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Sonoita, Arizona: Santa Rita Abbey


About Santa Rita Abbey:

Santa Rita Abbey is a Cistercian monastery, a school of charity and of the Lord’s service. They follow the Rule of St. Benedict with its balance of prayer, work and sacred reading shared in a monastic community.

It is a place where love of God, neighbor, and all creation come together in a life of prayer, sincere conversion, humble service, simplicity and joy.

They were founded in 1972 in the high desert of Southern Arizona, a land of wide vistas and large sky where our monastery nestles in the foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains.  The Abbey is a monastic place, a place in which the sisters’ simple life, their fidelity to silence, the sacred word, and liturgy offer a glimpse into a simpler way of life.


About Santa Rita Abbey’s Retreat House:

Individual retreats are offered:  they do not give spiritual counseling or talks.  Retreatants are free to attend the sisters’ liturgical services from the guest chapel, or choose to enjoy the peace of the Retreat House chapel, their rooms or the majestic outdoors.

On a practical level, the retreat house offers a small kitchen and dining room, in which the guests prepare their meals from food provided. The rooms are simple and attractively furnished. The requested stipend is $40 a night. They ask retreatants to arrive before 6:00 in the evening.

To inquire about reservations call (520) 455 5595, or email sraretreats@gmail.com

About their Altar Breads:

The Trappist Cistercian Nuns at Santa Rita Abbey have been baking altar breads for over thirty-five years. It is a joy for them to prepare the bread which becomes the Bread of Life for the People of God, and they like to think that their prayer is an extra special ingredient in their altar bread recipe. All their altar breads are 100% whole wheat. They come in five different sizes.

To contact Cistercian Altar Breads: phone 520-455-0481 or toll free at 888-878-1622; email cistercianab@gmail.com; or use their online order form.

About their Sculptures:

The sculpture artist here at Santa Rita Abbey, Sister Esther Sawal, OCSO, was born in the Philippines, where she began her religious life in an active congregation. Her superiors sent her to study at the College of Fine Arts of Monza in Milan, Italy. After obtaining her degree, she returned to the Philippines where she worked in liturgical art and church interior design for fourteen years.

Sister Esther creates sculptures entirely by hand. No molds are used. Each piece is unique. She often uses pieces of mesquite wood native to Southern Arizona, drawing out the natural beauty of the wood, and incorporating its natural shape into her art work. Her crucifixes are particularly special. Each wooden cross is one of a kind, and the clay corpus is designed for a particular cross.

For more information, please phone Santa Rita Abbey at 520-455-5595, and ask for Sr. Esther.

Traveling to Saint Rita Abbey in Sonoita, Arizona:

Sonoita is about 45 miles south of Tucson. It is located in the heart of Arizona’s Wine Country.  At an elevation of 5,000 feet, it is much cooler than Tucson and surrounded by breathtaking 9,000 foot mountain peaks.  The physical surroundings add to the pleasure of staying here.

Address:  14200 East Fish Canyon Road, Sonoita, AZ 85637-6545

Tel: +1 (520) 455.5595

Click here for the official website of Santa Rita Abbey in Sonoita, Arizona

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