Come explore the grounds at San Damiano, pray and meditate surrounded by textures, colors, scents and tastes of God’s creation! The beauty and productivity of our grounds is made possible with the help of many volunteers. Please consider being a garden volunteer.
New in 2016! San Damiano Gardening Workshops!
Care for creation is a foundational Franciscan value. In this spirit, San Damiano offers the following special workshop series led by our gardener, Kevin Repp.
Permaculture is a philosophy of working with rather than against nature. In this workshop series, we will explore regenerative methods of living and sustainable agriculture. The curriculum is designed to supply attendees with a foundation in permaculture principles: Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share. Classes are primarily a way of sharing skills and applied knowledge in the area of organic gardening. This is an excellent way of starting a local group, building community, and getting people in the area together to start or get involved in a project. Click here for more information on the workshops and to register.
Download Trail Maps
Deer Path and Hillside Trail
A beautiful 3/4 mile walk through the woods
A wide 2/3 mile loop that circles the retreat
San Damiano Canticle Garden & Labyrinth
Be sure to visit the organic garden in the meadow by the lower pond named “The Canticle Garden” in Honor of St. Francis’ poem, “The Canticle of the Creatures.” This prayer, full of joy and praise, was paradoxically written at a time of great physical suffering. We invite you to bring both your joys and sorrows to the garden and to walk its labyrnth.
This little plot of land reflects our commitment to Franciscan values and deepens awareness of the environment through organic and sustainable agriculture practices.
The labyrinth, located within the Canticle Garden, is a walking meditation path of prayer. Walking the labyrinth reduces stress, quiets the mind, and opens the heart. There are also chairs for those who want to linger while enjoying God’s creation.
The Canticle Stations
Located near the southeast end of the retreat house, sits a beautiful pathway leading through the Stations of the Cross.
Common questions asked about the garden:
How did the garden come about?
The concept for the garden was initiated by JPIC (Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation) which is the Franciscan office promoting issues regarding social justice. It was designed by friar and is a work in progress following earth-friendly agricultural practices.
What does a vegetable garden have to do with peace and justice?
Organic gardening enhances our sense of the sacredness of the land. It encourages grassroots participation in natural resource protection. The act of growing our own food is empowering to the poor and humbling to the affluent, enabling the bridging of social and cultural gaps.
What environmentally friendly garden practices do you use?
We make compost from our kitchen waste and garden clippings suitable for composting. The mixture of clippings, peelings, coffee grounds, eggshells, leaves etc., make a nutrient rich soil mixture for future planting.
We recycle cardboard, newspaper and shredded wood chips to create weed barriers for walking paths. We grow flowers and plants that attract songbirds and beneficial insects to discourage pests and encourage environmental diversity.