The Monastery Guesthouse
Sharing the Benedictine Life
We are obliged by the Rule of Saint Benedict to offer hospitality to our guest as though they are Jesus Christ. Included is the opportunity for our guests to share in the Benedictine way of life. Guests are always welcome to attend any or all of our daily prayer services as well as holy Eucharist (see the daily schedule). They may also participate, if desired, in short times of manual labor (three and a half hours maximum) under the direction of our monks. To aid all of our guests in their quest to seek God, an atmosphere is maintained that provides time for privacy, prayer, reading, and reflection on God’s Word speaking in prayer services and the liturgies. The atmosphere most conducive to this kind of sharing of our life includes silence and some solitude.
Length of Stay
We hope that you will greatly benefit from your time spent at the monastery and for that reason the minimum stay is two days and two nights. It takes time to settle down from life’s hectic pace and to fit into the monastic rhythm. However, guests are certainly invited to stay several days, a week or even longer. (For stays longer than three weeks, please contact the guestmaster.)
Information and Guidelines
Overnight guests are most welcome at the monastery and a guestmaster monk is assigned to be in charge of the Guesthouse. He will be of service to our guests, assuring that they are comfortable, at ease with their surroundings, and able to answer their questions. He is responsible for the resident guests upon their arrival and during their stay. He may be reached in the guestmaster’s office, directly across from the Giftshop, or by an intercom system posted on the outside wall of the office a few steps from the front of the church. Click here for information on Preached Retreats.
All our guests are most welcome to our Monastic home in which our life, our schedule and our customs will not necessarily be what you observe in your own home. To assist you, we have prepared written Orientation Notes of “Welcome,” the three laminated pages of which you will find on the desk in your room that will acquaint you somewhat with what our life entails. That way you can join in – as much as you desire in sharing our life. These Orientation Notes contain details about checking-in; the liturgical schedule of services; important guidelines for any desired participation in our services by singing with us, meals where, when, and their format; and a few other items regarding silence, technology, work opportunities, walking the grounds, and so forth. We look forward to your making a reservation to be with us for a time as our honored guest.
Guests will need to provide their own way to and from the Monastery. There is no public transportation in our area. Traffic on our 13 mile long “drive way” is light; hitchhikers will probably find that they must hike the entire way. The closest major airport is in Albuquerque, New Mexico, about 125 miles from the Monastery. There is a bus service from the airport in Albuquerque to Santa Fe. Cars can be rented at either the Albuquerque or Santa Fe airport.
The monastery is located 75 miles north of Santa Fe and 53 miles south of Chama, via U.S. Route 84. Click here for Google driving directions If you are coming from Santa Fe, drive to Espanola, cross the Rio Grande River and use Route 84 going north. At Abiquiu stay on Route 84, driving about 11 miles to the Ghost Ranch Visitor’s Center entrance and then just 2 miles from there north on Route 84 is a sign pointing left that reads “Monastery.” You turn left at that point, heading west on U.S. Service Road 151. If you are coming from Chama on Route 84, the entrance to Road 151 is just 1 mile south of Echo Amphitheater. Forest service Road 151 is winding, steep and narrow at some points. It is most gravel but there are sections of dirt and clay surfaces that turn quite slippery when wet. Drivers of 2-wheel drive vehicles should allow time for the road to dry after a rain. In the winter the road can be negotiated most safely when frozen, i.e., during the evening or night and in the early morning hours. See “Driving Directions” for a map as well as news of and updates regarding the driving conditions of our road during the winter.
Simple Rooms and Furnishings
For details and photographs of all our rooms, click on the room names on our reservations calendar. We also have some maps showing the room locations. All of our accommodations are quite simple and are limited to adults (or adults with children over the age of 14) arriving as individuals, couples, or very small groups. Each room is furnished with one or two twin beds and are heated during the colder months. Guests may also take advantage of some shared common areas including cooking facilities and reading areas.
The Guesthouse and the Ranch House now have electricity. That is supplied by our solar power system which has a limited capacity because of its size. Therefore, guests are asked not to bring or use hair dryers, hot plates, electric tea pots, coffee makers, blenders, or electric blankets and heating pads. Needed medical equipment that can run all right is, of course, quite permissible. Thank you for not bringing or using any electrical equipment that is not essential. We hope you understand the necessity for this and see it as part of the monastic experience of leaving the world behind for a time of prayer and seeking God’s Will through experiencing the benefits of the silence and solitude here.
What to Bring
Linens, towels, and blankets are provided in the guests’ rooms. However, due to many people having their own preferences for soap and shampoo, we ask our guests to bring their own such items. There is hot and cold running water in the bathrooms and some people like bringing shower sandals with them. It is strongly recommended that you bring a battery operated alarm clock and definitely a flashlight for walking around outside at night or going to the Church. You may also wish to bring a bottle for water to have in your room. You can fill it with filtered water either in the guesthouse common room kitchen or in the guests’ breakfast room adjacent to the refectory in the main building next to the church. The monastery is about 6,500 feet above sea level. The summer months of July and August can be quite wet. Snow is common in winter as is mud in spring. In the winter months, rooms in the guesthouse are heated with gas space heaters and by radiant floor heat in the ranch house. The weather can be very cold during winter and quite hot on summer days with cool mornings (some folks like to bring a small battery operated fan for use in the summer). You will need to bring appropriate clothing. No shorts in the Church, refectory or guesthouse area, please.
We provide meals to all of our overnight guests. The main meal and supper are taken in the refectory (the monastic dining room) accessible via the door leading to the gift shop. However, breakfast is taken after Vigils or after Mass in the room immediately in front of the main refectory. Meals are in silence, except for spiritual reading or music. If you plan to miss a main meal, please inform the guestmaster. When we serve meat, it is nearly always chicken, roasted turkey, or ground turkey. We do not serve red meat, although there have been rare exceptions for special celebrations.
A special, practical, note for those guests who are enamored with their daily coffee, real coffee. We only serve instant coffee here. If, however, you feel that is carrying this “poverty thing” just a bit too far, please consider bringing your own “homemade” coffee. Because of the build-in limitations of our solar power system, we do not allow the use of coffee makers of any kind. Therefore, we would suggest that if you need to do so, please bring your coffee in a big thermos, or similar container, for your supply while here.
Arrivals and Departures
Guests are asked to arrive between the hours of 12:00 noon and 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. We do not accept resident guest arrivals on Sundays. Upon arrival, you may go directly to the room you have reserved in the Guesthouse or Ranch House and make yourself at home. The schedule will be in your room. Departures may be made any day of the week. Our checkout time with the guestmaster is 9:00 a.m. on weekdays and 11:00 a.m. on Sundays. You may checkout at other times if you wish, and the procedure for that will be given to you in writing when you first appear for either the main or evening meal in the refectory after your arrival.
There is no formal check-in process. You will be checking yourself in by simply going to the room you have reserved and making yourself at home. Your name will be on the door. The grounds map on this website shows the location of the Guesthouse and Ranch House. The daily schedule will be in your room. If there is some difficulty, you may go to the main building next to the Church and either call (outside phone) or see the guestmaster.
Guests are encouraged to take part in the daily Eucharist (Mass) and other prayers of the Monastery by singing the psalms, hymns and responses. Books for this are provided in the church. See the Liturgy Schedule. Catholic priests who wish to concelebrate are invited to come to the sacristy immediately before the Eucharist. We follow the guideline of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops with regard to reception of Communion at the Eucharist by non-Catholics. Guidelines are in the guest rooms and in the church.
Overnight guests make take photographs of the surrounding landscape and the grounds of the Monastery; the outside and inside of the buildings you are permitted to enter. Inside the Abbey Church, you may photograph all around the interior if there are no services at the time. Please do not take photographs during any of the services unless you have specific permission. If you wish to take the picture of an individual monk, please first ask his permission.
Sound carries far in the canyon, and all conversation should be quiet. Talk in the Guesthouse courtyard is heard by those who wish to be quiet in their rooms, so the common room is the place to speak. We ask our guests to keep a deeper level of quiet after Compline in the evening until after breakfast in the morning. We ask that guests not engage other guests in conversation so that the guesthouse can be a place having a deep spirit of silence. Those guests who might wish to observe silence during the day can wear the medallion and cord that will be available in the guest rooms. Other guests and the monks are asked to respect the silence of such a guest. We ask our guests to keep the church and the other buildings as places of special silence. The Abbot, because of his involvement with the monastic community, ordinarily does not meet with the guests as a group or in private. If he is home in the monastery, he will be present after the Sunday Eucharist (see the Liturgy Schedule) during the time for refreshments in the gift shop lobby.
If a guest wishes to work during that period each day (except Sunday), he or she may come to the Giftshop lobby after Terce, about 9:00 a.m. (see the Liturgy Schedule). We encourage our guests to share in the work on at least some days of their stay with us because it one of the elements of a balanced monastic day. Work is usually something like watching the gift shop, cleaning, or engaging in some maintenance projects. Work will be adapted to the ability and desires of the guests.
Hiking in the area is generally permitted and the appropriate place is the area south of the church, toward the Guesthouse and beyond. The Federal Wilderness south of the Monastery is also a good place to hike. Long hikes off the property are fine, but we ask the guests to notify the guestmaster of the direction being taken and the expected time of return. Hikes on the mesas above the Monastery must never be taken alone and only when the guestmaster has been informed. The terrain of the mesas is quite hazardous and guests who fail to observe this rule will be asked to leave.
Phones and Internet
There are no telephones generally available to guests at the monastery. If someone needs to reach you in case of an emergency, they can call (575-613-4233) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The nearest regular telephone is at Ghost Ranch, about 15 miles from the monastery. There is no cell phone service available at the monastery due to our remote location in the Chama canyon.
We cannot accommodate pets at the monastery. The only exception being service animals.
Guests are free to walk in those places not considered private by the monks. Private areas are marked with signs. In general the area north of the abbey church are for the monks’ private use. The church is open a few minutes before vigils at 4:00 a.m. until slightly after compline at 7:30 p.m. See below the Liturgy Schedule. The monastic refectory is open to resident guests at meal times. The breakfast room and guest reception area are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The rest of the monastery is not open to guests unless it is for assigned work or with permission of the Prior or Abbot. Guests who wish to speak with one of the monks may arrange this through the guestmaster.
Policy and Questions
We reserve the right to refuse any reservations or to ask guests to leave. If you have any questions, you are welcome to email the guestmaster at email@example.com.