• St. Francis Retreat Center
  • St. Francis Retreat Center
  • St. Francis Retreat Center

What is Mepkin Abbey?

An abbey is a type of monastery that provides a complex of buildings and land for religious activities, work, and housing of Christian monks. Mepkin is home to a community of cloistered monks who are part of the world-wide Trappist religious order.

The Abbey – Home to Monks

Mepkin Abbey provides housing and vocations for Monks who live the Cistercian Charism, which is living a contemplative and monastic community life. This is supported by solitude, silence and continual prayer welcoming all seekers to share this Charism.

Mepkin appreciates and welcomes visitors and is delighted to share the life and work of Monks who reside there as well as the many other operations and events that occur at the Abbey.

The Mepkin Abbey gate is open from 6am-6pm.

Why are we unique?

Mepkin is one of only 15 Cistercian Trappist monasteries in North America and the only one in South Carolina.

While Trappists are an order in the Roman Catholic Church, everyone is welcome to visit and make Retreats here. People of all faiths as well as no faith, men and women, old and young … ALL ARE WELCOMED here!

There are very few opportunities to participate in the life of monks; Mepkin Abbey is one of those!

Silence, which is so very hard to find in our culture, is an important part of a Mepkin retreat and is practiced for most of the day. Many visitors tell us they were reluctant about experiencing a silent environment but were so glad they did. It can be an extremely spiritual experience to be surrounded by nothing but the rustling wind through leaves, the sound of birds chirping, and the smell of salty air wafting around you.

Besides the opportunity to pray with the monks, our retreat center offers the space and an incredible landscape that fosters the silence and solitude to come home to one’s truest self.

Zoom Events

The Retreat Center also offers public lectures from time to time on relevant themes as well as Zoom opportunities for special retreats or to access in person retreats.

Our retreat center also provides a network of trained spiritual directors that are available to do individual spiritual direction for those looking for this spiritual practice via Zoom.

The retreat center also offers a 20-minute zoom Centering Prayer sit at 8:00 Am and 8:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays thru our website.

Retreat Information | Register

Library - Clare Boothe Luce Library

Mepkin’s Clare Boothe Luce Library houses one of the largest collections of religious books in the southeast. Come relax as you delve deep into the rich information that packs our pages. We’re here to help and guide you on your journey.

People come to Mepkin Abbey on retreat for many reasons.

  • Some are making major life decisions (new job, marriage, retirement, etc.) and want to take time away to decide their next steps.
  • Some come for what might be called a short sabbatical, just to “get away” for a while.
  • Some come looking for more “meaning” to their daily lives.
  • Most come for spiritual renewal and renourishment.

An individual retreat offers one the opportunity to set one’s retreat format while emphasizing silence, personal prayer and reflection. Retreatants are also invited to join the monks in their public prayer as often as desired. Spiritual Mentoring for a 30-minute meeting with a monk and the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation are available.

Group retreats are also offered around such themes as Initial Retreats for Elders, Care for Caregivers Retreats, Urban Contemplatives Retreats, Contemplative Retreats and other themed retreats.

  • Each person has a unique experience, but most people tell us that they feel a deep sense of peace at Mepkin.
  • They appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the monastic community.
  • They leave renewed, refreshed, and ready to again face their life’s challenges and enjoy its blessings.
  • They are also given the opportunity to join a Zip Code Contemplation Group, which meets regularly online, to help keep the Mepkin experience alive for them.
  • People of all faiths and no faith, men and women, make retreats at Mepkin. While the Abbey is part of the order in the Roman Catholic Church, everyone is welcome to visit and make Retreats here.
  • Welcoming retreatants is part of the monks’ commitment to welcoming the stranger and one would welcome Christ.

We offer an atmosphere of silence and solitude for those with us to come home to themselves and share in our prayer life, menu, and the awesome landscape of the monastery.

  • Silence, which is so very hard to find in our culture, is an important part of a Mepkin retreat and is practiced for most of the day. Many retreatants tell us they were reluctant about experiencing a silent environment but were so glad they did. It can be an extremely spiritual experience to be surrounded by nothing but the rustling wind through leaves, the sound of birds chirping, and the smell of salty air wafting around you.
  • Beside the opportunity to pray with the monks, our retreat center offers the space and an incredible landscape that fosters the silence and solitude to come home to one’s truest self.
  • While silence is not required in its entirety, most find this to be one of the best takeaways from retreat and we ask that all retreatants are respectful of the Monks and other retreatants; if speaking is necessary, please do so as quietly as possible.
  • Rooms in the beautiful St. Francis Retreat Center include a bed, desk, reading chair, and private bath. Bed linens, towels, and soap are provided. Married couples or those traveling together may be accommodated in adjoining rooms.
  • The Retreat Center has a common area with a small library, kitchen, and a chapel.
  • Retreatants are provided three meals a day in the guest dining room, which is adjacent to the monks’ dining room. All meals are taken in silence, an important part of the monastic tradition.
  • Retreatants are welcome to participate in the monks’ daily prayers services and Eucharist.
  • Retreatants have access to Mepkin’s Clare Boothe Luce’s library on Wednesday’s from 9:00 AM to Noon
  • Individual or private retreats offer retreatants the opportunity to set their own retreat format, emphasizing silence, personal prayer, and reflection. Most retreatants join the monks for their seven daily prayer services and for meals.
  • The rest of the days usually are spent on things like reading, walking the beautiful grounds, journaling, and reflecting.
  • Opportunities are offered for retreatants to meet with one of the monks for consultation and spiritual direction.
  • We also offer many group retreats on various themes as well as directed retreats. Directed retreats on specific topics are offered as well.
  • ADA-compliant rooms are available with accessible accommodations for guests upon request.
  • There is NO REQUIRED FEE to visit or retreat at Mepkin Abbey; however, we ask for donations you feel called to make.
  • The suggested donation is $300 for a weekend retreat and $350 for a weekday retreat or $650 for a week retreat. Retreats include lodging and all meals.
  • You do not need a reservation to visit the Abbey, but overnight retreats are by reservation only and can be for 3 nights (Friday – Monday) 4 nights (Monday – Friday) or 7 nights Monday to Monday or Friday to Friday.
  • To book a weeklong retreat, simply book back-to-back retreats.
  • Check in is from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Check out is by 9 a.m.
  • Guests may check out early if they need.

We are unable to provide transportation, but ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft service the trip to the abbey.

Starting July 10th, all those who would like to register for a retreat at Mepkin Abbey must be fully vaccinated for Covid -19. We are initiating this requirement to safeguard our vulnerable monastic community and all guests we come to Mepkin.

The current world situation involving variants to Covid, makes this imperative for us, especially since the development of the variant in the States is rising.

Thank you for your understanding of this very sensitive situation.