About the Retreat Center

The St. Scholastica Retreat Center, sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters and a member of the Association of Benedictine Retreat Centers, is located in next to the St. Scholastica Monastery, and is also used for Trinity Schools and Project Compassion. Part of the building is used for retreatants, where we have rooms for stay for both private and group retreats. Visit the Facilities page for more information on availability. Meet our retreat presenters here.

Our Mission

The overall goal of St. Scholastica Retreat Center is to provide a Christian atmosphere where all who receive service or are employed here may grow in an awareness of who they are as well as in the knowledge of the Good News that we have been redeemed and forgiven through Christ out of God's immeasurable generosity. We strive to nourish the whole person by enabling quality education, spiritual growth, and development, by caring for the beauty that surrounds us, by providing a sense of order and harmony, by sharing our resources, our selves, and our way of life.

History

The Benedictine Spirituality and Conference Center (also called the Retreat Center), sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters, shares a 66-acre wooded area with St. Scholastica Monastery which is located in the heart of Fort Smith, Arkansas, a city with a population of 80,000. When originally built in 1958, St. Scholastica Academy was a boarding and day school for girls.

When the Benedictine Sisters closed the Academy in 1968, the building was adapted and remodeled for multi-purpose uses. Among those uses are Center-sponsored and Center-hosted retreats, workshops, days of recollection, an office for Project Compassion, and meeting rooms for educational, humanitarian, recreational, and religious purposes. The classroom section is now rented by Trinity Junior High School.

The residential section of the building was converted into a Retreat Center during the mid-1970s when Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, author and well known retreat director, and several other Sisters began the retreat ministry at the Center. The Center can house 53 people in private rooms or 89 people in semi-private rooms. The Center policy is to provide a private room for all Center-sponsored retreats. Bath facilities are common for each nine rooms. There are a few rooms with shared or private baths.

Regular Lease Groups

Trinity Junior High, grades 7-9, is co-sponsored by the Catholic parishes of Fort Smith, Barling, and Van Buren under diocesan auspices. Father Andrew Hart is the administrator; Dr. Jim Hattabaugh is the principal. This school moved from very cramped quarters downtown into the Academic Section of the building in the fall of 1990 after the asbestos had been removed. St. Scholastica Monastery and Trinity Junior High have a 50-year lease agreement.
Phone number: 479-782-2451 or web site: TrinityCatholicJH.org

Project Compassion, Inc rents office and storage space in the Center. This one-to-one nursing home visitation program was begun in 1972 by Gloria White, a Benedictine Oblate now deceased. Observing that some residents had no family, Gloria and others who believed in her dream established the program so that not one of the residents would be without an occasional visitor on whom they could count for friendship and conversation. Project Compassion, Inc., is a non-profit United Way Agency and also receives some assistance from the Area Agency on Aging. The program has an outreach to 34 nursing homes and retirement centers in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. Marian Conrad is Director.
Phone number: 479-783-2273 or web site: ProjectCompassionInc.com

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