Art of Presence 16th Annual Healthcare Renewal Retreat – July 22-28, 2021

July 22-28, 2021


A 6-day retreat workshop deigned 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 other professionals open to deepening 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 with patients/families about spiritual distress and suffering, contemplative practices (e.g. 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 among the beautiful nature surrounding Assisi.

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

  • Christina Puchalski, MD. Renowned Clinician, Author, and Educator
  • Carolyn Jacobs, PhD, MSW.  Contemplative Social Work Leader, Spiritual Director, and Educator
  • Anne Vandenhoeck, PhD, MDiv. Professor of Pastoral Care at Catholic University Leuven, Belgium, and  Chair of the Academic Centre for Practical Theology
  • Mario Cagna, MDiv. Chaplain, Pastoral Care, Genoa, Italy
  • Edward O'Donnell, MA. Spiritual Director and Educator

Retreat Registration

Registration will open early in 2021.

Retreat Cost

Retreat tuition for 2021 will be announced early in the year. A $250 deposit holds your space. Full payment is due by May, 2021.‎

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.


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

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 offers CEU credits for nurses. For individuals seeking continuing education credit for other professions, the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences offers a certificate of attendance. 

Thursday, July 22, 2021 (All day) to Wednesday, July 28, 2021 (All day)

Monastero di Sant'Andrea
Assisi, Italy


For inquiries, please contact:
Cherron Gardner-Thomas
P: +1 202 994 6220

George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish)
2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20037