About Us

Since 1961, the Franciscan Friars, of the Province of St. Barbara, have welcomed to San Damiano Retreat those who thirst for a greater connection to God. We are 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 secular) may reflect on new insights…new choices…new decisions. Through innovative and relevant retreats and spiritual direction, individuals can discover Gospel answers to today’s challenging questions. San Damiano is truly a spiritual oasis.


Live Auction 2014 (rs&cr)Our Annual Fall Auction and Dinner Fundraiser was held October 26. It was another great success.


SD Cross (rs&cr)The original San Damiano, a little church located outside the town of Assisi, Italy, has great significance in the life and vocation of St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order. It was while in prayer before a 12th Century crucifix in the dilapidated church of San Damiano that Francis heard a voice. The Christ of the crucifix spoke to Francis, “Francis, go repair my church which is falling into ruins.” Literally Francis began to gather stones and started building up the edifice only to realize that the larger community of the whole church was meant, not merely a material building. St. Clare of Assisi, the first female follower of St. Francis, was given San Damiano as the first convent for her community, the Poor Ladies. The Poor Clares took the original San Damiano cross with them to the Santa Chiara Basilica where it hangs in a chapel. It is our hope that San Damiano Retreat will be a place of listening, vision, and rebuilding for you and a place of encounter with Christ. Find out more on the Franciscana page.


Volunteers gather for a group picture, February 3, 2014

Volunteers gather for a group picture

Most of the people who volunteer here at San Damiano, work at the front desk, gift shop, and in the garden. Without these willing and able folks, we could not do all we do to provide this place of peace and beauty. If you are interested in volunteering here at San Damiano, call us and let us know what you would like to do. Our Fundraisers are successful because of the work volunteers do before, during, and after the event. For all of the volunteer opportunities available at San Damiano call and talk to Richard Wednesdays through Fridays and he will get you started. Thank you in advance!

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This spring we bid farewell to 3 staff members who have been with us for 20 years, 16 years, and 5 years respectively. Lorraine Steele has worn many hats in the Administration in both the hosted and sponsored departments. Marketing has been part of her many jobs as well. Lois McWhorter has worked tirelessly in our gardens since her arrival in 1998. Many people enjoy the fruits of her labor as they visit the outdoor spaces. Dorothy Charbonneau came, as did Lorraine and Lois, as a lay volunteer in 2010. She has presented a labyrinth retreat day twice while here and can be seen at the front desk helping visitors with their needs and working the gift shop. Many, many thanks go out to these 3 women who have exemplified Franciscan hospitality during their years of service at San Damiano.


Dorothy & Lorraine

Our Gift Shop

Our gift shop and book store is open 7 days a week from 8:30 until 4:30 pm. We stay open most Fridays until 6:30 pm. On Sunday, we close at 2:00 pm. You can find many unique gifts and books about prayer, spirituality, grief, and aging. We have Franciscan themed books and crosses too. Please visit our Gift Shop page.

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The labyrinth is a walking meditation, a path of prayer. Walking the labyrinth reduces stress, quiets the mind, and opens the heart. There is an outdoor labyrinth at San Damiano located in the Canticle Garden. There are also chairs for those who want to linger while enjoying God’s creation.

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“I experienced the mind, body, and Spirit connection in a new and exciting way. I thoroughly enjoyed the message given and the presenters’ expertise.

“The presenters were well prepared. They gave an overview of the day and preface to each session and how the segments relate and build.

“I came away from the weekend with a feeling of trust in the Spirit of God.

“I appreciate the warm, comforting spirit of the staff.

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