Along a great arc of dirt road deep within the hills above Old Snowmass, St. Benedict’s Monastery has been sitting tucked in its sacred valley for 60 years. Approaching by foot, car or bicycle is an arresting experience unto itself—particularly in winter—when snow blankets the surrounding Elk Mountain foothills, and the only colors visible are the red and blue wings of birds darting across the lane. “There’s a peacefulness; you can sense it when you come on the property,” says John Flynn, the monastery’s guestmaster. “There are decades of prayer coming out of this valley, and that changes a place. You get that feeling just driving across the road.”
Currently home to 12 Trappist monks, the monastery earns income in part through a retreat program designed to invite guests to deepen their own spirituality (wherever they may be on the journey) through prayer, nature, solitude, study or liturgy with the monastic community. Reservations open 11 months in advance for four retreat house rooms and eight private stone hermitages located a short distance from the main compound. Their immense popularity means that early booking is a must. All are outfitted with two twin beds, private bathrooms and small kitchens.
Whether you’re already spiritually inclined or still seeking, the humble St. Benedict’s welcomes all and asks no questions. The monks’ only request is that visitors arrive with the intention to respect the peacefulness of the valley and the quiet of other guests on retreat. Meditate, read, bird-watch, walk, sketch, study the stars, or simply sit and enjoy what is perhaps the greatest luxury of all in our modern times: silence.
“There’s no pressure, and I think people are pleasantly surprised by what they find here,” Flynn observes. “There is a sense of true separation, of leaving the world behind for a while.” Rooms from $60, 1012 Monastery Road, Snowmass, stbenedictsretreat.com
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