Time for Renewal


As a complete retreat center, Conception’s Abbey Guest Center offers spiritual renewal and Benedictine hospitality. Throughout the year, the Abbey Guest Center sponsors a variety of monk-guided spiritual and religious-themed retreats, workshops, and days of recollection.

Many retreatants return frequently for guided retreats to stay grounded in their faith throughout the year. These retreatants offer some insight into why they choose Conception Abbey as their spiritual home.


Spiritual Awakening

I have found Conception Abbey to be like a second home to me. I have a sense of belonging here. Maybe even a purpose. I find going on retreats from time to time to be a spiritual awakening and recharge from the Holy Spirit that I needed.

The monks of Conception Abbey give meaning to prayer and closeness to God for me. Raising their voices like incense before the Lord aids to the lifting of my prayers, as I can join in with theirs. That’s community.

The whole purpose of my getting away on retreat most of the time at Conception Abbey is a sense of renewal. Knowing that as I leave, God has given me this special opportunity to be with Him and renew my faith. Silently, I come before Him, and publicly I go back into the world, renewed.

Guided retreats are the best! Everything is taken care of for you to the smallest detail. Schedules are provided to guide your day with enriching speakers and meaningful reflection time. Free time to walk the grounds, to share with others, visiting the bookstore, or going to confession are parts of a guided retreat that I have come to expect and know will be part of my day, and that keeps me coming back!

– Lorie S.

In relationship with Our Lord

The spiritual retreats offered at Conception every year have helped me to grow in my relationship with Our Lord. The content of the retreats speak to my soul and push me to go deeper. The monks also provide the opportunity for further encounters with Christ with Mass, Adoration, spiritual direction, and confession offered during the retreats.

From a distance, just the very presence of the monks helps to draw all my thoughts to our Lord. As I begin to pray with the monks, interiorly I begin to recollect my thoughts and subdue the outside world. Our Lord draws me in through their prayers. I always look forward to being able to kneel in front of the tabernacle at any time, the silence, and the beauty of the Abbey. 

For me personally, the retreats are like charging my soul battery. I can go back to my daily routine with a full charge. Reflection upon my experience at the retreats throughout the year continues to renew that charge.

Christ is calling all of us to a deeper personal relationship with Him. The monks’ retreats provide an opportunity to deepen that relationship with Christ.

– Tina D.

What is the balance of guided conferences and prayer time?
The presenters always allow plenty of reflection and prayer time, as well as time to pray with the monks during Liturgy of the Hours and Mass.
– Rhonda H.
How are Conception’s virtual retreat offerings helpful to you?
Since COVID-19 or when bad weather has occurred, I’ve attended the virtual retreats offered by the monks. They always help me to grow in my faith. Even though I’m getting close to 80, I still have a lot to learn about my faith.
– Mary R.
How does Conception’s environment enhance your experience?
The beauty of the Basilica with art and architecture brings me to the older churches of the past while still current with the times. Walking the grounds, sitting at the lake quietly, or taking apples from the orchard are reminders of the earth we are to love.
– Sherry R.
What are three items you bring with you on retreats at Conception?
I usually bring my bible and a notepad anytime I come to the Abbey for a retreat. Packing a good pair of walking shoes is a must too!
– Lorie S.