Seeking Peace


Escape from it all in Metro Atlanta Monastery Spiritual Wellness

With the constant demand and drain on our attention, it’s natural to wish for stillness, a getaway that lets you get away not just physically but spiritually — a retreat for the soul. And it’s here, just 30 minutes east of Atlanta, at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit.

The working monastery in Conyers, GA, is a place of beauty, natural and artistic. In the vaulted abbey church, light filters through cool, blue-toned stained glass. Outside, the fields and woodlands boast gentle walkways that meander across the property, eventually connecting to the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area.

It’s the ambiance, though, rather than the surroundings that make a visit here memorable. A sense of tranquility hangs in the air. The Trappist monks who call it home devote their lives to prayerful contemplation as they have since the founding of the monastery 75 years ago. Whether such dedicated thoughtfulness sounds daunting — or compelling — they invite everyone, guests of any or no faith, to enter their world for a few hours or a few days.

“It’s such a unique experience,” says Catherine Fuss, an Atlanta native who has been visiting the monastery for over a decade. “There are so many things that you can do or even not do anything at all. There’s no rush. It’s unhurried, a different pace, a feeling of peace.”

For first-timers, Fuss recommends starting with a tour of the visitor center, which includes a small museum. Afterward, spend time outdoors. Feed ducks by the lake or bask in the calm of the bonsai garden. Stay for vespers in the early evening to hear the monks chanting the psalms in low-toned harmony.

But it’s not all pure asceticism at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. Indulge in something sweet before you go, like the biscotti, fudge and fruitcake made by the monks in their bakery. The artful pairing of fruits and nuts make these treats worth savoring: pistachios, pecans, cherries, cranberries. It’s tempting to keep them for yourself, but consider the values the monks espouse — kindness, generosity — and take home a box to share.

If a day at the monastery is like a meditative pause in modern life, a longer stay is a complete reset, an opportunity to unplug and refocus. Retreat themes vary from creation and mercy to yoga and photography.

Silence, part of the monks’ daily life, is often part of the retreats, encouraged but not required. A peaceful quietude reigns in the hallways and meeting rooms. Diners who want to talk have a separate area to take their meals.

“The more you’re able to maintain that silence, the more you get out of it,” explains Fuss, who’s done four retreats so far. “It helps with distraction. You’re not making social chit-chat. You’re being quiet ... to set aside conversation of the world for more introspection.”

To some extent, retreats are what guests make of them. Fuss enjoys the liturgy. She’ll sometimes rise early for vigils, a pre-dawn prayer with a half-hour of meditation in the middle. The stillness is palpable but refreshing. Even a walk is restorative. The hills, forest, creek and chapel provide a sacred backdrop for prayerful reflection or the occasional deer sighting, no cell phone ringing, no need to check social media.

“I feel like there’s an expectation now that you’re available almost 24/7,” says Fuss, a mom of three and busy management consultant. “It’s constant; the to-do list is never-ending. At the monastery, it’s a very dedicated time. You can plan for that time. Everybody can do that.”


The monastery is open daily, free of charge, though the visitor center is closed Sundays. For the retreat schedules and more, visit

Christmas at the Monastery

The Monastery of the Holy Spirit puts on an impressive display throughout December. Instead of lights and tinsel, it’s a celebration of the Nativity with more than 500 crèches on exhibit. The manger scenes come from all over the world and are fashioned from all kinds of material, including wood, paper and glass, says Brother Callistus Crichlow, one of the monks who lives at the monastery and serves as its spokesperson. Admission is free but donations are welcome, he says. For more information, visit


Sites for Seekers
Looking for other spiritual getaways in Georgia? Here are a few places to keep your personal journey going long after New Year’s resolutions have faded.

Guido Gardens, Metter, GA
Owned by Sower Ministries, Guido Gardens is a peaceful retreat filled with flowers and fountains as well as religious structures like a chapel, empty tomb and an imaginative replica of the workshop of Joseph, father of Jesus. Leading up to Christmas, nearly 2 million lights turn the garden into a glittering wonderland. Admissions is free.

The Hindu Temple of Atlanta, Riverdale, GA
Built in the traditional Indian style, the Hindu Temple of Atlanta is covered with intricate, symbolic carvings in wood and stone. Visitors of any religious background may enter the temple after removing their shoes, a gesture that helps keep the inner sanctum clean. The grounds feature sculptures, plenty of space for kids to explore, and a cafe with vegetarian cuisine.

Wesley Gardens Retreat, Savannah, GA
Part of a Methodist church's ministry, Wesley Gardens Retreat is a dedicated center where people can rest and reconnect in unspoiled nature. Pray in the outdoor chapel, walk the labyrinth or just wander along the garden and marsh-side trails. Guests can rent anything from a one-bedroom cottage to the large Main House for group or private retreats.

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Events Calendar

  • “Summon the Sea! Contemporary Artists and Moby Dick” Exhibition

    Oct 11, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Summon the Sea! Contemporary Artists and Moby Dick examines the work of six contemporary artists—Corey Arnold, Guy Ben-Ner, Patty Chang, Tristin...

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  • Savannah Jewish Film Festival

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    6:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ Jewish Educational Alliance of Savannah

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  • Mountainfilm on Tour - Savannah

    Jan 23, 2020
    7:00 PM - 10:30 PM @ Trustees Theater

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  • Forsyth Farmer's Market

    Jun 29, 2019
    9:00 AM - 1:00 PM @ South end of Forsyth Park

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    8:00 PM - 3:00 PM @ Savannah Theatre

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  • Cocoa 5k Fun Run & Walk

    Feb 01, 2020
    8:00 AM - 11:00 AM @ Crystal Coast Civic Center

    Come be a part of the Cocoa Fun Run / Walk on February 1, 2020!  The 5K Race Course is flat and begins and ends at the Crystal Coast Civic Center,...

  • Carolina Chocolate Festival

    Feb 01, 2020
    9:00 AM - 6:00 PM @ Crystal Coast Civic Center

    Chocolate lovers indulge! The annual Carolina Chocolate Festival takes place at the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City and is packed with...

  • First Fridays in Starland

    Jun 07, 2019
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Starland District

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  • AURA Fest: Underground Weekend

    Feb 21, 2020
    7:30 PM - 11:45 PM @ The Jinx

    AURA Fest: Underground Weekend at The Jinx February 22, 2020 Torche, Bask, Oakskin, SHEHEHE, Knightsquatch February 21, 2020 Inter Arma, CLOAK,...

  • Savannah Antiques & Architecture Weekend

    Mar 05, 2020
    6:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ Various Locations, Downtown Savannah, Georgia

    The Annual Savannah Antiques and Architecture Weekend is a three-day series of presentations, tours, appraisals, a glittering gala, and a cocktail...

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Scenes of the South

Dining in the Dark 2020

The Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision held its annual Dining in the Dark event on Saturday, January 18th at the Embassy Suites Downtown Savannah. Guests were served a four-course meal in complete darkness by the Savannah Metro's SWAT team. Dining in the Dark serves to raise awareness about vision loss.

January Brews for a Cause

South magazine in collaboration with Southern Eagle Distributing hosted their monthly Brews for a Cause on Thursday, January 16th at the Savannah Taphouse in a successful effort to raise money and awareness for the Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision. The night featured delicious appetizers by Savannah Taphouse and a range of flavored Bud Light Seltzers provided by Southern Eagle. These events provide good food, fun entertainment, refreshing drinks and most importantly – raise money for a great cause! Be sure to be on the lookout for our next Brews in February!

Ford Plantation's Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting for Silk Hope

The Ford Plantation celebrated the completion of its two new Silk Hope model homes on January 10, 2020. The Silk Hope project is limited to 53 homes, on beautiful lots of buyers’ choosing amongst old oaks and a Lowcountry marsh setting. This member-backed project is the first new for sale residential development at The Ford Plantation in more than fifteen years and represents the final phase of home development to be offered. The Silk Hope community is the product of a collaboration of some of the world’s top residential architects and landscape designers and has been modeled to capture tranquil European village and Lowcountry architecture.

Mat Best Signs his New Best-seller at Nine Line

Veteran, entrepreneur and author Mat Best met fans and signed copies of his new book “Thank you for my Service” Thursday Dec. 12 at Nine Line Apparel. Best’s best-selling authorial debut chronicles his service as a U.S. Army Ranger. Best's Black Rifle Coffee co., partnered with Nine Line Apparel, has shops on River st. and off route 95 on Ft. Argyle rd.

Victory Antiques and Engel & Völkers' Holiday Party

Dickey Mopper and his team at Engel and Völkers celebrated the season at their annual holiday party on Wednesday Dec. 11, with a special appearance from the jolly fellow himself, Santa Claus. Mopper and company, celebrating alongside the crew of Victory Antiques, showed off the newest Engel and Völkers office at 1650 East Victory Dr. in Savannah.

Good Times Jazz Bar & Restaurant's 2nd Anniversary Celebration feat. Lady Leah

Jazz lovers celebrated Good Times Jazz bar's second anniversary on Nov. 8 and 9 featuring jazz vocalist Lady Leah and the culinary stylings of Good Times' chef Joe Randall, the dean of southern cuisine. In 2017 Randall teamed with Danielle and Stephen T. Moore to create one of the city's smoothest spots, a confluence of culture and taste fit for the soul of Savannah.

14th Annual Pearls to Pluff Mud Fundraiser

The 14th Annual Pearls to Pluff Mud Fundraiser was held on Friday, November 1st at the Swamp Fox Farms. Guests enjoyed listening to the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra while tasting New Orleans themed dishes. There was a silent and live auction held to raise money for the Focus Fund Campaign for the Cross Schools in Bluffton, SC.

Brews for a Cause November at Savannah Octane Bar

South magazine in collaboration with Southern Eagle Distributing hosted the last Brews for a Cause of 2019 at the Savannah Octane Bar on Thursday, November 21 in a successful effort to raise money and awareness for Georgia Police K9 Foundation. The night featured tasty chicken appetizers catered by Himalayan Curry Kitchen, and special brews from Wicked Weed and Monday Night Brewing provided by Southern Eagle. These events provide good food, fun entertainment, refreshing drinks and most importantly – raise money for a great cause! Be sure to be on the lookout for our next Brews in January!

6th Annual First Responders Luncheon

Harris Lowry Manton LLC hosted its 6th Annual First Responder Appreciation Luncheon on Monday, Oct. 28 at Daffin Park. Free lunch was offered as a “thank you” to local paramedics, firefights, police officers and emergency medical responders.

DineSouth's VIP Icebox

DineSouth 2019 VIP room sponsored by IceBound was a hit at this year’s event! With a special performance by Ken Roy, guests enjoyed exclusive vendors such as sushi from Rue de Jean and popsicles from Savannah Square Pops. Made complete with a full-serve bar, the VIP room was chillingly spectacular!