Santa Rita Abbey Volunteer Helpers Program

You know how sometimes you could just use a hand getting things done? That’s why we are inviting interested women volunteers to help out.

Sister Nettie with volunteers in August 2017

Volunteers working with Sisters at Cistercian Altar Breads.

We welcome you to join us as a Santa Rita Abbey Volunteer Helper from one to seven months, April through November. Because space is limited, we normally take only one volunteer at a time. As a volunteer, you live on the monastery grounds at the retreat house. You help us with our work for about four and a half hours a day with Saturday and Sunday free, or Sunday and one other day during the week. The work provides a variety of things from helping in our altar bread department, various chores around the monastery such as vacuuming, helping to cook, cleaning the retreat house, or gardening and outdoor work. We adjust the work to a person’s talents and capabilities as well as to our current needs. The rest of your time is free.

The monastery is located in the high southwest desert at 5,000 feet in the foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains where there is much beauty and plenty of hiking and walking paths to explore on the Forest Service land which surrounds us. You prepare your own meals in the retreat house kitchen, from the simple-to-prepare food provided there. We give a certain amount of “pocket money” per month to take care of small needs you might have while here.

Volunteers and retreatants attending Lauds (morning prayer) in the monastery church.

You are welcome to the community liturgy or simply to take quiet time in the monastery church. The Sisters chant the Divine Office five times a day in church, and recite two of the lesser prayer times at their place of work. The chapel at the retreat house is also available to you, as well as a small library next to the kitchen.

There are some minimum requirements: our volunteer program is for women up to 55 years of age, having good health, being able work in various areas and having the ability to get along with others. Those who have time between studies or a temporary gap in work would find this a beneficial program. It is also a good time to discern a future path in life.

If you are interested and want more information, please contact: sracommty@gmail.com

“I really would like to thank you and the sisters for allowing me to participate in the life of the monastery as a volunteer. As Sr. Kate reminded me in the kitchen the first day on the job–all is grace–which sums up my experience while at Santa Rita Abbey. I felt the experience was balanced in both work and prayer … The quiet of the day-to-day rhythm is something that I hope to continue to foster in my own life back in ‘the world’.”

from Volunteer Helper Donna, August 2016