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Writing Retreat 

Our Lady of Santa Clara offers a unique writing retreat experience. You will encounter a peaceful and prayerful environment to write in solitude but also draw inspiration from above and support from a faith community who share your creative dreams and daily labors.   


This is not a workshop but a retreat with a very simple structure.  Each day at breakfast the group facilitator will lead a discussion where writers state their goals, hopes, and intentions for the day.  At the conclusion of dinner, we will regroup and share the highlights and challenges we encountered.  Our hope is to provide the space and time you need to focus individually and at the same time overcome the loneliness that can stifle creative work.  We will also offer the daily Celebration of the Eucharist at midday, and a chaplain will be available for confession or consultation throughout the retreat.   


Retreatants are welcome to focus on writing at any level and in any genre, including nonfiction, fiction, memoir, songs, or poetry. 


Our retreat facilitators are accomplished writers, people of faith, and good listeners; they will foster a sense of community and encourage personal focus.   

Session 1, July 2-8, 2024: Anthony Lilles and Fr. Bruce Wren, LC

Session 2, July 16-19, 2024: Mitali Perkins and Fr. Thomas Vendetti, LC


Anthony Lilles, S.T.D. 

Professor of Spiritual Theology/Director of the M.A. Program 

Anthony Lilles, S.T.D., has served the Church and assisted in the formation of clergy and seminarians since 1994. Before coming to St. Patrick’s, he served at seminaries and houses of formation in the Archdiocese of Denver and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The son of a California farmer, married with young adult children, holds a B.A. in theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville with both the ecclesiastical licentiate and doctorate in spiritual theology from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome (the Angelicum). An expert in the writings of St. Elisabeth of the Trinity and the Carmelite Doctors of the Church, he co-founded the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation and the High Calling Program for priestly vocations. He also founded the John Paul II Center for Contemplative Culture, which hosts symposiums, retreats, and conferences. In addition to his publications, he blogs at,, and podcasts at   


Mitali Perkins 

Mitali Perkins ( has written many books for young readers, including You Bring the Distant Near (nominated for a National Book Award) and Rickshaw Girl (adapted into a film by Sleeperwave Productions), all of which explore crossing different kinds of borders. Her goal is to make readers laugh or cry, preferably both, as long as their hearts are widening. She lives and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area. 








Fr Bruce Wren LC  

Fr Bruce was born on January 8, 1962, in Cottonwood, Idaho. After finishing high school as salutatorian of his class in 1980, he attended St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree of Liberal Arts in 1984.   

At the age of 23 a good friend, who was also a Jesuit priest, suggested he look into joining the Legionaries of Christ. He later began novitiate with the Legion in the fall of 1985 and in the years that followed received degrees in classical humanities, philosophy, and theology. He was ordained to the priesthood on January 3, 1996, and began his priestly ministry as Instructor of Novices at the Legionaries of Christ’s former Novitiate in Cornwall, Canada. From 1999-2014 he served in France as Rector of “École Apostolique de l’Immaculée Conception,” and superior of his community. In 2014 he returned to the states and served in Chicago as the local superior for the Legion’s community there and as chaplain for several groups.  Then, in August of 2022, Father Bruce was assigned to be superior of a Legionary community in Atlanta, Georgia, and chaplain of Regnum Christi. Later, on March 21, 2023, he was appointed as a North American territorial councilor for a three-year term beginning on July 1, 2023.  


Fr Thomas Vendetti LC 

Fr Thomas Vendetti is originally from Rockville, MD. He joined the novitiate of the Legion of Christ in Connecticut in 1995. He studied philosophy and theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome and obtained a licentiate in philosophy and bachelors in theology. He recently completed his MA in Christian Spirituality at Fordham University in NY, focusing on the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. Since his ordination to the priesthood in 2009 he has served in the New York Tristate area for four years as vice rector and director of development for the Legionaries’ center of philosophy in Thornwood, NY, as well as chaplain for Regnum Christi in Manhattan. From 2013 to 2016 he was local director and chaplain for Regnum Christi in Chicago. He is currently serving in the Bay Area as director for Our Lady of Santa Clara Retreat Center and chaplain for Regnum Christi.

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Practical Expectations 



Healthy and balanced meals are provided and coffee, tea, fruit and snacks are available throughout the retreat.   



The schedule is as follows: 

8:00 am Breakfast and facilitated discussion about the day's intentions 

9:00 am Writing time in silence and solitude 

12:00 pm Celebration of the Eucharist followed by a silent lunch accompanied by classical music 

1:30 pm Writing time in silence and solitude 

6:00 pm Dinner and facilitated discussion about the day's work 

7:30 pm Free time in solitude to keep writing or rest, pray, read, and dream 


Arrival on the first day is at 5:00 pm and on the last day departure is by 10:00 am.  Feel free to take walks to think and pray in the peaceful neighborhood or on the hiking trails nearby. 


What to bring 

You will have a private bedroom with an ensuite bathroom.  Linens, towels, hair dryers, as well as basic toiletries such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizer are provided.  You will want to bring other personal toiletries and medications, comfortable clothes, and footwear for walking if you desire.   


For more information on facilities and meals, see our facilities page. 

Click on the dates to register:

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