Going on a retreat can sometimes be an expensive and over-scheduled adventure. If you’re looking to find solace and solitude on a budget this spring, try an unexpected destination: a monastery. At these four Colorado retreat centers, you’ll find the space, simple meals, and peace and quiet you need to reflect and renew. Religious affiliation is not required, but reservations are. If you can’t pay the established fee, most facilities will work with your financial needs.
Abbey of St. Walburga
Coined the “Nuns on the Ranch” by NPR, this community of Benedictine contemplative nuns live, pray, and farm on their land 35 miles north of Fort Collins. (Llamas act as security for their grass-fed cattle, water buffalo, chickens, and bees.) Join in during any of their seven daily prayer services or hike rugged terrain—keep an eye out for wildlife—as you reflect on your life.
Cost: $65 per night, includes three meals a day. Day use with lunch is also available for $20. Single rooms only, with private bathrooms.
Keep in Mind: Dress comfy. Jeans, tees, and hiking shoes are appropriate. It’s not unusual to see the nuns in Carhartt gear. (But please no shorts, skirts above the knees, or tank tops.)
Visit: 1029 Benedictine Way, Virginia Dale, 970-472-0612, walburga.org
Benet Hill Monastery
Twenty-some sisters of this Benedictine ministry live on Benet Hill’s 44-acre Black Forest property. With 10 designated meditation spots, including a built-into-the-forest labyrinth, a Zen garden, and a Ute prayer tree, guests have plenty of opportunities for contemplation.
Cost: $100 per night, includes three meals a day; $70 without meals; $25 day pass for a private room, no meals. Single occupancy only, with private bathrooms.
Keep in Mind: The library here is stocked from floor to ceiling. Plan to spend some time perusing the titles and snuggled up reading.
Visit: 3190 Benet Lane, Colorado Springs, 719-633-0655, benethillmonastery.org
Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House
The Jesuit Sacred Heart institution follows Ignatian tradition, meaning all retreats are silent on their 280-acre property. A Eucharist celebration occurs once a day if you’re so inclined to participate (it’s not silent), but otherwise plan to focus inward—think, meditate, pray, walk, read, and relax.
Cost: $100 per night, includes three meals a day. Snacks and beverages always available. Linens provided. Shared bathroom and shower facilities. Prayer days are also available for a $50 contribution.
Keep in Mind: The grounds are simple and lovely; seek out and spend some time at the lily pond.
Visit: 4801 N. Highway 67, Sedalia, 303-688-4198, sacredheartretreat.org
St. Benedict’s Retreat House
The Cistercian (Trappist) monastic order that runs St. Benedict’s Retreat House consists of about 15 monks. Their community might be small, but their property, with its working ranch and views of Mt. Sopris, is majestic—especially the soaring ceiling of the prayer hall. Attend the 4:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., or 7 p.m. open-to-the-public services, or keep to yourself (in silence or not). The choice is yours.
Cost: Single occupancy: $60 per night. Guests are responsible for bringing and preparing their own food. Each space has a fully equipped kitchen and private bath. Linens, towels, soap, coffee, and basic spices are provided.
Keep in Mind: Cookies. (Yes, really.) The monks run a bakery, and we hear their products are quite delicious.
Visit: 1012 Monastery Rd., Snowmass, 970-927-1162, stbenedictsretreat.com
Editor’s note, 6/11/19: This article has been updated with new information.