If you’re looking for a few days of quiet, spiritual contemplation, there are several monasteries and retreat centers in Southern Arizona to choose from.
7101 W. Picture Rocks Rd., Tucson
The Redemptorist Renewal Center, about 12 miles west of downtown Tucson  near Saguaro National Park West , offers personal retreats on their 120-acre campus in the foothills of the Tucson Mountains. For 40 years the Redemptorists, followers of St. Alphonsus Liguori, an 18th-century spiritualist who founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, have offered personal retreats at this beautiful center.
The center offers miles of hiking trails, a tranquil desert setting, and even petroglyphs left behind by the Hohokam Indians. According to the friendly, welcoming Redemptorists, “it is a place where a person may listen to the voice of God.” Private retreats are offered here throughout the year.
There are two seasons: In the low season, June–September and throughout December, a standard retreat home will cost you $80 per night for a single and $125 for a double; during the high season, January–May and October–November, prices go up just a bit, to $95 for a single and $125 for a double. They also offer many themed retreats and group activities. During both seasons there’s a two-night minimum.
P.O. Box 298, St. David
About 50 miles southeast of Tucson , in the lush San Pedro River Valley, the Benedictines at the Holy Trinity Monastery in St. David, a very green and shady historically Mormon village, welcomes retreatants and even RVers. The monastery’s 132 acres have sheep, chickens, cows, pecan trees, a 1.3-mile bird sanctuary trail along the San Pedro, and lots of peace and quiet.
For $50–80 a night, a married couple can rent one of 11 rooms on the property; or singles can stay in the Hermitage, where there’s a suggested donation of $70 for one day, $300 for a week, or $1,250 for a month — if you’ve really got some issues to work through or a lifetime’s worth of stress to slough off. The rooms here are small and private with very few frills and no television or radio. Meals are also available: The main meal of the day is $9 per person, or you can get three a day for $20. Sunday meals cost $12 and feast-day meals cost $15.
Prepare for a quiet, prayerful, contemplative time: “In keeping with the tradition of monastic hospitality, guest house facilities are offered for monastic retreats,” the Benedictines say. “All retreatants, coming either singly or in a group, are expected to participate in the monastic exercises of silence, solitude, simple living, community, and personal prayer.”
Holy Trinity may be one of the few monasteries in the world with an RV park on-site, called the Monte Cassino RV Park — its regulars are referred to as the “Holy Hoboes.” There are 16 sites with full hookups and 10 with water and electric offered for $20 per night, $120 for a week, and $350 for a month. If you’re interested in joining the ranks of the Holy Hoboes, you might want to plan far ahead, as many people return year after year.
HC 1, Box 929, Sonoita
Finally, there’s the Benedictine Santa Rita Abbey near Sonoita, nestled in the foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains. It’s about 48 miles from Tucson . You have to make a request to spend a retreat here, by either calling them or writing an email or a letter. The retreat house has a small kitchen and dining room where guests make and eat their own meals.