About Abbey Retreats


About The Abbey

We are a community of some 32 contemplative monks living according to the Rule of St. Benedict and the Constitutions of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, more commonly known as Trappists. As such we strive to seek God and follow Christ under a rule and an abbot in a stable community that is a school of brotherly love.


Lovely grounds and wooded areas provide plenty of space for walks and quiet time alone.  Located in the picturesque and historic Genesee River Valley, we live close to the rhythms of nature. Within our monastic enclosure are some 2.400 acres of forest, ravines, rolling hills and a meandering creek. Wild life indigenous to Western New York abounds, especially deer.  The Genesee Valley Greenway, a trail from the Southern Tier to Rochester, runs through the property and offers a beautiful place to walk along the river, through woods and beside the farm fields.


You can guess what ambiance to expect at a retreat offered by a community of contemplative monks surrounded by 2,400 acres of rural solitude. We offer our guests the opportunity to reflect in silence without the noise and disturbance of the outside world to interfere with their thoughts. A rather serious silence is maintained at Bethlehem House throughout the retreat in order to provide all of our guests with the tranquility they seek during their stay.  Groups using Bethany and Nazareth determine whether their retreat will be silent or not.

Conferences and Services

Retreatants at all of our guest houses are invited to participate in the retreat conferences and the liturgy of the abbey, though attendance is optional. (A conference is a talk given by one of the monks.)  Conferences are given at 6:00 pm in Merton Hall at the abbey on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.   A monk provides individual spiritual direction at the abbey from 1:30 to 3:30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons. Guests sign up in the reception area.

Everyone is welcome to the celebration of the Eucharist, though in keeping with the teaching and practice of the Catholic Church, only Catholics may receive communion. (see The Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1398-1401.)  Schedules for prayer services are provided at each house.


There is a minimum stay of two nights at Bethlehem House.  We do not take reservations for one night only.  We do not take reservations for arrival on Sunday.  Reservations should be made well in advance for weekends, as they book up quickly.  Begin booking your retreat by contacting us for availability.

Gift certificates are available.  Please call the retreat house at 585-243-2220 to make arrangements.


Offerings for retreats are on a donation basis. As of January 1, 2014 the suggested offering is $65. per person per night. Reservations for each retreat house require a $65. non-refundable but transferable deposit per person.   Guests may make their deposit payment by credit card or by sending a check in the mail.  For your protection, please call the retreat house at 585-243-2220 to make a credit card payment.

All are welcome regardless of their ability to give the suggested offering.  Retreat offerings are put in the envelopes provided at each house and taken to the cashier in the store at the abbey.  Guests may make their donation by check, money order, credit card, or cash.


Genesee Abbey is located 5 miles west of Geneseo, 35 miles south of Rochester, and 55 miles east of Buffalo. See our directions & travel page to learn how to get to us.


For reservations or more information:

Phone: 585-243-2220 (Mike Sauter, Retreat House Manager)

Mike Sauter, Retreat House Manager retreathousemanager@gmail.com

Mailing Address:
Abbey of the Genesee   3258 River Road
Piffard, NY 14533-9704