*Due to the COVID-19 health concerns, we have canceled the retreats. We will reschedule as soon as possible. If you would like to be on the notification list, please email us here.

Selah Retreat: Pause, Reflect, Discover Meaning

Fully Inhabited Grief: A contemplative retreat for traumatic bereavement in breathtaking Sedona, Arizona

The Selah Retreat is the MISS Foundation’s contemplative retreat for bereaved parents. The 4-day retreat, located near beautiful Sedona Arizona, is led by our experienced facilitators who work with attendees on fully inhabiting their grief. It’s a time to pause, reflect and discover meaning. The retreat provides a supportive, safe environment for attendees to be with a community of other bereaved parents who have experienced similar traumatic loss.

Retreat Itinerary

Thursday | Evening Welcome & Introductions
  • 2 pm-5 pm – Arrival and check in, meet and greet
  • 5:30 pm – Dinner
  • Begin 7:30 pm – Contemplative instruction, retreat etiquette
  • 7:45 pm – Meditative movement
  • 8:00 pm-10:00 pm – To pause, reflect, and find meaning in grief: Introductions and large group exercise by the healing fire circle
  • 10:00 pm-10:20pm – Contemplative prayer/meditation
Friday | Being with Grief
  • How to be with our grief: Contemplative instruction
  • Pause and attune, small group exercise/dyads
  • Lunch
  • This moment of grief: Meditative movement
  • Intentional solitude and grief exercise
  • Loving ourselves through grief: Small group self-compassion and care exercise
  • Dinner
  • Heartful and mindful mourning: Evening colloquy (talk)
  • Walk of Courage: Starlight solitude lake meditation
Saturday | Surrendering to Grief
  • Surrendering to grief: Small group exercise
  • Turning toward grief: Contemplative instruction
  • Lunch
  • Waking up to grief: Meditative movement
  • Turning toward the other: Creative prompt
  • Dinner
  • Re-member-ing our dead: Contemplative instruction
  • Trusting the Wisdom of Grief: Sunset evening colloquy
Sunday | Doing with Grief
  • Doing with grief: Deep listening small group exercise and exchange
  • Being called to compassionate action: Large group exercise
  • Lunch
  • Moving toward the other: Meditative movement
  • Closing colloquy
  • Silent lake circumambulation
“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence."
Henry David Thoreau

Leading the Retreat

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, Founder

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore is the founder of the MISS Foundation and the Center for Loss & Trauma. She is a research professor at Arizona State University and author of many peer reviewed articles, book chapters, and books. Her life changed in 1994 when her newborn daughter died.
Karla Helbert, Facilitator

Karla Helbert, LPC is a MISS Foundation facilitator, award winning author, and bereaved mother with a private practice in Richmond. She is a certified yoga teacher and an aromatherapist. In 2013, she published the book “Finding your own way to grieve” on creativity, grief, and autism. In 2015, her book Yoga for Grief and Loss: Poses, Meditation, Devotion, Self-Reflection, Selfless Acts, Ritual was published by Singing Dragon Publishers.
Ashley Santi, Facilitator

Ashley Santi, LMSW, is a bereaved mother and MISS Foundation facilitator, HOPE mentor, and volunteer. She currently is employed by two hospitals as a hospital social worker.

Price and Location

The retreat will be held in breathtakingly beautiful Sedona, Arizona at the Sedona Mago Retreat CenterThis retreat is not affiliated with the Sedona Mago Center.

The registration fees include lodging for 3 nights/four days, all meals, retreat fee and materials/supplies. A shared-room fee is $630 per person, private room fee is $830 per person. Please plan to arrive by 2pm on Thursday and depart at 2pm on Sunday.  Register online.

To foster a fully present experience, we ask that all electronic devices remain in your cars, outside of the retreat. Participants must remain at the center and participate in all aspects of the program. When you are registered, more information regarding transportation, accommodations, and the retreat will be sent within several days. This retreat is appropriate for secularists and people of all faith traditions. Please note, this retreat involves walking throughout the Sedona Mago campus and along hiking trails and may be difficult for people with mobility problems.


Payments may be made online at the end of your registration or by check to MISS Foundation, c/o Kelli Montgomey, P.O. Box 9195, Austin TX 78766. For payment questions, please email us here. Your registration will be complete and your space secured once your payment has been made in full. Space is limited. We do not offer any refunds after the registration deadline. There are no refunds for withdrawals once a program has begun. If you would like a shared room and do not have a roommate, we will pair you with another attendee. Thank you!

For more information or questions about the retreat, please contact us here.

Selah: A Contemplative Retreat – Frequently Asked Questions

When should I arrive?

Please arrive on Thursday by dinner time for the retreat. However, Sedona is easily one of the world’s most beautiful and popular travel destinations. If you can schedule your extended vacation around the retreat, we highly recommend it. Things to see and do in Sedona include hiking, mountain biking, Palatki and Honanki ruins, jeep tours, helicopter tours, cave exploring, camping, Slide Rock, hiking in creeks and mountains, and so much more!

What about phones and electronic devices?

We would prefer you leave all electronic devices and phones in your vehicles. In case of emergency, you can be reached at (928) 204-3391 in case of an emergency during a retreat. This number is to be used only in the case of an emergency.

What if I don’t get in on time to register? How does a waiting list work?

Once the retreat fills, we will begin a waiting list. As we have cancellations for a retreat, we will offer the spots to those on the waiting list. Once a spot becomes available in the retreat, the next person on the waiting list will be contacted. At that time, we will give you a deadline by which we will need you to respond, or we will move onto the next person on the waiting list. The week leading up to the retreat, we will need a very quick response.

Can I attend only a day?

Because of the nature of this event, please plan to attend the entire retreat.

What time do the retreats start and end?

Please arrive at Sedona Mago between 2:00 and 5:30 pm on Thursday. The retreat will end around 2pm on Sunday.

What is a typical retreat day like?

The itinerary is available above

What is the nearest airport?

The nearest airport is Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport which is approximately 2.5 hours away.

Are there shuttles from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport?

Arizona Shuttle (1-800-888-2749)  provides transportation to the Sedona Mago Retreat Center for a fee. It is recommended you make your shuttle reservations with Arizona Shuttle at least 4 days prior to your arrival. The shuttle will bring you from the Phoenix airport to the Retreat Center when you arrive and pick you up on from the retreat center when you depart (you need to book this in advance).

Also check out these shuttle services.

How to do drive to Sedona Mago Retreat?

Please visit the driving directions page for detailed instructions or view the driving maps. Or, you can park at the welcome center and the SMR van will pick you up.

What is included as part of the retreat programs/training programs?

The 4-day retreat, room accommodations during the length of the program, and three meals a day are included. Rooms are shared, and if you would like a private room for an extra fee, that option is available on the application form. Couples will be automatically placed in the same room. Please note you are a couple on your registration.

How are the meals?

Meals are delicious, creative, and amazing and are served buffet style in the dining hall three times a day. The menu is vegetarian and pesco-vegetarian, which means they serve fish and seafood options. Many of the vegetables and fruits served are from the organic gardens on the grounds.

Is there laundry service?

There is a self-service laundry room that is operated by quarters. Laundry detergents are also available for purchase.

What is the weather like?

The retreat location is in breathtaking Sedona, Arizona and is located in the high desert at 4,500-feet altitude. Typical desert weather is warm in the day, with dropping temperatures at night. There may be strong winds that can help with the warm temperatures, but which also circulate dust and pollen in the air.

Is the retreat specific to any certain religious or spiritual tradition?

No. This retreat is intended for any person, secular or from any faith background, who is suffering with traumatic grief after the death of their Beloved. Most retreatants will have experienced the death of a baby, child, teenager, or adult child, by any cause.

How are the accommodations?

The retreat accommodations include casita-style guest rooms that are shared or private and decorated in a style conducive for relaxation and meditation. To maintain an environment conducive for meditation, the rooms do not have televisions or phones.

Can I bring my pet?

We do not allow pets, although service animals are allowed.

What should I bring to a retreat?

The climate is changeable, so bring a variety of loose, comfortable, casual, layered clothing. Bring outdoor walking shoes as well as slip-on shoes. Bring hat and sunscreen in the spring/summer and/or rain gear in the fall/winter for outdoor walking. A flashlight and zafu or meditation pillow is a good idea. Please do not bring scented perfumes or lotions. You may also want to bring a jacket or shawl. It’s a good idea to bring ear plugs if you’re sensitive to noise. Please bring tissues, a few pens or pencils, notebook or journal, and photos of your loved one.

What if I don’t have any experience with meditation or contemplative prayer?

The retreat includes brief periods of meditation/prayer instruction woven throughout a carefully crafted program to teach mindfulness to the traumatically bereaved. This retreat will work for both beginners and advanced practitioners.

Who should attend?

This retreat is geared for bereaved parents and is only for adults who are traumatically bereaved. The time since death does not matter though this environment may not be suitable for persons who are bereaved within a few weeks. Children under the age of 18 are not suitable for this retreat.

When do I need to pay for the retreat?

Payment for retreat is due at the time you register.

What do I do if I need to cancel?

Send an email to us here as you know you’ll have to cancel. There is a cancellation fee of $100 if made by April 4, 2020. There are no refunds for any reason for cancellations made after April 4, 2020. Please save your email and if you do not receive a cancelation notice back within 48 hours, please call us with your intent to cancel at 602-279-6477.

There are no refunds for cancellations after a specified date, or for withdrawals once a program has begun.

Can I pay by credit card?

Yes you may pay by credit card through online registration


Here is a peak of the healing and warmth that takes place during our retreats.

Register for the Retreat


Our Compassionate Bereavement Care® Providers are located in cities throughout the world. They receive specialized training in traumatic grief and compassionate care.