Welcome to San Damiano

Welcome to San Damiano, a Franciscan Retreat set in the beautiful hills of the San Ramon Valley deep in Contra Costa country.  This peace-filled setting is the ideal environment to take some time to reflect and relax in our fifty-plus acres of spectacular nature.

Every room in our retreat center has a private bathroom and immediate access to our gardens which reflect our co-residence with this sacred environment. You will have plenty of time to sit and watch the views, the fountains, and the waterfalls, or enjoy our spiritual locations, including a labyrinth and Stations of the Cross.

Our Franciscan community has been welcoming guests here since our opening in the early 1960s and continues to provide retreats and events to stimulate our spiritual lives, so please come and visit.

The Franciscan traditional greeting is “Peace and All Good,” and this is our welcome to you; please join us at our Oasis of Peace … San Damiano Retreat

With Blessings,

Michael J. Cunningham, OFS

We are Franciscans

Since its founding in 1961, San Damiano Retreat has been a ministry of the Franciscan Friars of the Province of St. Barbara.  The Franciscans are a Catholic religious order founded in 1209 by St. Francis of Assisi.  We invite you to experience joy, hospitality, compassion, peace, and simplicity.  Want to learn more about what it means to be a Franciscan ministry?

Our Mission Statement

The mission of San Damiano Retreat is to provide a hospitable place of spiritual renewal for people of all faiths in the tradition of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi. 


If the walls of San Damiano could speak, they would tell stories of love and sacred experiences.  Here are a few such stories.

Origins of Our Name

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. It was while in prayer before a 12th Century crucifix in the dilapidated church named 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.