Retreats at Pluscarden Abbey
A spiritual retreat is an opportunity to participate in the monastic life of prayer, reading and work.
The normal monastic day provides an excellent framework, with the 8 services of the Office and the daily Mass open to all. Surrounded by forest, hills, moors and fields, the monastery enjoys a natural environment for prayer. There are also books to read, recorded talks to hear and spiritual counsel available by arrangement with the guest master. We do not usually provide directed retreats at Pluscarden, but a more formal programme of retreat talks for groups may sometimes be organised in advance, or groups may bring their own leaders.
Hospitality is a keynote of both Old and New Testaments, from Abraham entertaining the three strangers to Martha, Mary and Lazarus entertaining Christ, who said "I was a stranger, and you welcomed me". Monks have always heeded this word and made hospitality a special concern. St. Benedict devotes Chapter 53 of his Rule to the care of guests. At Pluscarden we try to put this into effect as Benedictine disciples of Christ.
Women retreatants are accommodated in St. Scholastica's Retreat, a self-contained building with 10 guest rooms, each with a wash basin, wardrobe, table and bed. Separate toilet areas provide showers and W.C.s. Meals are on a self-catering basis, with basic foodstuffs such as tea, coffee, muesli, porridge, margarine, bread, milk and eggs provided, and a kitchen with the usual facilities for preparing meals. The nearest shops and supermarkets are 6 miles distant in Elgin. However, any special items required should be brought along for the visit. Intending retreatants should address their enquiries or bookings to "The Warden" at the address below, or click the Women's Enquiry Form link at the top or bottom of this page.
Men are accommodated in St Benedict’s guest house next to the Abbey with 12 guest rooms, each with a wash basin, wardrobe, table and bed. Separate toilet areas provide showers and W.C.s. There is one room with en suite facilities on the ground floor especially adapted to the needs of those with disabilities. There is a common room on the second floor suitable for quiet reading or talks.
Male guests share lunch and supper with the monks in the Refectory, but have breakfast and tea in St. Benedict's, where there is a small kitchen for preparing snacks and light meals.
Bedding and a towel are provided in both guest houses.
In order to participate fully in the balanced round of the monastic life of prayer, reading and work, guests may share in the manual work of the Abbey. All guests are expected to take some share of routine chores.
A retreat at Pluscarden includes elements both of silence and community life. Silence is generally observed in the Church, Refectory and other monastic areas. An effort should also be made to keep silence in the individual rooms, so as not to disturb the other guests. Audio equipment should only be used with earphones. Above all, the exercise of patience and charity will help to make everybody's stay a pleasant and rewarding experience.
See daily timetable.
As is our custom, no charge is made to retreatants; but if it is wished to make a donation, this will be gratefully received.
Unaccompanied young people under the age of 18 are not normally received.
Supervised groups accompanied by responsible adults - e.g. Parish Youth Groups and Retreats, Catechetical Camps or groups including families - are welcome. It will be necessary for groups to conform to the Church's current child protection and welfare norms: documentation should be forwarded to the guest master before the group arrives.
Mobile phone signal is poor, both St. Scholastica's and St. Benedict's are equipped with pay phones.