For centuries convents and monasteries have provided inexpensive lodging and meals to travellers. People are welcomed into the monastic life often with a simple room for the night and a home-cooked meal.
It was no different at Queen of Peace Monastery found on the back road of Squamish. This monastery is the home and place of work and worship for about a dozen Dominican nuns. They live a cloistered existence but are warm and welcoming to the stranger.
During my years in Western Australia I frequently spent a few days at the New Norcia Benedictine Monastery found about 1 1/2 hours drive from Perth. There, the traveller is also welcomed and well fed and invited to join in the monastic rountines.
The nuns and monks consider every person, themselves included, in the monastery to be a guest , since each person somehow has entered into the house of God, a dwelling place of God. The rituals of hospitality just are the outworkings of this concept. The rhythm and life of the nuns and monks is to be respected and preserved. Silences and adherence to the rules of the monastery are to be followed.
To be able to enter into the sense of prayer and peace is wonderful. I am surprised that these places are not over-run with people trying to escape from a busy life. Perhaps the entry into such an unusual community is difficult for some.
I would hope that more places for retreat are made available to the urbanite. It is a particular need in our times.