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

Hot Topics

New Years Retreat!

2015 new year (rs)We again invite you to come celebrate the past year and ring in the new year with Fr. Patrick Foley and the San Damiano staff. Fr. Pat will give you presentations that will help you reflect on the past year while looking forward with grateful anticipation to the New Year. There will be a New Year’s Eve Mass followed by a social with the retreat ending on January 1st with a festive Brunch. Join us and make this part of your New Year’s tradition. December 30 – January 1, 2015

Fall Fundraiser – Fun For All!

The event this year was fantastic! The silent auction was set up so nicely and the live auction was great! The food was excellent and our new Director, Fr. Vince Mesi, had a great time meeting and greeting everyone. We received many complements on the dinner as well. Many people had a hand in making the day go so well. Thank you to our Friars, Staff and volunteers. Also to Deborah, Br. Mike, Lisa, Michael, Juan, Kateri, Dorothy, and Barbara who each had a special hand in the success of the day.

Live auction items display

Live auction items display

The Bishop’s wine was lovely

The Bishop’s wine was lovely

Sampling of the silent auction items

Sampling of the silent auction items

Dinner was served and all enjoyed it

Dinner was served and all enjoyed it

The Work of Grieving

“Why is the topic of grieving on your website under Hot Topics?” A good question…for which a good answer can be provided! Many people have difficult but important work to do in their personal lives. That is why San Damiano gives the opportunity for people dealing with loss and grief a weekend retreat. Fr. Padraig Greene led the retreat. He works throughout the Diocese of Oakland with people who are grieving. Here are some reflections from those who attended this past November:

  • The most helpful was knowing that I wasn’t alone in my grief.
  • I enjoyed how real Fr. Padraig was with the topic and the importance of self-care. Overall I’m glad I came.
  • I especially liked the love and connection of people.
  • The retreat took me further on in my healing. I’m ready to go home and savor all the people that I love especially my husband.
  • I found being away from home to just be able to grieve most helpful.
  • Grateful that I came and that you offered this grief retreat where I could be with others who are experiencing loss. I especially liked that it was before the holidays.
  • This is my first time here and I felt so welcomed, embraced and comfortable.
  • The serenity and peacefulness of the entire facility was most helpful.


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.

Taize Prayer During Lent

On Wednesdays during Lent in 2015, San Damiano will offer a Taize Prayer Service. The first one will be February 25 and continue every Wednesday until March 25. Stay tuned for more information.

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