The Villa St. Joseph Spirituality Centre is situated on the bank of Lake Ontario. Photo courtesy of the Villa St. Joseph Spirituality Centre

Connecting with nature in Cobourg, Ontario

  • March 29, 2012

Not many retreat houses can boast that guests will be greeted by Noah himself. But, then, there aren’t many retreat houses like the Villa St. Joseph Spirituality Centre in Cobourg, Ont.

Noah is the Centre’s friendly golden retriever. He is seen regularly patrolling the spacious grounds,  providing emotional and spiritual warmth but also reminding visitors of the Villa’s deep connection to nature.

Situated on the bank of Lake Ontario about an hour’s drive from Toronto, the Villa was originally purchased to provide a home for orphaned girls. It later became the summer home of the sisters and is now a vibrant place of prayer and spiritual growth.

It has 13 bedrooms in a large old house, well-loved and maintained by the sisters over the years. It is currently home to four Sisters of St. Joseph who provide spiritual direction, spiritual nourishment and ecological education. Physical nourishment for the body is provided by a full-time culinary artist.

Located on a scenic property, the Villa is a place of rest, where a spirit of silence and contemplative listening are encouraged. A variety of retreat opportunities are offered during 10 months of the year, from 12-step retreats to personal Days of Stillness to Sabbath Weekend Retreats to week-long directed or private retreats.

A salient feature of the Villa’s program is the Village Earth Spirituality Program and Practicum, offered in early July. Visitors stay in the “Earth-Rise Cottage,” with its solar panel and community gardens. The  emphasis is on recycling, composting and earth-friendly cleaning products, which combine to make an extensive contribution to the welfare of planet Earth.

Two of the sisters have significant studies to help visitors understand the beauty, the evolving mystery and the needs of our universe.

Retreats are open to people of all faiths who seek a deeper relationship with God.

To learn more, visit, or email, or call 905-372-2741.

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