The Contemplative Life Is A Vocation

Active Apostolate

Days of Recollection

The Contemplatives of Saint Joseph offer Days of Recollection within the Archdiocese of San Francisco at various retreat houses and upon invitation from the Pastor of a parish. These Days provide opportunity for the Catholic faith community to come to the church for all or any part of the scheduled day of spiritual talks; Exposition and Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament; time for personal prayer; Holy Rosary; Divine Mercy Chaplet; and Holy Mass. The COSJ also hears Confessions throughout the day.

Days of Recollection

Typically offered on Saturday, each Day of Recollection offers individuals a chance to expand their understanding of the Church and its teachings on the spiritual theme of the day. Also, there is time for quiet contemplative prayer away from the troubles of the world.

Please consult the Retreat House or Parish website for details including the theme for each specific Day of Recollection.

Vocation Discernment

For those considering diocesan priesthood or a religious vocation in the Church other than with the COSJ, we provide Discernment Days at the COSJ Monastery on a scheduled basis for those within the Archdiocese of San Francisco. There are many who are searching for the time and place to listen to the vocation God is calling them to. Those who would like to take time away from the world and join us at the Monastery in prayer and listening are welcome to request meeting to discuss their vocational choices, inclinations, and preparedness. 

We welcome those in discernment to priesthood or religious life. We have quarterly retreats at the COSJ Monastery for those who would like to have a better understanding of God's call.

Please write to us at 377 Willow Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080; or use the Contact Us page to request information about our next Discernment Day at the COSJ Monastery.

Discernment Retreats

Those discerning a vocation with the Contemplatives of Saint Joseph come here to immerse themselves in a deep life of prayer and to share in our active apostolate. 

Our calling is towards ever-deeper peace and silence, in order that we hear the Word of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the sweet whispers of the Holy Spirit. Our calling embraces our goal which is to love God and our neighbor with all of our heart, soul, spirit and body. Our life is sustained by the foundations of all true spiritual life: faithfulness to the teachings and leadership of the Catholic Church, the ability to enter into silence, humility, love and obedience. It is also important that a man discerning a vocation with the Contemplatives of Saint Joseph

  • be able to live in community
  • have an interest in studying about contemplative spirituality
  • be able to do manual work in support of the monastery, and finally
  • be willing and able to share the fruits of his contemplative life in our prescribed Active Ministry within the Archdiocese of San Francisco

A Discernment Retreat is a way for a man to sample the lifestyle that the Contemplatives of Saint Joseph lead. If a man is interested in joining the COSJ for a discernment retreat he will need to respond to our entry criteria.

Of course, on the Contact Us page, please request a Discernment Retreat Candidate Information form.

Mater Dolorosa Catholic Church

The Contemplatives of Saint Joseph offer Masses in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Latin Rite. Beginning in Advent of 2013, we also have a Healing Mass every First Friday of the month beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy










Parish Missions

The goal of the Contemplatives of Saint Joseph for its parish missions is to create the ambiance for contemplative prayer and to inspire those who attend to realize that they can grow closer to God when they leave for home, no matter what their vocation in the world may be.

A parish mission presents the opportunity for the faith community to recharge itself. It makes available the truly important things like the wonder of God the Father’s love for us, and realization that we are entering into the sacred mystery of Jesus Christ’s intimate indwelling within us, and prayer empowered by the Holy Spirit. At a parish mission led by the COSJ, people reconcile. Faith is awakened. Vocations are discovered. Families are healed. The parish again discovers its ultimate calling and meaning.

A parish mission allows you to take some time to look at your life, values, and direction. It encourages you to ask: “What is really important to me?” “What am I doing with my life?” “What values do I have?” “Where does God fit into my life?” “What does my faith, my Church, mean to me?”

A COSJ Parish Mission is conducted on a weekend during which presentations and teachings of the Church are provided to help the faithful become more centered in prayer, especially contemplative prayer. Confessions are heard during several intervals of the day and night, and spiritual guidance sessions can be arranged by advance appointment.

We include Benediction, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, spiritual talks, and prayers each day.

Parish missions are arranged by the Pastor and the COSJ and advertised in the parish bulletin and on its website.

Catholic Spiritual Life Academy

Often, people who do not have a spiritual director, do not know where to turn for spiritual guidance; they do not feel supported, and they do not feel understood. They are often left floundering and alone Through the Catholic Spiritual Life Academy, which is a radio program found on Immaculate Heart Radio, the COSJ priests' and brothers' teaching, example and friendship will be shared with 1000's of Catholics around the San Francisco Bay Area. During the radio program people will be led to discover a new the richness of our Catholic Faith. This will include teaching on the Sacred Scriptures, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Vatican II Documents, readings from the Catholic contemplative traditions, lessons from the saints, examples of present day Catholic leaders, and Social Justice Doctrine of the Catholic Church. Those who listen will receive the spiritual direction that they have not been able to find at home.

Pro-Life Ministry

The Contemplatives of Saint Joseph are devoted to the public, peaceful expression of our concerns for the right to life from conception to natural death and particularly to change hearts hurt by the sin of abortion. We actively take part in the Annual Walk for Life West Coast which is held in San Francisco each January and encourage our friends and supporters to join us in our showing of commitment and resolve to protect the unborn children of God. The West Coast Walk brings in people from throughout California and from neighboring states to show their support for the sanctity of human life.

Prior to the rally, thoughtful and energizing speeches and the actual walk through downtown San Francisco, we gather our team at our Monastery for prayer and Mass, which also provides us with the opportunity to coordinate our activities that follow the walk through San Francisco.

We return to the Monastery at the conclusion of the walk for presentations, workshops, prayer and community and conclude the day with Mass, Benediction and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

We also participate in the 40 Days for Life events around the Archdiocese of San Francisco and we financially support Pro Life work.

We sincerely hope you will join us in pursuing legislative changes necessary at the state and federal levels though activities of the Archdiocese to advocate for eliminating abortion, euthanasia, and poverty.

Some websites that provide additional information and resources include


The goal of the Contemplatives of Saint Joseph for its retreats is to create the ambiance for contemplative prayer and to inspire those who attend to realize that they can grow closer to God via contemplative prayer no matter what their vocation in the world may be.


Our retreats are offered at retreat houses. During the retreats, the COSJ offers spiritual talks, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, confession, much time for solitude and silence, and guidelines for a continuing on forward on one's spiritual journey.

COSJ retreats are centered on a specific theme that is communicated in advance through the retreat center and featured on their website or other announcements. COSJ retreats are usually held on weekends.

Spiritual Direction

The COSJ offers spiritual direction for priests, seminarians, and nuns. Please write to us at 377 Willow Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080; call us at 650-995-3660; or use the Contact Us page to request specific information.

Spiritual Direction