Two weeks ago, I spent two days in Quebec City, but I didn’t really see the city because those two days were spent at a monastery ! You read that right – I left Montreal stressed and came back relaxed and oh-so zen. Le Monastère des Augustines is like a safe haven for your mind, body and soul where you can tune out the world and reconnect with yourself. It’s a wellness retreat that has a unique, historical twist.
Like many wellness retreats, Le Monastère offers all the tools and guidance that you need to realign your body and spirit, but the site itself is a historical marvel. It was generously donated to the public by the few remaining Augustine Sisters (only six left !) with the understanding that the site would continue to be used as a place to heal and not for commercial gain. The first Augustine sisters arrived in Quebec in 1639 and started the first hospital in North America, after Mexico. Last year, the monastery was transformed into the retreat which is open to everyone. The retreat offers many types of packages to choose from.
I was invited to try the Discovery and Balance retreat which included a night’s stay in an authentic room (a dormitory-style room, with washrooms just across the hall). You can also choose a contemporary room with a large bed and your own bathroom, but I wanted to have a simple experience, much like the sisters. My room was tiny, but charming ! I especially loved the cosy duvet and the handmade quilt which was made in honour of the Augustines.
The program included three healthy meals at the monastery’s restaurant. The meals were exceptional and I especially enjoyed breakfast, which is eaten in silence for a moment of reflection. You don’t even need to stay at the monastery to try the restaurant !
Also in our program were two yoga sessions and an early-morning meditation class. Add that to the delicious, healthy meals and you have a much-needed detox for body and spirit. That’s not all ! The Discovery and Balance program included access to the monastery’s museum. The museum’s design and layout is very well thought out and you’ll enjoy learning about the Augustines who contributed so much to the well-being of the local community (and even abroad, on their missions), for hundreds of years !
Although the monastery is historically a Catholic site where you still see religious artefacts throughout, it’s now a neutral space to unwind where everyone is welcome.
I hope you get the chance to visit Le Monastère !