Santa Clara University


"The retreat at the beginning of the sabbatical helped me transition from my previous ministry as Provincial, gave me focus and direction and set an atmosphere for New Directions sabbatical experience".

Mary Owens, IBVM
Nairobi, Kenya

"There was quiet time for prayer and reflection, and planning for next steps in ministry."

Rev. Tony McGuire
San Mateo, California

Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley

Spiritual Renewal


The Opening Retreat

Your sabbatical begins with a silent, directed retreat of five days, during which time you will meet daily with a spiritual director. The quiet of the retreat and the experience of praying together provide an opportunity to slow down from the demands of ministry, to listen to God's call, and to gain focus for your sabbatical time. You will also begin to experience a growing sense of solidarity with other sabbatical cohort members. 

New Directions Sabbatical participants gather in liturgical prayer

The dates for the Spring 2016 retreat are January 17-22. The location is El Retiro Jesuit Retreat House in Los Altos, California, south of San Francisco. El Retiro sits on 38 wooded acres of serene grounds atop a hill with beautiful vistas of the area. Many scenic walks are available on the property, and a small redwood grove is located just off the grounds. For more information, visit

Ongoing Spiritual Supports

In the Western Christian tradition, spiritual direction is a privileged means by which to encounter God and find personal integration. It is a key component of the New Directions experience. Participants are expected to choose a spiritual director from a varied list of experienced priests, sisters and laity that the program maintains, and meet with him or her regularly. The "director" serves as companion and guide on your sabbatical journey.

Sabbatical cohort together at the altar

The program provides ample unstructured time for prayer, hobbies and recreation, and allows adequate flexibility for participants to decompress from tensions and pressures they carry to Berkeley.

New Directions participants typically meet as a group twice each month for Eucharist and to share their life journeys in a faith context. This is a privileged opportunity to ponder one's personal narrative, and to support one another's desires for health and holiness.

For those who seek a 12-step support group, many options are available in the Berkeley area. Contact the Program Director for more information, or conduct your own Web Search for Berkeley and Oakland neighborhood support groups.

On-Campus Liturgies

All are welcome to participate in the 8am and 5:15pm celebrations of the Eucharist Monday through Friday in the campus Gesu Chapel. On Saturdays there is an 8:30am mass. No Sunday mass is scheduled, so that students have the opportunity to attend Sunday liturgies at one of the Bay Area's diverse parishes. You may click here for more information on liturgies.

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Contact Information

Robert W. McChesney, S.J.

Director of New Directions Sabbatical Program
(510) 549-5046
1 (800) 824-0122

Natalie Terry

Graduate Assistant for the New Directions Sabbatical Program
(510) 549-5028

Jesuit School of Theology
ATTN: New Directions
1735 LeRoy Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709
United States of America

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