A note from our Director, Fr. Reginald Martin, OP

Friends of Vallombrosa,

I pray that this message finds you in good health and coping successfully with the broad range of modifications we must all be making to our regular practices during this unprecedented time of sheltering in place due to Covid-19. Our staff is all well, thankfully. Their responsibilities for the Center, though, have become very difficult, as you can surely imagine.

At this time there are many unique demands being placed on our parishes, municipalities, schools, health care system, and our various Catholic institutions.  Vallombrosa Center has proudly served the region for 73 years since the Archdiocese purchased the property in 1947.  With your prayers and support we hope to continue our mission providing a home for many who seek comfort, contemplation, meditation, prayer and healthy discussions, and a fulfilling spiritual life.

Therefore, I am very sad to announce that we must temporarily close the doors at Vallombrosa, from today until January of 2021. This difficult decision has been made due to health concerns and social distancing protocols which have taken a toll on our regular activities. Most notably, we are unable to host groups on site at this time, a primary function of the Center.

During the closure we continue to pray for our many friends, and we hope we may depend upon you to reach out to us in these troubled days, so Vallombrosa may continue be a place for prayer and reflection in the future.  We will only survive if you – who have the greatest appreciation for the benefits Vallombrosa Retreat Center offers – are able to give us your support.

Here are ways you can help:

1.  Take part in our growing 2021 ZOOM series

  • Carl McColman – “Thomas Merton’s Epiphanies: A Spiritual Journal in Three Acts” 24 April $20
  • More to soon be announced!

Visit Vallombrosa.org/calendar to purchase tickets through PayPal, or contact David L. at davidl@vallombrosa.org if you would like to support our Zoom retreats to reach a larger audience.

2. Book your hosted event for after Holy Week 2021 (end of March)

Such events, which offer participants meals, overnight accommodation and meeting spaces are a primary source of Vallombrosa’s support.  For more information, contact Jaynie Fedele at jaynie@vallombrosa.org.

3.  Vallombrosa Covid-19 Emergency FundsSpecify how you wish us to use your gift

  • PGE- LED Environmental Green Initiative – $70,000 will allow us to pay off the cash-saving loan that enabled us to invest in low-cost lighting.
  • Grounds and Trees Initiative – $100,000 will support improvements to the Center’s irrigation system, and reduce costs for manual operation.  Gifts will provide funds for grounds maintenance, and regular lawn care. Winter care for the 2020-2021 season has been economically taxing.
  • Lourdes Shrine– $25,000 will meet a matching grant dedicated to completing construction and landscaping of Gaffey Plaza.

4.  Volunteering at Vallombrosa

Volunteers can undertake a number of essential tasks to help us at this time. Care of our 11-acre yard is an ongoing effort that will immensely benefit the Center.  For more information, contact David Fencl at David@vallombrosa.org


During the closure we continue our weekly twilight rosary in the Garden of Corporal Works at 8 pm on Fridays (masks and social distancing required). The garden dedicated to Mother Teresa is illuminated and inspiring, reminding us that Christ is, indeed, our Light, even in these very troubling days. I invite you to join us to pray for your own needs and for the cause of the retreat center. Truly, we are ‘all in this together,’ and with your help and prayers, Vallombrosa can survive.  St. John Paul II introduced himself with the quotation “Be not afraid,” and with that encouragement we go forth in faith, hope and charity for all.

With gratitude for your dedication to Vallombrosa Retreat Center, and my prayers,

Fr. Reginald Martin O.P.
Director, Vallombrosa Center