Historic 17th-century monastery operating as wellness sanctuary for exhausted healthcare workers
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Le Monastère des Augustines is driven by a social purpose to give back by offering respite to caregivers and healthcare professionals
Credit: André Lyra

At a time when healthcare workers and carers are under unimaginable stress, a cultural wellness retreat and spa in Quebec, Canada, is offering them a much-needed time out.

“Le Monastère des Augustines opened to the public five years ago and is driven by a social purpose to give back by offering respite to caregivers and healthcare professionals,” explained Isabelle Duchesneau, executive director of the Healing Hotels of the World member.

Le Monastère occupies the former Hôtel-Dieu de Québec monastery (1695-1755), originally home to the Augustinian Sisters who devoted their lives to helping others in society.

It features a five-treatment-room spa, which Duchesneau describes as a complete haven, where visitors are offered massages, facials, holistic health consultations, daily mindful activities and private meditation and movement sessions.

In 2019, over 100 healthcare workers and 275 health science students participated in various wellbeing activities and retreats at Le Monastère, while over 200 caregivers took advantage of a discounted stay that offered respite and fostered relaxation.

During June and July 2020, the Augustinian sisters – whose average age is over 80 – raised CA$140,000 (€90,126, US$106,540, £81,404) in public donations after hosting a 20-day compassion walk dedicated to helping fund more healthcare workers’ visits to Le Monastère.

“The work accomplished by medical workers during this pandemic is unprecedented, so the sisters felt it was their duty to perpetuate these gestures of mutual aid,” said Duchesneau.

The money raised allowed Le Monastère to create a discounted Solidarity Package costing CA$99 per person per night (€64, US$75, £58), with an actual value of CA$250 (€161, US$190, £145), to welcome more caregivers and healthcare workers.

“We’re dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle, providing personalised guidance, tools and advice to help our guests achieve balance with the four pillars of holistic health – the body, mind, emotions and spirituality,” said Duchesneau.

Le Monastère also offers one-day workshops and personalised two- to seven-day retreats focusing on a host of topics ranging from resilience, femininity and meditation, to mindfulness and compassion.

In her opinion, wellness has an essential role to play in a COVID-19 era: “because mental wellness and physical wellness are key to maintaining our health especially in times of great stress."

To read more about Le Monastère des Augustines, check out the latest issue of Spa Business.

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At a time when healthcare workers and carers are under unimaginable stress, a cultural wellness retreat and spa in Quebec, Canada, is offering them a much-needed time out.
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