Retreats and Quiet Places

CSWR courtyard

Throughout the year, the Office of the Chaplain and Religious and Spiritual Life offers occasional retreats for those who seek time for renewal. Many of the student-run spiritual and religious organizations also sponsor evening and weekend retreats to which all are welcome. We also regularly refer seekers to the many retreat centers in Massachusetts and throughout the Northeast (see a partial list below). Optimally, a retreat won't be a "stolen luxury" in a busy life or an "irresponsible escape" from a politically oppressive world. It can unveil an experience of the Holy, which may become the seedbed of renewed faith, wisdom, courage, and activism. Ideally, a retreat will also become a rule and not an exception; its effects can spill over into daily life, creating a hunger for regular periods of prayer or meditation and renewal.

Quiet places

There are several quiet, beautiful places on and near the campus that are conducive to contemplation and reflection. Some of our favorite sites include:

Divinity Chapel, Harvard Divinity School

Prayer rugs, meditation cushions, scriptures of many traditions and prayer beads available
Divinity Hall, 3rd floor
14 Divinity Avenue

CSWR meditation room

Center for the Study of World Religions
42 Francis Avenue
Harvard Divinity School

Harvard Art Museums

32 Quincy Street

Memorial Church

Harvard Yard

Meditation space, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Longfellow Building
13 Appian Way, Room 214
Open Monday–Friday

The Class of 1959 Chapel

Harvard Business School
Soldiers Field Road

Meditation room, Harvard Kennedy School

Littauer Building, Room G28
79 John F. Kennedy Street

Prayer/meditation space, Smith Center

Room 732 (next to the Muslim Chaplin’s Office)
1350 Massachusetts Avenue
Open Monday–Friday, 10 am–5 pm

Winter Garden Meditation Room, Center for Government and International Studies

Knafel Center, basement floor (access through the Harvard-MIT Data Center)
1737 Cambridge Street

Serenity Room, Harvard College

Grays Hall Basement, Room 021
Harvard Yard
For first-year Harvard College students only but please note that the guided meditation sessions offered here by the Center for Wellness are open to all.

Interfaith Prayer and Meditation Space, Harvard Law School

Wasserstein Hall, Student Organization Workroom, 2nd floor
1585 Massachusetts Avenue
Access for HLS students only

Society of St. John the Evangelist

980 Memorial Drive
Between their scheduled services, the chapel of the Society of St. John the Evangelist is available to all for quiet meditation and prayer.  The chapel is generally open Tuesday–Sunday, 6 am–9 pm.

Outdoor spaces

Map of quiet places
*Please note, Andover Hall (now known as Swartz Hall) is under renovation and unavailable.

Retreats and contemplative organizations: Regional links

The sites below are maintained by organizations external to Harvard Divinity School; their inclusion here does not necessarily imply endorsement by HDS. If you know of other resources that you think should be considered for inclusion on this page, please email Kerry A. Maloney, the chaplain and director of religious and spiritual life.