GilChrist FAQ

Where is GilChrist?

We are in southwest Michigan, approximately seven miles west of Three Rivers. By car, GilChrist is  35 minutes from Kalamazoo and approximately 60 minutes from South Bend, Indiana. Directions are available here. Please note that we are in the Eastern time zone.

What are the facilities like?

GilChrist has eight cabins; a longer-term rental house (1-90 days); a small, stone chapel; and a common house, WindHill. We are located in a rural area on 67 acres of woods and rolling hills. All buildings, with the exception of the chapel, have modern heating, plumbing, and kitchen facilities. We provide linens, cleaning supplies, filtered water, coffee pots, dishware, and essential cooking utensils, though most guest spaces do not have a microwave. Guests need only provide their own food and housekeeping.

Is there Wi-Fi at GilChrist?

There is Wi-Fi in the GilChrist office, which is in the first building on the right as you enter the drive. Guests may use Wi-Fi (in the area up the steps and in the yoga room) in the office and should be able to connect to Wi-Fi within 30 feet of the building, which is accessible 24/7. Wi-Fi is NOT available in the cabins or WindHill.

What are my responsibilities as a guest?

Changing linens, sweeping floors, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, and leaving a tidy cabin for the next visitor are basic responsibilities for all guests. Cleaning supplies and fresh linens are stocked in all cabins.

Where I can buy groceries?

Meijer in Three Rivers is a 10-minute drive from GilChrist. A regional chain that offers a wide range of goods, Meijer carries groceries, including excellent produce and organic selections. Making it your last stop on the way to GilChrist will save you from needing to pack a cooler. In addition, a listing of local food producers is available here, and the GilChrist vegetable garden is available in season to guests.

What kind of programs does GilChrist offer?

GilChrist offers individual (self-guided) and small group retreats and workshops that support contemplative practice. Staff members offer weekly spiritual practices for interested participants at no charge at GilChrist's common house, WindHill. Click here for a complete listing of open retreats. A yoga co-op, which is open to all and $5 to join, meets on a weekly basis. Other daily, weekly, and monthly practices are offered by our neighbors at the Hermitage Community, St. Gregory’s Abbey, and the Earth Song Peace Chamber, all of whom are just a short walk or drive away from GilChrist. 

Where does the name GilChrist come from?

GilChrist is named after Sister GilChrist Lavigne, a Trappist nun who was a close friend and inspiration to its founders. The name "GilChrist" is of Gaelic origin, from gille, a servant, and Chriosed, Christ, the servant of Christ. While the name is based in the Christian tradition, GilChrist welcomes people of all faiths.

What is your affiliation with the Fetzer Institute?

GilChrist is the public, contemplative retreat center of the Fetzer Institute. GilChrist staff are employees of the Fetzer Institute, located in Kalamazoo Michigan.

May I come by myself?

We welcome individuals to GilChrist for self-guided retreats or as participants in the events offered here.

May I bring a group?

Groups that offer programs in keeping with GilChrist's purposes are welcome. Please contact us to inquire about making reservations.

Are children allowed?

Adequately supervised children are welcome at GilChrist.

Do you allow pets?

Sorry, pets are not allowed, though service animals are welcome.

How do I reserve a cabin?

  • Request a reservation here.
  • Call GilChrist at 269-244-1130 (the best times to call are Monday to Friday, 11:00am to 12:30pm.)

What is the check-in and check-out process?

A staff person will meet you in the main parking lot to help you transport your belongings to your cabin via golf cart. With the exception of a few spaces and guests with mobility issues, vehicles are not allowed in the area by the cabins. If you are running late for your arrival time or need help locating GilChrist, please call the main office at 269-244-1130. A staff person will also help you out of your cabin at a time agreed upon at check-in. Payment is due at the time of departure.

What forms of payment does GilChrist accept?

GilChrist accepts cash or check for payment. Checks should be made out to the Fetzer Institute. We do not have credit card capability at this time.

What should I bring?

Apart from the usual items people pack when traveling, returning visitors to GilChrist have mentioned they like to bring the following:

  • Binoculars (fun to be able to see the wildlife close up)
  • Blanket (for sitting on outside)
  • Camera
  • Hat (for sun and wind protection and just because they are fun to wear)
  • Journal
  • Books
  • Water bottle (for long walks, especially in the summer)
  • Comfortable clothes and shoes
  • Slippers
  • Favorite pillow
  • Extra boots or shoes
  • Food items that do not require use of a microwave (saves a trip to WindHill)

What is your cancellation policy?

Please notify us as soon as possible. Groups assume full financial responsibility for reservations three weekends prior to their event.

How can I purchase a gift certificate for GilChrist?

To purchase a gift certificate for someone, please mail a check or money order for the desired amount to GilChrist Retreat Center, 56265 Day Road, Three Rivers, MI 49093. Include a note with the name of the person you’d like the certificate made out to and an address where we can mail the certificate.