Discernment Groups and Retreats

Saint John's is happy to welcome vocation discerners at nearly any time of the year, for a one to two day visit. In this time, you may experience the monastic life, learn and practice lectio divina, and spend time in prayer. In addition to these visits, we offer the following:

Johnnie Live-In at the Abbey


Johnnie Live-Ins are extended to the men of Saint John’s University, and provide the opportunity to meet the monastic community, experience a bit of monastic life, and enjoy a Spirit-filled retreat from the demands of university life.

Joining the monastic community for prayer, meals and recreation is an excellent way to relax, take a break from school, and reconnect with your spiritual life while never leaving campus.

Live-In Dates, Spring Semester 2014

February 7-8
April 4-5 

Johnnie Live-Ins begin on Friday evening at 5:00 with Mass in the Abbey Church with the monastic community, and conclude after lunch on Saturday.  You may extend your visit to Sunday by request.


"Thank you so much for the opportunity to spend a day in the monastery. Looking back, I could not imagine going to this university without seeing that side of the place. Every part we saw increased my respect for this place and what your community has done to make it what it is. I truly respect the work of the monastery and cannot thank you enough for the experience this past weekend, as well as for the four years that I've been privileged to experience at Saint John’s."

Justin Jurek
Class of 2011

"Thank you, and the community, so much for an incredible weekend! No other way to describe it. The lives you lead in pursuit of God are inspiring to me and the guys, but also the entire campus of Johnnies. I had both an eye opening and spiritually renewing weekend, and had a great time doing it! Your hospitality was fantastic, and I look forward to seeing you again soon."

 Francis Olsem

To sign up for a Johnnie Live-In, please contact Br. Aelred at the Saint John's Abbey Vocation Office, or through the form below.

Johnnie Live-Ins are only offered to the men of Saint John's University. Men not enrolled at Saint John's University, but interested in spending time visiting the monastery for vocation interests should complete an application for a first visit.

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The Saint John's University Discernment Groups

Discernment groups invite men and women from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University to gather to discuss their vocation opportunities and experiences, and to offer support, assistance and conversation to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. In group discussion, the vocation options of the religious life, priesthood, marriage and single life are examined and reflected upon as a response to God’s call to discipleship. Reflection questions often set the theme of each discussion, addressing topics such as "favorite or most difficult parts of being Catholic,” “what do you anticipate from the Church of the future,” and “what is your role in the Church, and how does you vocation play a part of that role?"

Discernment groups meet on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month throughout the school year. Guest speakers are often invited, according to the interests and needs of the group, with discussion following. Additionally, prayer traditions and techniques are taught and practiced, with particular emphasis on lectio divina.


Easter Triduum Retreat

     April 17-20

A1hRMIMt1F.jpgThis retreat is open to men seeking a deeper understanding and experience of the Easter season. Beginning on Holy Thursday and extending through Easter Sunday, you will join in the monastic observance and celebration of the conclusion of Lent and the arrival of Easter. Residing on the formation floor with the novice and junior monks, participants follow the daily routine of the liturgy of the hours, Mass, community meals and recreation.

The emphasis of this retreat is self-reflection and hopeful waiting for the Resurrection of the Lord. Through discussion led by monastics, and group/private lectio divina, and free time for meditation, reflection and relaxation, participants are steeped in the spirituality and rhythm of the season.