The community welcomes guests who want to visit us for a time in order to share in our life of worship and recollection. We ask only that each guest be willing and able to help preserve the monastic environment. The normal length of a visit is from two days to one week. A longer visit must be specially arranged with the guestmaster and community.
Both St. Anthony’s and St. Denys’ guesthouses are located across the lawn from the monastery building. Generally, groups of five or more people stay in St. Denys’ and prepare their own meals. So do smaller groups and individuals whose visit to the Abbey will involve extensive conversation, or who can’t share the community’s meals. Individual retreatants, or small, quiet groups of up to four stay at St. Anthony’s and share the monks’ own meals in the refectory. There is also a guest cottage, St. Benedict’s, which is a little less than half a mile away from the main buildings. This house can be used for families or groups or individuals on solitary retreats.
The community’s diet is to eat what is set before us. Supper is our light meal of the day; our main meal is at noon. Occasionally a guest’s medical condition will require a special diet. The kitchen can usually provide meals for these guests, if we know in advance what the dietary requirements are. In other cases, individuals who aren’t sharing the normal meals of the community as served will stay in St. Denys’ or St. Benedict’s and prepare their own meals. The kitchens in both St. Denys’ and St. Benedict’s are fully equipped with appliances and utensils.
Guests are welcome at all services in the Abbey Church and are expected at the Eucharist and Vespers each day. The library provides material for reading on religious subjects and other areas of interest. The Abbey’s grounds offer room for walks when the weather permits. Sacramental Confession is available, and we try to arrange an individual conference if a guest requests it.
Reservations should be made as far in advance as is practical. Since many people are free to come only on weekends, it is helpful for those free on weekdays to try and come then. If there is a change of plans so that one cannot come for a time which has been reserved, it is important to notify the guestmaster as soon as possible so that we can offer that space to some other guest who may wish to come.
Incoming guests are asked not to arrive at the monastery after 8 p.m., when the Greater Silence begins. (We are located in the Eastern Time Zone.) If a late arrival is unavoidable, special notice should be given the guestmaster, so that instructions for arrival can be given. Those coming by automobile should let us know their time of arrival, especially guests who will be eating in the refectory, since the cook plans the number of servings for each meal. Parking is available behind the two guesthouses.
Except on Sundays and major holy days, we can conveniently meet guests who arrive by bus, rail, or air in Kalamazoo, provided we are given the arrival time in advance.
Guests will find that casual clothes are the most practical and comfortable at the Abbey. Rooms in the guesthouses are furnished with towels and linens, although different arrangements often need to be made for large groups.
There is no set fee or suggested donation for a guest stay. Any amount guests want to give the Abbey will be gratefully accepted; anything above $40.00 per day per person is tax deductible under federal law.
Weekend retreats for groups can be scheduled except during the month of July. We ask that one member of the group be the retreat negotiator with the guestmaster and take responsibility for organizing the group that will be coming. The maximum number for a retreat is 10 people who can be placed in five rooms.
Our capability of furnishing retreat leaders varies with the community’s resources at the time, but we will arrange for the group to have one meeting with a monk if the group wishes it.
Address mail to: Guest Department
St. Gregory’s Abbey
56500 Abbey Road
Three Rivers, MI49093-9595
Address e-mail to:firstname.lastname@example.org
The guestmaster can usually be reached by phone at 269-244-5893, 9:30-11:15 a.m. and 2:30-4:15 p.m. Eastern Time.
Guest reservations are not available by FAX.