Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):


Where does the name of the Institute come from?

An ancient symbol of wisdom, Copper Beech has been revered throughout the centuries for its unique beauty. Used by the Romans to craft paper, the Copper Beech became identified with the process of preserving and entrusting revered wisdom to the next generation. Creating a dense shade with its distinctive copper leaves, this majestic tree provides a place of solitude and sanctuary for all who enter beneath its branches. In parts of Europe, it was customary to plant beeches at crossroads, making Copper Beech a symbol of intersection and decision. This slow growing tree sends out new growth in Autumn even as it surrenders its leaves—a reminder that life and death are constantly comingled. An image of mindfulness practice, the tree’s growth expands outward even as it sinks roots downward. Planted in 1951, four Copper Beech trees thrive on the grounds of Holy Family Retreat Center and Monastery the home of Copper Beech Institute.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is moment to moment non-judgmental awareness. Mindfulness is not something that you have to "get" or acquire. It is an innate capacity already within you--a deep internal resource available and patiently waiting to be released and used in the service of learning, growing, and healing. At Copper Beech Institute, we practice bringing mindful attention into all aspects of life--our speech, listening, eating, loving, resting, working, and playing.

What is meditation?

Meditation is one particular way of cultivating non-judgmental moment to moment awareness. While there are many modes of meditation and yoga that are explored at Copper Beech Institute, mindful breathing and mindful walking as taught by Thich Nhat Hanh and Jon Kabat-Zinn form the heart of our practice.

What other types of meditation are practiced at Copper Beech Institute?

Copper Beech Institute is committed to providing a space for meditation and contemplative practices from varied traditions which cultivate deep awareness and compassion. While the forms of meditation offered at Copper Beech Institute are ever evolving, retreats with the following contemplative practices are most common: Zazen, Yoga, Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Insight Meditation (Vipassana) and Loving-kindness (Metta) Meditation.

What is contemplative practice?

According to writer and contemplative teacher Richard Rohr, contemplation is meeting as much reality as we can handle in its most simple and immediate form, without filters, judgments, and commentaries. Contemplative practice leads to greater ease and stability while cultivating resilience and compassion. The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society offers the following helpful definition: Contemplative practices are practical, radical, and transformative, developing capacities for deep concentration and quieting the mind in the midst of the action and distraction that fills everyday life. This state of calm centeredness is an aid to exploration of meaning, purpose and values. Contemplative practices can help develop greater empathy and communication skills, improve focus and attention, reduce stress and enhance creativity, supporting a loving and compassionate approach to life. Explore the tree of contemplative practices.

Are there regular meditation groups at the Copper Beech Institute?

Yes. We welcome you to join our ongoing weekly community of practice which is open to anyone who would like to learn and practice meditation. Free will offering. View our meditation schedule for beginners and experienced practitioners.

Is Copper Beech Institute a religious organization?

No. Since awareness is an innate capacity of all people, mindfulness practice transcends ethnic, racial, gender, and religious difference. The Copper Beech Institute is a secular organization which seeks to create a safe and healing space where people of various backgrounds—both non-religious and religious feel welcome to experience the transformative and healing dimensions of mindfulness practice. We recognize the important role both sacred and secular contemplative traditions play in creating a more compassionate sustainable world. Therefore, we offer contemplative programs drawing from the wisdom of diverse traditions. 

What is the relationship between Copper Beech Institute and Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center?

Copper Beech Institute is an independent, secular 501(c)3 not for profit organization in West Hartford, Connecticut located on the beautiful grounds of Holy Family Passionist Monastery and Retreat Center which for over sixty years has been a refuge for those seeking quiet, contemplation, and growth. Copper Beech Institute occupies a renovated wing of the facility operating independently from the historic Catholic retreat center. This community at Holy Family, known for its openness, hospitality, and compassion, has eagerly embraced Copper Beech Institute giving it a home among several thriving independent non-profit organizations on its campus. The campus includes an outdoor labyrinth for walking meditation, 48 wooded acres, sculpture and perennial gardens, trails and an outdoor fish pond.

What are the accommodations like and what should I bring?

Learn why so many have found this space to be a tranquil oasis. Learn more…


What is the food like?

Learn more about our Philosophy of food at Copper Beech Institute. 


What is a retreat with Copper Beech’s Master Teachers?

Retreats with Master Teachers offer an experiential and immersive learning experience with leading contemplative teachers from across the world. These retreats also feature daily yoga practice, often have Saturday evening concerts and optional healing arts therapies. The retreat provide creative natural menus, private accommodations and the opportunity nourish and care for yourself during the retreat experience. Learn more about Copper Beech’s Guest Faculty… 


Are there scholarships available?

Yes. Generosity and loving-kindness are at the heart of our mission at Copper Beech Institute. The Boundless Heart Scholarship Fund offers scholarships to programs and retreats through the generosity of our donors. Partial scholarships are available on a sliding scale basis. Funds are limited and not every request can be granted. Click here to submit a scholarship application


How do I get there?

View directions to Copper Beech Institute...

Who can I contact with a question?

You can direct any question to Executive Director, Dr. Brandon Nappi

Cancellation Policy

View the cancellation and refund policy here

Can children and teens attend a retreat at Copper Beech?
Unless indicated in the program description, overnight guests and day workshops attendees at Copper Beech must be at least 18 years of age. Teens 16-17 may attend programs while accompanied by parents at all times. Children under the age of 16 may not attend a retreat at Copper Beech without approval from the program presenter and Copper Beech staff.

In the Spotlight

Solitude and the Virtuous Life 
Arnie Kozak
February 24-26, 2017

Financial Aid Available


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Contact Us

Phone: 860.760.9750 | Fax: 860.521.1929
Email: info@copperbeechinstitute.org

303 Tunxis Road
West Hartford, CT 06107-3119
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