NOTE: The Spring 2018 retreat will be held at Suttle Lake Camp (map), not at St Benedict Lodge.

Suttle Lake Camp Retreat Information

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

Retreat Center Location and Directions

The retreat will be held at Suttle Lake Camp, which is located near Sisters, Oregon. From Eugene, follow OR 126 E about 92 miles (merging with US 20 E after about 68 miles, then continuing on OR 126/US 20 E for 16 more miles). Turn right on Suttle Lake exit, Forest Service road 2070. Drive past the resort on the right, and after about 1/3 mile take the first left into Suttle Lake Camp. The parking lot is right there, and the Welcome Center. The address is: Suttle Lake United Methodist Camp, 29551 Suttle Lake Road, Sisters, Oregon 97759. Phone: 541-595-6663. For a map, click here.

Transportation to the Retreat


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.

Retreat Guidelines and Schedule

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

After you park, you will see the Welcome Center. There are restrooms there, and 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.


There are restrooms/showers in the two Lodges and two Shower Houses. Each Shower house has a "boys" side and a "girls" side. You might want to bring an empty Nancy's yogurt container for night-time needs ( like at Cloud Mountain). The lodge has restrooms, but the cabins all use the Shower house restrooms. There is time for showers after breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and before bedtime. Rooms are equipped with electric heat, two bunk beds and a folding chair. A fully stocked snack table and tea are available 24 hours a day in the dining hall.

What to bring

While the lodge rooms and cabins have a mattress, retreatants should bring their own sheets, pillows, and blankets, or sleeping bag. There are some sleeping bags that can be rented at the Camp, but no pillows or towels. The fee is $10. It may be best to see if someone in Eugene could bring an extra set of linens and a pillow for you to use, if you are unable to bring it yourself.

Weather at the Camp will likely be cool or cold since we are in the mountains and in March. Be sure to bring warm clothing, think of layers and rain gear if rain is likely. Bring shoes suitable for hiking as the trails may be muddy and maybe even snowy.

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. If you would like the Center to provide a meditation cushion or bench for you to use during the retreat, please let us know, either on the registration form or by sending the retreat coordinator an email.

Please bring a FLASHLIGHT! They are not provided here.

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.


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. You are also welcome to print out your own personal copy of the schedule below. 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 end of 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 or Yoga (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 or Yoga (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

Retreat Center Rules and Information

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 mattress, folding chair, and lights. Also each room 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 alarms go off exit your room and gather in the parking lot for instructions.
  • 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 floors and steps can be very slippery, especially when wet. Look where you are going especially at night and don't leave standing water on the floor. Use your flashlight at night.

When Leaving

  • Pick up trash and empty wastebasket into the large bathroom container.
  • Turn off heat! Close the window, if opened.
  • Sweep the floor. Leave your room/cabin clean.

Other items of note

  • 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.
  • Beware of your surroundings and seasonal hazards. Stay on the trails. Exercise care in snow and ice.Walk carefully to maintain control and balance. Stay off of ice covering the lake or stream. The camp is surrounded by National Forest, when hiking carry water, have a communication plan and take a first aid kit.
  • 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.
  • The sewers and septic tanks up here in the mountains are very sensitive: never place paper towels, etc in the toilets.
  • The road between Suttle Lake Camp and Eugene is often icy in the early Spring or late Fall-- many cars, usually in the morning -- slide off the highway. When chains are required it is only on the road from the Santiam junction to Sisters.

Pin It