St. Placid Priory and The Priory Spirituality Center

About us

St. Placid Priory is a women’s Benedictine monastic community. We come from diverse backgrounds and have pursued many different careers. We are down-to-earth. We follow the Rule of St. Benedict, pray together and extend our Benedictine presence to the local community in the Olympia, Washington area.

We are healthy risk-takers, willing to follow the call of the Holy Spirit–even when the invitation seems unsure. We are a community with some structure and much freedom. We strive to allow the Rule of Benedict and the prophetic call to influence our lives. We are optimistic about our future and are taking concrete steps to prepare for our monastic future in the next century. We seek to cultivate a gentle spirit, bringing a non-violent stance to our conversation, interactions and ministry.

Most people have never heard of St. Placid. He is one of the Church’s early, although little known saints. We read in the Dialogues of Gregory the Great:

Once while blessed Benedict was in his room, one of his monks, the boy Placid, went down to get some water. In letting the bucket fill too rapidly, he lost his balance and was pulled into the lake, where the current quickly seized him and carried him about a stone’s throw from the shore.

Though inside the monastery at the time, the man of God was instantly aware of what had happened and called out to Maurus: “Hurry, Brother Maurus! The boy who just went down for water has fallen into the lake, and the current is carrying him away.”

Maurus asked for the blessing and on receiving it hurried out to fulfill his abbot’s command. He kept on running even over the water till he reached the place where Placid was drifting along helplessly. Pulling him up by the hair, Maurus rushed back to shore, still under the impression that he was on dry land. It was only when he set foot on the ground that he came to himself and looking back, realized that he had been running on the surface of the water. Overcome with fear and amazement at a deed he would never have thought possible, he returned to his abbot and told him what had taken place.

The holy man would not take any personal credit for the deed but attributed it to the obedience of his disciple. Maurus, on the contrary, claimed that it was due entirely to his abbot’s command. He could not have been responsible for the miracle himself, he said, since he had not even known he was performing it. While they were carrying on this friendly contest of humility, the question was settled by the boy who had been rescued. “When I was being drawn out of the water,” he told them, “I saw the abbot’s cloak over my head; he is the one I thought was bringing me to shore.”

Our community identifies well with our patron saint. Our lives have been with the anawim, those who know they are entirely dependent upon God. We know ourselves to be the anawim. There have been many times that we have felt overwhelmed with difficulties yet God pulled us through, providing for us in wonderfully miraculous ways. Yet through times of challenge and of the miraculous, we began anew to live the ordinary faithfully. We remain unswerving in our monastic observance and to God’s call in our lives.

My stay at the Spirituality Center was grounding, peaceful, and rejuvenating. The agreement to unplug from technology and dive into a monastic lifestyle led me to be present. The nature trails are divine from the lush trees to the quiet calls of the birds. Sharing a meal with the community was welcoming and nurturing. I greatly enjoyed my time.

Venue Highlights

The Priory Spirituality Center is an ecumenical Christian ministry that encourages people of all faiths to seek and discern the voice of God in their lives and in the world. We are a ministry of St. Placid Priory that reflects the Benedictine values of peace, hospitality, community, learning and prayerful discernment.

We offer a peaceful and contemplative setting for personal reflection. We encourage and challenge people to know the presence of God in their lives through classes, workshops, retreats and individual spiritual direction. Other offerings include a women’s book group and formation programs.


  • Free Wifi
  • Towels
  • Free Parking
  • Kitchen
  • Tour Assistance
  • Coffee/Tea

Menu Types

  • Vegetarian
  • Includes Meat
  • Gluten Free


Breakfasts are on your own in our Center Kitchen Monday through Saturday. We provide traditional breakfast items such as eggs, milk, bread, cereals, and fruit. You are welcome to bring supplemental food. On Sundays the Priory provides a delicious brunch usually consisting of eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage, toast, pancakes, fruits, and pastries.

Lunch and dinner are provided at the Priory. These meals consist of one or two main dishes and a salad bar. There are often dairy, gluten and soy-free options. If you need to bring supplemental foods or meals, you may keep them in our Center kitchen, cook them there, and eat there or bring it to community meals.

A silent dining area is also available if you prefer to spend your meals in silence.

Coffee and tea is also available around the clock.


We have ten retreat bedrooms, most of which are equipped with two twin beds. The rooms may be shared if you are coming with a friend or partner, but generally there is just one person per room. Our building is set back among the trees so the rooms stay fairly cool. There is a heater in each room for the colder nights. Each room has a sink, mirror, chair, desk, and small closet area. Towels and linens are provided, but please bring your own toiletries. Bathrooms are shared and showers are available.

Retreatants are welcome to join the Sisters for Mass, Praise, and meals. There is wi-fi available in the Priory Library from 8:30am-8:00pm everyday. The Priory Store is also open on Fridays and Saturdays. Plenty of walking trails wind around the Priory's property and are open to retreatants.

Spiritual Direction is available upon request at an additional charge.


Traveling north from Portland, on I-5:
Take Exit 109
Turn left onto Martin Way at end of exit
Stay in the far right lane
Turn right at second light onto
College Street NE
Turn right at St. Placid sign
(second possible right turn)

Traveling south from Seattle, on I-5:
Take Exit 109
Turn right onto Martin Way at end of exit
Stay in the far right lane
Turn right at the light onto
College Street NE
Turn right at St. Placid sign
(second possible right turn)

Tags: benedictine catholic christian hospitality prayer program retreat silence spirituality workshop


  Write a review - tell others about your experience.

  • Hillary B. Kimsey   December 01, 2018

      A lovely place for quiet reflection

    I very much enjoyed my private retreat at St. Placid's Priory. I went for one night, arriving around noon the first day and leaving around 8am the next morning. The sisters and the staff received me with hospitality and explained everything I might need to know about services, meals, and available resources. I very much look forward to going again.

  • Laura Tenisci   November 27, 2018

      Soul Nourishment

    For this personal retreat, I combined a weekend of quiet time at the Priory Spirituality Center with a day workshop on Soul Collage by Pamela Bradburn. Though there was already a retreat happening at the Spirituality Center, but a room was available. It was perfect, AND quiet. The retreat group were also very kind and welcoming to a stranger in their midst. There was a hostess on site for the weekend to help with questions and needs. I attended Mass at the Priory that evening and then joined the Sisters for dinner. Bonus! At the end of the evening prayer service, Camille the postulant became Camille the novice! There is a profound sense of peace, warm hospitality and caring at St. Placid's. The bookstore and area near the front desk are full of treasures waiting to be discovered. I didn't get a chance to walk the woods this time as I forgot my sneakers, but they (nature, woods, and trails) too are a welcome invitation to deepen the spiritual journey. Check out their website for program offerings. Benedictine spirituality rocks!

  • Mary Helmer Grant   November 15, 2018

      Peaceful place to regroup

    I spent 4 days with my sister at St. Placid Priory. We met there to share some time together in a beautiful, spiritual place. We walked the trails through the surrounding woods, ate dinner with the nuns and attended a few of their services. The nuns were warm and embracing, and very open minded, truly interested in talking with us and sharing stories. However, if you choose not to partake in any of the dining or service activities, that is an option also. The rooms were small, but comfortable with the bathroom down the hall. They provided all the basic necessities. I would highly recommend a visit to the priory if you are looking for a peaceful, safe, friendly place to be.

  • Kat Duck   November 11, 2018

      Cinema Divina

    This retreat was excellent in several ways. First, participants were able to employ the stages of lectio divina in a new and very meaningful way; second, the short films were beautifully done; and last, the experience of sharing with others was enlightening and helpful. The retreat leader was knowledgable and talented both as a film maker and as a lectio divina guide.

  • Terry Murray   November 07, 2018

      Clergy Retreat

    Thanks so much for holding the container for time in personal reflection, prayer and connection with other clergy. It's a blessing to me.

  • Robert Alan Rife   October 10, 2018

      Sister Act...

    My most recent incursion into the peaceable, but lively existence of the dear folks at St. Placid Priory was, as ever, transformative. I haven't a great deal to say here since I wrote more extensively about a previous experience on my blog ( I say simply this. I am uncertain how the Desert Mothers and Fathers might react to the reality of my weight gain at a spiritual retreat center, but I think they'd offer me leash when I tell them it came at the cost of deeper, less visible interior growth! I love this place. I think it's coming to love me too. Come for the food. Stay for the peace! Robert

  • Melody Adams-Forsstrom   October 10, 2018


    Nice area. Accommodations sufficient. Location access hard for Friday traffic.

  • Rebecca DeShaw   October 07, 2018

      Lovely grounds. Peaceful surroundings

    We held our Fall retreat at The Priory for Daughters of the King. The folks are helpful and the grounds and other facilities are lovely. There was a minor issue of what a volunteer knew regarding my Canine Companions for Independence puppy being present and the acceptance by the people I talked to when making the arrangements. My time would have been calmer if they had been in sync.

  • Darcy Cline   September 04, 2018

      A Wonderful Experience!

    I attended the Iconography Workshop at St. Placid Priory with Fr. Damien from the Monks of Mt. Tabor Monastery in August 2018. This workshop was wonderful. It provided me with an opportunity to reflect and meditate on the process of painting holy icons for worship. I left feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and excited about my faith and a future in the Catholic experience. This positive experience in art and religion is not for everyone. It is about the process of our faith and creating art that is given over to a higher power. I am already looking forward to next year's workshop. 5 stars for this experinece!

  • carol gabbert   September 04, 2018

      Iconography Workshop

    St. Placid Priory is far and above, one of the most welcoming places I have ever visited. The Sisters, the volunteers, and the staff responded to my every question, concern and need, both in preparing for my visit and during my stay, with an attitude of gracious hospitality. This was my first experience with Icon writing and I cannot recommend Fr. Damien Higgens more highly! Wonderful, wonderful week, I look forward to returning!

  • Judy Delong-Rittman   August 17, 2018

      A warm, welcoming oasis of peace and quiet.

    I love everything about The Priory. The sisters and staff are so welcoming. The absolute only thing I'd change is this cheesy platform. All of the 'canned' emails I've received since you started the on line registration process detract from what I know you really are. It is so not you. Is there any other vendor you could use? You are all about being personable and the emails though computer generated with my name are clearly not written by anything but a template pre programmed....except of course when I go directly to your website and leave a personal email....then I get a lovely, warm response.

  • Angela Ensminger   August 14, 2018

      Private Retreat

    I have been coming here for years and once again, it was a relaxing and restorative time for me. The rooms are just enough to keep my mind and heart focused without being distracting. They supply towels and all bedding. There are private walking trails with plenty of benches and nooks to spend private time in prayer and comtemplation. You can attend prayer and Mass with the sisters or use the chapel on your own. Breakfast foods are available in the retreat center and lunch and dinner are supplied in the main building. There is a basic selection of food but it is all wonderful. You won't go hungry. Lots of books and art supplies are available if you need those.

  • Jennifer Garrison Brownell   July 17, 2018


    This retreat was so inspiring and God was so present. Beautiful hospitality, delicious food, comfortable bed, and lovely setting. I was especially grateful for permission to rest!

  • Sidney Barthell   June 30, 2018

      Silent Retreat

    My weekend at St Placid Priory was so restful! It was my first visit to the Priory and I enjoyed the people and the woods. Mass on Sunday was a special treat.

The lamps are different, but the Light is the same. Rumi

Why Retreat?

We asked people why they go on retreat, here's what they said:

Find my Ki. Alexander

Retreat Guru's Vision

We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.

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