Where We’ve Come From

In the early 1920s, the Jesuits of Northern California were seriously discussing founding a new retreat center. Word came to them that a property in Los Altos was available and they bought it almost on first sight, intending to convert the property’s main structure into a retreat house.The first renovation was the conversion of the billiards room into the chapel — and it was there that the first Mass was celebrated on March 15, 1925.

San Francisco Archbishop Edward Hanna enthusiastically supported the retreat center and it was he who suggested the nameEl Retiro San Iñigo — the St. Ignatius Retreat.

The center quickly outgrew the original house, and so twelve more acres were purchased and the building process began. Loyola Hall, the primary residence and meeting space, was completed in 1927; Rossi Chapel followed the next year.

After World War II, twenty-two more acres were acquired and these included the large house on top of the hill — now called St. Robert’s Hall. Back down the hill, Pereira Hall was completed in 1947 and provided the large dining room with the sweeping view of the entire valley.

Three more retreatant residences — St. Robert’s Annex (1951), Marini Hall (1958), and St. Joseph’s Hall (1959) — completed the housing construction. In the meantime, the many paths and shrines throughout the property were built and maintained by a large corps of volunteers.

Just as in 1925, the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola are foundational in all that we do. We live by the Ignatian norm that calls us to find God in all things; to discover where God will best be served and where people will best be helped; to show love in deeds and not just in words.

We work and pray every day to help our retreatants and ourselves accomplish this.