Mission and Purpose
“Try to keep your soul always in peace and quiet, always ready for whatever our Lord may wish to work in you.”
—St. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter to Francis Borgia, September 20, 1548
The Thomas P. Joyce ’59, Contemplative Center is an integral part of Holy Cross. The primary purpose of the center is to provide a sacred place of stillness, simplicity, and prayer, a space of rare natural and spiritual beauty, with facilities conducive for spiritual growth and development. The facility is intended primarily for the contemplative retreats and programs of the Holy Cross Chaplains’ Office. It is hoped that the center will become a holy place in the lived story of students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Holy Cross to which they will want to return again and again.
The Joyce Contemplative Center has been intentionally designed on a secluded site where students, faculty, staff and alumni of the College can step away from their daily activities to reflect on the many ways God is present in their lives, a place where they can reflect on fundamental questions of meaning such as:
- Who am I?
- Who am I called to become?
- How does my relationship with God shape my relationships with others?
- How might my relationship with God shape the way I might use my gifts and talents to serve the world?
While the retreats and programs draw inspiration primarily from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, students, faculty, staff, and Holy Cross graduates of all faiths and beliefs are welcome to come and participate in them.
The Joyce Contemplative Center is located at 1000 Goodale Street, West Boylston, Massachusetts 01583. Get driving directions »
Located less than 20 minutes by car from the Holy Cross campus in Worcester, it is built on a beautiful, serene and secluded property of more than 50 acres with an extraordinary view of the Wachusett Reservoir and adjacent to a conservation area. The center is not open to the public and may only be accessed through participation in a program authorized by Holy Cross.
The center includes an entrance area with fireplace, a dining room, a conference room (that can be divided into two separate areas), a chapel, and six rooms for spiritual direction or small group meetings. The chapel, conference room and dining room can accommodate a maximum of 60 people. In addition to the meeting spaces, the center also includes a lodge with 46 bedrooms that can accommodate up to 58 guests overnight. The facility is handicapped-accessible.
The facility is intended primarily for the contemplative retreats and programs of the Holy Cross Chaplains’ Office. When the Chaplains’ Office has no scheduled programs at the facility, other offices and departments at Holy Cross are welcome and encouraged to use the facility for programs and events that are reflective and quiet in nature and in keeping with the stated purpose of the contemplative center, e.g., administrators’ meetings, academic classes in contemplation, departmental planning sessions, student programs structured to deepen appreciation of personal reflections as a component of Jesuit education, or days of prayer for alumni groups.
Given the many retreats and programs organized by the Office of the College Chaplains, the Mission Office, and the use of the Joyce Contemplative Center by other departments at the College, the center is not available for use by outside groups.
No weddings, receptions, conferences, or other public or private functions are permitted at the Contemplative Center.
A contemplative program must meet the following definition:
- Contemplative programs are programs coordinated by professional staff and trained student leaders which are reflective in nature, and are aimed at the intellectual, social, and spiritual formation of students. The programs are structured to deepen our appreciation of the Jesuit values of educating the whole person and contemplation in action.
An administrative day must meet the following requirements:
- Administrative days may include meetings and trainings for Holy Cross administrative staff and faculty, Board of Trustees, students, staff and alumni.
Non-Holy Cross groups are not permitted to use the center. No weddings, receptions or other public or private functions are allowed.
When considering the Joyce Contemplative Center for your event please keep in mind the following:
- Each requesting party is required to designate an event coordinator who oversees the event. The event coordinator must be an employee of Holy Cross and be on site throughout the duration of the event.
- All meals are provided by the staff at the Joyce Contemplative Center. No outside food or drinks are permitted on site.
- Minimum: 20 guests | Maximum: 60
- Parking is very restricted with 18 spaces in the parking lot. There is no parking allowed anywhere on site other than in the parking lot. Car pools and buses are strongly encouraged.
- Additional policies, information and charges will be provided after the request form has been submitted.
- If your request meets the above criteria, please complete the Joyce Contemplative Center Request Form
- If you are making a request for the 2022-23 academic year, we will notify you if your request has been accepted within seven business days.
- We are currently only booking the center for the 2022-23 academic year. You may make a request for another academic year but we will not officially begin booking the facility until May 2023. We will hold your booking on file until then.