The overall goal of St. Scholastica Retreat Center is to provide a Christian atmosphere where all who receive service or are employed here may grow in an awareness of who they are as well as in the knowledge of the Good News that we have been redeemed and forgiven through Christ out of God’s immeasurable generosity. We strive to nourish the whole person by enabling quality education, spiritual growth, and development, by caring for the beauty that surrounds us, by providing a sense of order and harmony, by sharing our resources, our selves, and our way of life.
The Benedictine Spirituality and Conference Center (also called the Retreat Center), sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters, shares a 66-acre wooded area with St. Scholastica Monastery which is located in the heart of Fort Smith, Arkansas, a city with a population of 80,000. When originally built in 1958, St. Scholastica Academy was a boarding and day school for girls.
When the Benedictine Sisters closed the Academy in 1968, the building was adapted and remodeled for multi-purpose uses. Among those uses are Center-sponsored and Center-hosted retreats, workshops, days of recollection, an office for Project Compassion, and meeting rooms for educational, humanitarian, recreational, and religious purposes. The classroom section is now rented by Trinity Junior High School.
The residential section of the building was converted into a Retreat Center during the mid-1970s when Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, author and well known retreat director, and several other Sisters began the retreat ministry at the Center. The Center can house 53 people in private rooms or 89 people in semi-private rooms. The Center policy is to provide a private room for all Center-sponsored retreats. Bath facilities are common for each nine rooms. There are a few rooms with shared or private baths.