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:

  • 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
  • I cannot say enough about how wonderful the meals are at HW!!! I would love to see a labyrinth someday!! –7/28/20
  • My personal retreat occurred on Sunday – Tuesday so I got to experience only the lunch on Tuesday. It was delicious, healthy, and beautiful – IT WAS AMAZING!!! 🙂 Thank you for hosting me for my personal retreat. As a mom and a busy professional-as well as a person who is often out and about enjoying life-the time I had to myself at the Holy Wisdom Monastery was so precious. At times, it seemed like I was the only person there and it was wonderful! Thank you so much for being flexible with my GF/DF diet and providing me some time and space to reset. I greatly appreciate it! –7/26/20
  • The Mary Hermitage was completely clean. Robert is a very good chef. And the two meals I had at the monastery – I fed myself on Sunday and Monday nights – were bountiful and delicious. The breakfasts were just right. I loved walking on the many path through the wildflowers, loved the quiet. And I got some writing done, which was my goal. I am planning to return soon. 7/24/20
  • The hermitage was much nicer than I expected. There was a lot of space for me to be able to do different things. Everything was very clean. The food was healthy, delicious and presented with care. This is on me… My intention was to relax, reconnect with the Source of Love and Light. I spent a bit of time in many different spiritual practices. Each with interesting results. Progress was made. I have told several people about how nice everything was. I will definitely be coming back. Thank you. –7/10/20
  • Exceptionally clean. I was so happy to see this and felt comfortable. Wonderful (meals). Chef Robert made great vegetarian meals and so plentiful. I already miss being pampered. Very beautiful surroundings and peaceful. Just what I needed in order to relax during these very trying times. I know that Chef Robert needs days off too, but I sure would have loved more of his food on Sunday and Monday 🙂 –7/8/20
  • I’ve never had a double bed at the retreat center before! Everything was VERY clean and the pandemic precautions and instructions were evident and well-explained throughout the buildings and rooms. I felt safe and protected. Lunches, dinners – all VERY tasty and nicely presented. I loved that so many were vegetarian, even though I have carnivorous tendencies! It felt luxurious to have breakfast delivered to my room. Right on time and the coffee was hot! I usually carried the box/tray outside and sat looking out over the lake while I ate it all. The additional prairie plantings and walking paths are amazing. One night during the full moon I was treated to a spectacular firefly display and met a tiny frog, no bigger than my thumb, sitting on the retreat center entrance lock. I also met two wonderful oblates who were tremendously helpful. My interaction with Sister Joanne and Sister Mary David was brief, but full of warmth, good advice, and prayers. Whenever I’ve been at Holy Wisdom, I have always wanted to return as soon as possible, and invite others to accompany me or to visit on their own. –7/8/20
  • I truly loved the Mary Hermitage. It is surrounded by trees and peaceful. I explored more of the trails this time and appreciate the work that is done to keep the trails passable. This was my favorite stay yet. –6/30/20
  • I am deeply grateful for the time I had at the monastery. This is an ideal place, the facilities are amazing, the staff were absolutely generous, kind and very helpful. I found great peace and reconnected my soul to God’s Spirit among you. Thank you. –6/29/20
  • The room was obviously carefully cleaned, not a speck of dust anywhere! The desk and bed were just what I needed for my personal retreat. The meal was simple and tasty. I was able to have a full day retreat complete with a run/walk on the mowed paths, a warm shower, journaling, reading, and resting. I came home rejuvenated! –6/29/20
  • Easy access, felt safe. Monica’s follow up was exceptional. Thank you! I love the simplicity, peace and quiet! Thank you!!! –6/29/20
  • Love the contactless hospitality!  Thank you for serving me well for the last couple of days. –6/22/20
  • Thank you so much for providing a clean, safe, quiet space for time alone with God.  Your ministry is greatly appreciated!  Peace be with you.
    –6/22/20
  • Thanks for a lovely visit! –6/22/20
  • Thanks to all of you for the role you play in making this possible! –6/22/20

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.