I am excited to have scheduled a retreat this coming summer with my daughter at the Abbey of Our Lady of New Clairvaux, a Cistercian Trappist monastery in the tiny northern California town of Vina, not too far from Mount Shasta (at least not far by California freeway standards). We made a retreat there together earlier this year and it proved to be a very special time for us to share time and faith in a remarkably peaceful and spiritually nurturing environment. Retreatants are invited, though not required, to join the monks in every prayer service as they pray the Divine Office throughout the day and night and at morning Mass. Apart from that, one provides one's own structure to the retreat. The atmosphere of quiet contemplation, free from all our over-communicative media, can be intensely sanity-inducing, grounding and restorative. If you've never had the opportunity, or perhaps just never thought about making a retreat at a Catholic monastery, consider moving the experience to the top of your to-do list. You may return home not only to your never-ending to-do list, but perhaps a whole new "to-be" list as well.