enjoy drinks and appetizers while browsing and bidding on the Silent Auction items. Then, delight in a fabulous dinner that concludes with the Live Auction. Fr. Vince Mesi, OFM, our new director, will be on hand also. Mark your calendars!

Fr. Ray To Retire From San Damiano

Ray & tree cropped (rs)Over 18 years ago, the province assigned Fr. Ray to San Damiano. He grew up in Oakland and could now be near family and his aging Mother, and, of course the Oakland A’s and Raiders. The staff has experienced his prayerfulness, his leadership, and the many, many hours he put into making and keeping this retreat center operating. Under Fr. Ray’s watch, premier authors and presenters have graced our center from Ron Rolheiser to Joyce Rupp, to date we have raised well over $1,000,000 through the Capital Campaign and Legacy Society, and we have made many renovations to both the inside spaces and outside facility. We as a staff, the friars who have worked and prayed with him, and the many people whose lives he has touched will miss him greatly. Our many thoughts and prayers go with him in his “semi” retirement.

Fr. Vince Mesi, OFM Named New Director

Vince Mesi (rs)Fr. Vince comes to San Damiano after 11 years as Pastor of St. Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix, AZ. He brings his pastoral experience and a big Franciscan heart to his new assignment. Fr. Vince is also closer to his family having grown up in San Jose. Welcome Fr. Vince! The next time you visit us, come and say hello to Fr. Vince.

Welcome Back Br. Mike Minton, OFM

Br. Mike Minton, OFMIn mid-May, Br. Mike left San Damiano to attend Creighton University. While there, he took two classes. One was “The Discernment of Spirits” and the other was “Pre-practicum for Spiritual Directors.” Then, off to Italy to do a Pilgrimage to Franciscan sights and learn about the Franciscan roots of each. All in preparation for the Profession of Solemn Vows that will take place on August 30th at Old Mission Santa Barbara. Br. Mike has been named as Administrator of San Damiano. We welcome back Br. Mike and congratulate him on his Solemn Profession and job as Administrator.

Blessing of the Animals, Oct. 4th

Blessing 2 (rs)In honor of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, our Friars will be on hand to bless all pets and pet owners. This event is open to all. It takes place on Saturday, Oct. 4th beginning at 2:00 pm. Meet in the front by the statue of St. Francis. See you all here!

Chapel Renovations Under Way

Many improvements have been made in the Chapel so far. We now have brighter lights, new paint, and a new sound system. Next up is new carpet and stonework. Then new chairs! Thank you all who have contributed to the Capital Campaign and to our most recent fundraiser, The Golf Tournament!


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

Ways to support San Damiano can be found on the Capital Campaign/ Giving page.

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