Villa Maria del Mar Spirituality Program

The Villa Spirituality Program provides a range of offerings for personal transformation, inner freedom, and ministry growth, such as:


  • Monthly Retreats
  • Spiritual Direction
  • Peer Support Supervision
  • Spiritual Accompaniment Training
  • Spiritual Direction for Aspiring Deacons and Wives 

Monthly Retreats

Our spirituality program offers a variety of day and overnight retreat options to suit your needs.
Day retreats begin at 9:30 am and end at 3:00 pm.
For more information on our retreats below, click here.

Spirituality Program Retreat Schedule 2019 – 2020

To inquire about availability, wait list, or attending as a commuter, please contact the Villa by clicking here or emailing

• Upcoming Events •

October 2019

Art of Journaling: Discovering God in the Written Word
Presenters: Sr. Molly Neville, SNJM and Susan Cafarelli Burke
Day Retreat: October 30, 2019; 9:30 am – 3:00 pm
Cost: $50

Villa Maria del Mar Retreat Center in Santa Cruz

• Past Events •

Villa Maria del Mar Retreat Center in Santa Cruz

July 2019

Silent Contemplative Summer Retreat with Daily Mass and Spiritual Direction
Presenters: SNJM Team
Overnight Retreat: July 7 – 14, 2019; Sunday 5:00 pm –  Sunday after lunch
Cost: $700
*Retreat is Full. Wait list is now open.

June 2019

Contemplation… A Transformative Practice Needed at This Time
Presenter: Sr. Nancy Sylvester, IHM
Overnight Retreat: June 21 – 23, 2019; Friday 5:00 pm to Sunday after lunch
Cost: $300

Villa Maria del Mar Retreat Center in Santa Cruz

Spiritual Direction

It is difficult in the midst of a busy life to notice the Presence of God. We offer a variety of trained Spiritual Directors to support you in deepening your prayer and relationship with God.

Spiritual Direction Meeting at Villa Maria del Mar Retreat Center in Santa Cruz

Spiritual Direction is a CONFIDENTIAL MEETING between you, God, and your companion. Your Spiritual Companion follows a code of ethics. This allows for your total openness, honesty, peace, and freedom to pursue your relationship with a living God who calls you to holiness and discipleship.

What is Spiritual Direction?

It is a traditional ministry within the Church wherein one trained in theology and spiritual direction skills accompanies another on their faith journey. The Spiritual Director helps you talk about your relationship with God, your prayer life, and listen with you to the Spirit.

How does it help in Discernment?

Spiritual Direction enhances your openness to God’s Will, offers clarity and freedom to help you grow in God’s love, and helps you become more attentive to God’s call in your life.

What does the Spiritual Director do?

A person trained in the Art of Spiritual Companionship will listen to you attentively. She/he will encourage you in your faith journey, respect your freedom, and call forth fullness of life within you. They will pray for you and help you get in touch with your deepest desires.

What do you do?

Pray daily….reflect on your life experiences and relationships and share simply what is happening in your prayer and relationship with God. Be open to affirmation, insights and support from the one who is helping you unfold your story.

Do you desire Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual Direction is available by appointment at the Villa on Wednesdays. Other times and days available in other areas. Suggested donation of $30 – $70 per conference. Please contact a Spirituality Program Coordinator to schedule.

Peer Support Supervision

Spiritual Direction at Villa Maria del Mar Retreat Center in Santa Cruz

The Spirituality Program provides a gathering space for trained spiritual directors in the Diocese of Monterey to support each other in peer ministry by strengthening their active listening, prayer development, and discernment skills. Both day long and weekend opportunities are available. For information, please contact Spirituality Program Coordinator, Sr. Molly Neville, SNJM.

Spiritual Accompaniment Training

Spiritual Direction at Villa Maria del Mar Retreat Center in Santa Cruz

Spiritual Directors Training
24 month Program (180 hours)

The Spirituality Program offers training to those who wish to become Spiritual Directors. This two year opportunity allows for theoretical, practical, and interactive sessions.

Participants engage in a variety of learnings including the Art of Spiritual Accompaniment, Christian Discernment, and Prayer Development. We offer quality presenters, practicums, and supervision.


NEW PROGRAM beginning January 2019:

Pastoral Skills Intensive
monthly Saturday Program (15 hours)

We are offering an intensive new program to persons who desire specialized skills training for use in their pastoral ministries. Five Saturday training sessions, beginning in January and going through May, will focus on:

* Active Listening Skills

* Art of Discernment Skills

* Prayer Development Skills

For more information and how to apply, download the announcement.

Spiritual Direction for Aspiring Deacons and Wives

Spiritual Direction at Villa Maria del Mar Retreat Center in Santa Cruz

The Diaconate: Icon of the Servant of Christ, a Deacon’s ministry is three-fold; to inspire, to promote, and to enable the laity to respond to their particular call to service.

This three-fold mission is carried out through the Ministry of Word, the Ministry of the Liturgy, and the Ministry of Charity.

It is a privilege to support the Deacon candidates, e.g. aspiring deacons, and their wives with trained Spiritual Directors through Villa Maria del Mar Spirituality Program.

Spirituality Program Coordinators

Spirituality Program Directors

Contact Information

Sr. Molly Neville, SNJM

Sr. Lois MacGillivray, SNJM