History of Dominican Retreat
“The House on the Hill”
One of the hidden treasures in McLean, VA the Dominican Retreat is described as “a quiet place to hear the voice of God.” An oasis of peace that helps women and men pause, breathe deeply, and open their hearts to God.
The Dominican Sisters of the Congregation of St. Catherine de ‘Ricci purchased the old Gilpatrick estate in McLean, VA in 1961 to conduct spiritual retreats for women. The setting was perfect for a retreat house.
At the same time the Dominican Sisters arrived, St. Luke Parish in McLean was formed. Monsignor Louis Flaherty, the first Pastor of St. Luke, encouraged the women from his parish to “go and help the Sisters that live in the house on the hill”. Thus, began a long relationship with laywomen from St. Luke Parish. The response to the day retreats being offered was so overwhelming that the dormitory was erected in 1962 and programming expanded to weekend retreats. The Chapel, Lounge and Dining Room were added in 1975, and the last extension was constructed to house the elevator and two small conference rooms in 1991.
Today our spiritual programs cover a broad range of topics. Many weekends are Theme retreats for women or men and we also offer Retreats for Those Facing Serious Illness, Retreats for Spanish Speaking Women and Men, Retreats for Women in AA & Al-Anon, Retreats for Men of AA, Centering Prayer Retreats and numerous specialized retreats.
Dominican Retreat is a ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. In December 2012 the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de ’Ricci merged with the Dominican Sisters of Peace. The Retreat House is staffed by an Executive Director, 4 Sisters and 7 lay staff, most of whom are part time employees. A Board of Directors oversees our strategic and financial well being along with Congregational leadership.
We continue to invite, to encourage, and to exhort women and men of all ages to come and experience the Hospitality of Heart offered by the Dominican Sisters that still live in the house on the hill in McLean, VA. Choose to make a retreat – your life will be the better for it!