In the pantheon of Catholic saints, Francis of Assisi is known for his hospitality, compassion, gentleness, and concern for the earth. It's fitting that in 1961 a group of his followers established San Damiano Retreat Center to offer people of all faiths and backgrounds a quiet place to rest and reflect. Situated on 55 acres of wooded hills, the mission-style center was named after the church where St. Francis received his call to renew and rejuvenate the faithful, and offers views of the San Ramon Valley and Mount Diablo. The grounds include a chapel for meditation, meeting rooms, and a dining hall, as well as single- and double-occupancy guest rooms. In addition to traditional retreats based on the Catholic liturgical calendar, San Damiano's 2005 offerings also include retreats for gays and lesbians, single parents, cancer survivors, and those dealing with grief or AA recovery. Private retreats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Fees vary, from $15 for a one-day experience to $325 for a five-day visit.
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