Art of Presence – 13th Annual Healthcare Renewal Retreat

A 6 day retreat workshop designed to help clinicians develop the professional and personal skills to practice compassionate presence in their clinical settings.

This retreat offers a unique environment and opportunity for health professionals  from all faiths, beliefs and cultures to participate in an interdisciplinary retreat designed to experience respite and renewal, reflection and nourishment and ways to re-ignite one’s original call to serve others..

Designed for clinicians and medical practitioners (Physicians, RNs, NPs, PAs, Chaplains, Social Workers, Psychologists, Physical therapists, Occupational therapists, and others) as well as professionals open to deppening their spiritual lives. No prior experience is required; however, experience with meditation or other contemplative practices is desirable.

Session themes include awareness of our own spiritual or personal beliefs and values that impact our vocations, responding to suffering, the different levels of compassionate presence, boundaries needed for compassionate practice,  communicating communication with patients/families about spiritual distress and suffering, contemplative practices (eg meditation practices including lectio divina,music as a spiritual practice, journaling, breath work, among others) to nurture self-care and support the practice of compassionate presence. The retreat includes excursions to different sacred sites in Assisi and time for personal reflection at these sites or in the beautiful nature sites in Assisi.

Be engaged in a contemplative week of personal and professional renewal with experienced guides:

  • Christina Puchalski, M.D., Renowned Clinician, Author, & Educator
  • Michael Stillwater, Musical Artist & Educator
  • Doris Laessar Stillwater, Dipl.Psych.FH, Contemplative Psychotherapist
  • Edward O'Donnell, M.A., Spiritual Director & Educator

Getting There
The retreat is held at the Monastero di Sant'Andrea in Assisi, Italy. Most participants fly into Rome or Florence and then travel to Assisi by train, a trip that takes about three hours. If you chose to drive, parking is available at the monastery.

Watch A video to Learn More


Retreat Tuition for 2018 is $1,095. A $250 deposit holds your space; space is limited.


The monastery provides meals and sleeping accommodations. There is an abundance of vegetarian offerings, as well as meat, for meals. If you enjoy Italian cooking, we trust you will be happy with the food! A double occupancy room and meals are estimated at $500; a single occupancy room and meals are estimated at $600 as available. Actual costs will be determined by the dollar-euro conversion rates at the time of the retreat. We ask that the lodging and food cost be paid in euros in Assisi (this is what works best for the sisters). You can convert dollars to euros in Assisi.

Continuing Education Credits

26.5 Continuing education credits for physicians and nurses are included in the registration fee.

For participants seeking continuing education credit for other professions, the George Washington University and health Sciences offers a certificate of attendance. The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to sponsor continuing medical education for physicians (category 1 credit of the Physician Recognition Award of the American Medical Association). The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences also is an approved provider (VNA-CEA provider number VNA# 09-04-01) of continuing nursing education by the Virginia Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses' Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. For individuals seeking continuing education credit for other professions, the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences offers a certificate of attendance. 

               Registration button                           
Thursday, August 16, 2018 - 6:00pm to Wednesday, August 22, 2018 - 12:00pm

Monastero di Sant'Andrea

Assisi, Italy


For all questions or registrations, please contact:

Najmeh Jafari, MD



George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish)

2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 300

Washington, D.C. 20037