The following detailed information for registered participants of CSS meditation retreats includes

Retreat Center Location and Directions

The retreat will be held at St. Benedict Lodge, which is located on the banks of the McKenzie River about one hour east of Eugene. From Eugene, drive east on Highway 126 about 50 miles and turn left on North Bank Road, at the intersection where the McKenzie Bridge General Store is located. The Lodge is on the right, about half mile down the road. For a map, click here. For driving directions from Eugene, click here.

Transportation to the Retreat

Carpooling

It is customary for many retreat participants to carpool to the retreat center. If you have room for others in your car, or need a ride, please contact the retreat coordinator for details.

LTD Bus Service

Lane Transit District (LTD) provides bus service from downtown Eugene and Springfield stations to McKenzie Bridge, which is about 1/2 mile from the retreat center. For more information see Route 91 details.

Retreat Guidelines, Schedule, and Menu

When you arrive: look around, sign in, and sign up

When you arrive, park in the parking lot to the right of the entrance. Please do not park in front or behind the chapel. Go first to the middle A-frame building. There, in the lobby, you will find a sign-in sheet. Please sign in after reading the information on the sheet. On the bulletin board you’ll see a map of the Lodge grounds, a retreat schedule and two sign-up sheets. The first sheet shows a list of daily chores—please sign up for one available daily chore. The second sheet contains a list of chores to be completed on the last day of the retreat—please sign up for one available last-day chore. You will also find a room assignment map. 

Facilities

There are a dozen or so private showers located in the three A-frame buildings. There is time for showers after breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and before bedtime. Most sleeping quarters do not have private bathrooms. Shared bathrooms can be found down the hall from your room. Rooms are equipped with electric heat. A fully stocked snack table and tea are available 24 hours a day in the dining hall.

What to bring

While guest rooms have a pillow and mattress, retreatants should bring their own sheets, pillow cases, and blankets, or sleeping bag. Alternatively, linens may be rented from St. Benedict's for $10 for the duration of the retreat.

Weather at the Lodge tends to be sunnier than in the Valley, but it will still be cool at night. Be sure to bring warm clothing and rain gear if rain is likely. Bring shoes suitable for hiking as the trails may be muddy.

Bring personal toiletry items (towel, shampoo, soap, toothbrush and paste), meditation cushion or bench if you desire to sit on the floor, blankets to keep warm in the meditation hall, an alarm clock, watch, and slippers. Flashlights are provided.

The walls in the sleeping areas are thin and the noises (e.g., snoring of neighbors) during the night can bother some people. The river rapids nearby are also quite loud. If you are a light sleeper, you may want to bring ear plugs.

Cultivating Solitude and the Vow of Silence

Retreat provides us with a precious opportunity to be alone with ourselves in order to go deep within and discover our true or divine nature. To help us do this we take a vow of silence for the duration of the retreat. Once you have taken this vow, please keep your interactions with others to an absolute minimum—speak only when it is necessary to discuss a chore, or during teaching session to ask questions or report experiences. Try to avoid all other forms of communication, including making eye contact. If you have come on retreat with a spouse, significant other, or best friend, please say goodbye before taking your vows of silence and avoid sitting next to each other or otherwise "hanging out" together, even silently, during the retreat. Remember, taking a vow of silence is not just something we do for ourselves: it is a spiritual gift we give to each other, so please be generous! 

No Distractions

If you have brought a spiritual journal or diary in which to record dreams, insights, experiences, please feel free to write in it in the privacy of your room. For some people this can be very useful. However, if you have brought any kind of literature, radios, cellphones, laptops, etc., please leave them packed away in your bags so that they do not distract you from this precious opportunity to experience deep silence.

Schedule

The retreat schedule is posted in several locations around the retreat center, including on the bulletin board in the registration area and in the dining hall. At 5:30 pm on the first day, we all meet in the meeting hall for the opening ceremony. Dinner is served at 6pm. We convene again in the meeting hall at 7:30 pm and take a vow of silence. From then until the morning wrap-up on the last day, we are in silence. Meals are served at 7:00 am, Noon and 6:00 pm.
 

Typical CSS Retreat Schedule

Arrival Day
4:00 pm — Registration and Chore signup
5:30 pm — Meet at Meditation Hall
6:00 pm — Dinner
7:30 pm — Orientation
7:45 pm — Vow of Silence and Teaching

Intermediate Days
6:00 am — Wake-Up
6:30 am — Meditation
7:00 am — Breakfast
8:15 am — Chi Gong in Bldg B or Yoga in the Library (optional)
9:30 am — Recitation of the precepts, teaching and meditation
12:00 pm — Lunch
2:30 pm — Teaching and meditation
5:30 pm — Break
6:00 pm — Dinner
7:30 pm — Teaching and meditation

Solo Day
6:00 am — Wake-Up
6:30 am — Meditation
7:00 am — Breakfast
8:15 am — Chi Gong in Bldg B or Yoga in the Library (optional)
9:30 am — Recitation of the precepts, solo practice
12:00 pm — Lunch
12:45 pm — Solo practice
6:00 pm — Dinner
6:45 pm — Solo practice

Departure Day
6:00 am — Wake-Up
6:30 am — Meditation
7:00 am — Breakfast
7:30 am — Pack personal items for departure
9:00 am — Recitation of the precepts and final sharing
12:20 am — Release from Silence
12:30 pm — Lunch and final tasks

Typical Menu

breakfast 
hot and cold cereals….milk….nut milks….. yogurt both dairy and coconut …..hard boiled eggs…bread both gluten free and regular…..coffee and tea…all items will be as local seasonal and organic as possible….snack bar will always be available.

dinner
 gingered butternut squash soup with spicy pecan cream
 garden salad with mixed veggies 
 choice of dressings
 bread/gluten free choice
 cheese, butter, almond butter

 lunch
 pumpkin chili
 quinoa broccoli salad
 corn bread with kale and red peppers
 garden salad
 cheese, butter. almond butter

 dinner
 beet borscht with chive creme fraiche
 garden salad
 choice of dressings
 bread/gluten free choice
 cheese, butter, almond butter

 lunch
 polenta winter squash pie (with cheese for dairy folks)
 garlicky brocoli and red bells
 garden salad
 choice of dressings
 bread/gluten free choice
 cheese, butter, almond butter

 dinner
 spiced roasted winter squash with cilantro creme
 baked beans
 sautéed fall greens with broccoli and cauliflower
 garden salad
 choice of dressings
 bread/gluten free choice
 cheese, butter, almond butter

 lunch
 grilled chicken topped with leeks
 roasted cauliflower and brussles sprouts with red bells and lemon parsley dressing
 quinoa and herbs
 garden salad
 choice of dressings
 bread/gluten free choice
 cheese, butter, almond butter

 dinner
 curried pumpkin and coconut soup
 garden salad
 choice of dressings
 bread/gluten free choice
 cheese, butter, almond butter

 lunch
 pumpkin enchilada casserole avo on the top with cilantro and green onions and cheese
 cumin cilantro quinoa with black beans and corn
 steamed broccoli
 shredded mexican cabbage slaw

 dinner
 creme of cauliflower soup or roasted cauliflower soup
 fall kale supper salad
 garden salad
 choice of dressings
 bread/gluten free choice
 cheese, butter, almond butter

 lunch
 baked yams with chermoula sauce.
 roasted cauliflower and chickpeas
 quinoa
 warm kale and cranberry salad with almonds
 bread/gluten free choice
 cheese, butter, almond butter

 dinner
 savory fall stew
 garden salad
 choice of dressings
 bread/gluten free choice
 cheese, butter, almond butter

 lunch
 rosemary lemon garlic chicken
 roasted potatoes
 massaged greens with feta and red bells
 bread/gluten free choice
 cheese, butter, almond butter

 dinner
 split pea soup
 garden salad
 choice of dressings
 bread/gluten free choice
 cheese, butter, almond butter
 
 lunch
 twice baked potatoes .regular baked for dairy free
 back beans corn red bells
 broccoli and cauliflower
 garden salad
 choice of dressings
 bread/gluten free choice
 cheese, butter, almond butter

 dinner
 pureed white bean soup with pureed kale
 garden salad
 choice of dressings
 bread/gluten free choice
 cheese, butter, almond butter

 lunch
 moroccan chicken with olives and lemons
 saffron quinoa with broccoli
 baked yams with cumin and butter
 garden salad
 choice of dressings
 bread/gluten free choice
 cheese, butter, almond butter

 dinner
 creme of cauliflower roasted cauliflower soup with pesto
 garden salad
 choice of dressings
 bread/gluten free choice
 cheese, butter, almond butter

 lunch
 make your own burrito all the toppings or make your own sandwich ??
 quinoa with cilantro chives and cumin
 garden salad

Retreat Center Rules and Information

The following information is provided by the retreat center:

We hope you enjoy your visit here. If anything in the room needs attention, please write it down and give to the staff. We keep expenses down by having a very limited staff and hope guests help us in keeping the lodge in good condition.

During your stay
  • Before occupying your room, place card with your name (first name sufficient) on a door clip. In an emergency we need to know which rooms are occupied or empty. Your name on the door also keeps people from accidentally walking in.
  • Each room should have a pillow, mattress, flashlight, working blinds, and lights. Also each roorn has a fire alarm.
  • Fire and insurance regulations prohibit smoking in any of our buildings, also no candles, incense, etc. allowed in any of the rooms. The alarms are very sensitive and if one goes off, they all go off, making it very complicated to reset. If the alarrns go off exit your room and gather on the lawn for instructions.
  • While the special guest cabins of Salmon, River and Cascade come with linens, if guests have forgotten blankets, towels, soap, etc. just ask staff, we have some supplies.
  • We discourage guests from bringing food into the rooms. While water, coffee, soda, etc. are fine, crackers draw the many field mice from the woods into the buildings. If you do have any food, securely seal it in some kind of container.
  • The lodge floors can be very slippery, especially when wet. Several have broken ankles, kneecaps, etc. over the years on the floors, paths, and steps. Look where you are going especially at night and don't leave standing water on the floor.
  • We ask lodge guests to park in the large lot downriver (west) from the chapel or on the gravel/lawn area by the new library. The spaces surrounding the chapel itself are reserved on Sat. night/Sunday morning for the church congregation.
When Leaving
  • Pick up trash and empty wastebasket into the large bathroom container.
  • Turn off heat! Wipe down desk and close window.
  • Close blinds, so that they are drawn across the window with slats open.
Other items of note
  • We do not lock the lodge or the chapel at night, you are welcome to come and go as desired.
  • The chain lock gives privacy when in the room, but you are unable to lock your room when out of your room (the guest cabins do have ability to lock). While we have experienced very little theft over the years, it does happen, therefore you should not leave valuables, such as wallets, cameras, cash in your room.
  • Each room is controlled by thermostat on wall. The rooms heat up very quickly, therefore turn down the heat when you leave for a couple hours.
  • Also turn down the thermostats in the fireplace lodge room and game when people retire for the night. If either the loft or hallway doors above the fireplace are left open, all the heat will go upstairs and it will remain quite cold in the lodge therefore keep these doors closed.
  • Washing machines and dryers are available on the far end of the shower wing. We ask a donation for such use (donation can by machines); laundry soap available.
  • The sewers and septic tanks up here in the mountains are very sensitive: never place paper towels, etc in the toilets, it will block the sewer and it becomes very expensive to bring a plumber all the way from town.
  • The black cat "Clark" has adopted St Benedict's but it shouldn't be let inside the rooms -- be careful it has sharp claws! The white cat "Lewis" lives inside at the Dominican house; if coming into the office, ring the doorbell and then when the door opens, be careful the cat stays inside -- we have lost several cats to coyotes.
  • St. Benedict's is at 1,400 ft elevation, while we get some 80 inches of rain each year (twice what Eugene gets) we get more sun than either Eugene or Portland. It is very rare for snow to be on the road between McKenzie Bridge and Eugene but the road is often icy -- many cars, usually in the morning -- slide off the highway. When chains are required it is only on the road to Sisters and then usually only in the morning beginning at the Santiam junction where the Salem highway meets #126. The highway going back to Salem is exactly the same miles from McKenzie Bridge (2 hours whether one travels via Eugene or travels via Detroit Lake and Mill City - although in winter the later gets quite a bit of snow.

Retreat Center Map

MAP

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