Retreat center near Madison, Wisconsin

“The word retreat never seemed to fit into my life. As someone who isn’t religious, doesn’t do yoga and struggles to disconnect and slow down, the concept of just being somewhere solo never really crossed my mind. It took spending a night at Holy Wisdom Monastery, a Benedictine abbey near Madison, Wis., to realize that I had been missing out.”
–Kate Silver, The Washington Post
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We welcome all people to come for a personal retreat and experience the quiet spaciousness of Holy Wisdom Monastery. Come for a day, an overnight, a weekend or longer. You choose what you do while you are here—walk the nature trails, sleep, browse in the library, meditate, join in community prayers and meals, bring a project you want to work on or find a spot near the glacial lake and write in your journal.

Retreats make thoughtful gifts, too.  Contact us for more information about gift certificates for you or a loved one.

What guests are saying

Read what recent guests have said about their personal retreat at Holy Wisdom Monastery:

  • I return to Holy Wisdom for a personal retreat whenever I need an extra helping of concentration or uplift for a writing project. I live in the Madison area, but I feel like I’m 1000 miles away–or 100 miles above–when I spend time in the supportive landscape and community of Holy Wisdom. I’ve only come for days (so far) but have several times hosted clients there for solo writing retreats. They praise the experience too. The food is amazing, fresh and local. The respect for each others’ path is holy wisdom in itself. And I felt the attention during the pandemic to cleanliness of facilities was top-notch. I have not been able to relax indoors anywhere as I was able to in my “little monastic cell.” –8/24/20
  • Highly recommend, will be back soon! I rented a hermitage at Holy Wisdom Monastery for two days and it was a lovely time away. In a time of great busyness and hustle, Holy Wisdom Monastery provided the escape I was looking for. Here are five reasons I would suggest a personal retreat: 1. Nature meets you at every turn along the beautiful well-kept trails and paths. 2. The food cooked in their commercial grade kitchen was above and beyond expectations: steak burgers, homemade ranch dressing, turkey and mashed potatoes, salad, fruit, brownies, muffins, and delicious morning coffee. 3. Clear communication process for reservation, check in, and during my stay. 4. The monastery is right here in town. A hidden gem right in the midst of Madison. Easily accessible from the surrounding areas. 5. The hermitage was clean, quiet, and set apart. By reserving this time and space, I poured into my passion (writing), I honored my humanity (with rest), and I connected with nature and God (hard not to with all the natural beauty meeting you at every turn). Reserve your retreat. You will not be let down! –8/23/20
  • Thank you for helping me arrange my retreat! It was wonderful to spend my retreat time here. My room was so comfortable and quiet, the grounds were great to walk in the morning, and the meeting room gave me a special place to receive my teachings. I will definitely keep returning to Holy Wisdom to develop and solidify my spiritual practice and will pass on what a great place it is to do retreat or just get away. Thank you once again! May many blessings come your way. –8/11/20
  • Absolutely love this place. So beautiful, I always feel serenity and I’m able to connect with God due to the wonderful nature and lack of distractions. Also, they take care of you well with food and drinks available. I come here every year and I look forward to every visit. –8/11/20
  • I did not expect the food we got, me being a meat eater and having no meat, but a vegetable based meal was beyond excellent! Compliments to the Chef! We will be back for another stay! –8/11/20
  • This was my first retreat at Holy Wisdom Monastery, though I’ve had many retreats throughout my life. Of all of them, Holy Wisdom Monastery is the “stand out” experience. The ecumenical Benedictine sense of welcome and the care for the land and the amazing prairie restoration alone are amazing. The food was fantastic, the staff warm and caring. Mine was a silent retreat and there was plenty of quiet to enjoy, sweetly adorned by lovely birdsong. Looking forward to next time! –8/9/20
  • After seeing photos on your website, the room was pretty much what I expected. I did like the fact there was a flashlight in the room. I like how you use natural products such as your soap. Meals were fabulous and Robert did an amazing job accommodating my special diet. I felt very safe in the buildings due to all of your sanitation – the hand sanitizers and requiring people to wear masks inside. Tammy, was fabulous and very accommodating to all my needs regarding towels and washcloths. I was concerned that 9 days might be too long for me, however, I could have used another day here. I thoroughly enjoyed the centering meditation, for which I joined the Sisters several times. Your employees were wonderful and went above and beyond to get my packages that were delivered. Thank you to Toby, I believe, who put my bone broth in the freezer when I was on a tour, and Charles who was on the lookout for my package. Also, a thank you to Monica who tracked down my Saturday package and the Sister who put it in safe keeping when it was delivered. I promise, on my next stay, there will be no deliveries for me for the staff to contend with. Also, Monica went above and beyond making sure I could still take my needed bone broth during my stay and making the freezer and refrigerator available to me. Thank you Monica! I will definitely return. I talked to a couple in town at dinner one night and told them about the Monastery. They live about 2 blocks from here and said they will probably be spending a night or two here, to de-stress. (They didn’t realize individuals could book a room. They thought it was only for groups.) The only suggestion I have is regarding meals and COVID. I felt comfortable because we each had our own table and Robert did a great job having the salad and fruit on our table before we sat down. However, when he delivered the entree, he would come right up next to us. My suggestion is for him to place the entree at the other end of the table from where we’re sitting just to keep social distancing. That’s the only recommendation I have. Kudos to all of you for running such an effective operation, especially during the COVID outbreak! –7/29/20

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Retreat lodging

personal-retreat2

We offer overnight lodging in the retreat and guest house or in the two hermitages located in a peaceful wooded area. The simple rooms in the retreat & guest house feature bed, bathroom, desk and wardrobe.

For those seeking a more solitary experience, private hermitages can be reserved for 2 nights or up to 3 months, if available. The hermitages include a kitchenette, living room, bedroom, bathroom and an outdoor deck overlooking a wooded landscape.
View retreat & guest house photos | View hermitage photos | View monastery building photos

Retreat & Guest House bedroom rates for personal retreats

Room useArrival/departure times2020 rates
Day useWeekdays only
8:00 am-6:00 pm
$52 single/$60 double
OvernightWeekdays & weekends
2:00 pm or after (day of arrival) /
Noon or before (day of departure)
$75/ weekend night single
$91/weekend night double
$62/ weekday night single
$72/weekday night double
Weekend=Fri, Sat, Sun nights
Additional guests in room $5/each

Hermitage rates

Number of
consecutive nights of stay
Arrival/departure times2020 cost/night
All hermitage stays require a 2 night minimum stay.

Weekdays & weekends
3:00 pm or after (day of arrival) /
11:00 am or before (day of departure)
$103/weekend night single
$113/weekend night double
$89/weekday night single
$99/weekday night double
Additional guests in room $5/each
7+ nightsWeekdays & weekends
3:00 pm or after (day of arrival) /
11:00 am or before (day of departure)
10% discount off above rates after 6 nights

Meals

meals

Lunch and dinner are available for guests (meals not open to the general public), Tuesday-Saturday, in the monastery building. A light continental, self-serve breakfast is available each morning in the retreat and guest house for overnight guests. Shared meals allow you to engage in conversation with members of the community and guests from around the world. We offer buffet-style meals prepared by our chef from fresh, healthy, locally grown ingredients. The buffet line is open for 30 minutes at lunch and for dinner, please be prompt. Meals must be reserved 24 hours in advance.

Meal rates

Meal typeDays availableMeal timeServing locationCost
Continental breakfastWeekdays & weekendsAvailable until
11:00 am
Retreat & guest room 108No charge with overnight room
LunchTuesday-Saturday12:00-12:30 pmMonastery community or guest dining room$14.00/person
$8/child age 12 and under
DinnerTuesday-Saturday5:15-5:45 pmMonastery community or guest dining room$17.00/person
$10/child age 12 and under

Spiritual guidance

Individuals on personal retreats may want to meet with a spiritual guide while at Holy Wisdom Monastery or virtually.  The spiritual guide facilitates your reflection on your life experience in relation to God, yourself, and others. There is a suggested donation of $50 for a one hour spiritual guidance session. Schedule your spiritual guidance session when you schedule your personal retreat.  LEARN MORE


Schedule your personal retreat

Reserve your personal retreat by clicking on the Personal Retreat Availability button below.

Guest services staff hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-4:00 pm CST. Reservations submitted over the weekend won’t be viewed until Monday. If you wish to visit within the next 48 hours, please call us at 608-836-1631, x100.

Personal retreat availability


Gradual reopening
during pandemic

Holy Wisdom Monastery is open again for personal retreats in the retreat and guest house and hermitages. Please contact us to check availability. Read more about how we are keeping guests, volunteers, staff and sisters safe.

Reserve your personal retreat by clicking on the Personal Retreat Availability button below.

Personal Retreat AvailabilityRead about what to do
on a personal retreat
As featured in The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Minneapolis Star Tribune
For travelers, monastery stays offer peace and quiet, regardless of faith
Watch a video blog about the
gift of retreat in a hermitage
Learn more about our facilitiesDownload our
personal retreat brochure

If you’d prefer to talk with someone to schedule your personal retreat, instead of using our Personal Retreat Availablity Inquiry, call 608-836-1631, x158.