QUAERITUR: retreats

Last night in Z-Chat someone raised a question about good retreats.

This is a good topic for us to discuss.

I think tough times are coming.  Knowing where good retreats are available could be very handy.

Too often people run into weirdos who suggest centering prayer focusing on their pet rock, or crystal, or doing the enneagram, and all that BS.

I have done retreats and I have heard from people what sorts of experiences they have had.

We really need concrete recommendations.  Concrete.  Not off hand comments.

Perhaps you readers can chime in.

We could use solid information based on experience about directed or guided retreats for individuals or groups (just men, just women).

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ASK FATHER Question Box, The future and our choices. Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to QUAERITUR: retreats

  1. Khaled says:

    The Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery, in Petersham Ma, have a great reteat house. I Highly reccomend them. Info about them and their retreat house here- http://www.maronitemonks.org/Mhtm.htm

    Men only.

  2. I have went to two Opus Dei retreats. Both were great. [WHERE?] They were for universitary boys (males and females are never mixed), and it was really great, except for not having the TLM.

    It consists of three days (usually starting on friday night and ending on monday late afternoon), it has daily mass, daily rosary, daily meditations (4), a daily talk by a member of some topic (prayer life, apostolate, mortification and purity are usual topics), a daily reading of some St. Josemaria book (usually sermons of the Saint).

    The retreats are in silence, and during lunch and dinner a spiritual book is read. Las time it was “The Cure of Ars” by Henri Gheon.

    I recomend it. A pity it doesn’t have the TLM, but if there aren’t any other options, I think its the best choice.

  3. Khaled says:

    I should have made clear the retreats at Most Holy Trinity Monastery are for men only,however, anyone may visit the Monastery.

  4. flannerywannabe says:

    Just learned that the Sisters of Life offer non-discernment retreats for married or single laywomen during the summers at Villa Maria Guadalupe in Stamford, CT. I think they also have some planned events that take place there.

  5. Fr Andrew Wadsworth says:

    Liturgical Retreat For Priests and Deacons organised by the Society of St Catherine of Siena.
    25-29 May 2009, Abbaye Ste Madeleine, Le Barroux, France.
    A retreat following the monastic liturgy of this traditional Benedictine community, with two daily spiritual conferences. For further details please email:
    laurence.hemming@caterinati.org.uk

    Fr Andrew Wadsworth,
    Chaplain to the Society of St Catherine of Siena.

  6. alice says:

    How opportune. I am in the process of trying to get my son out of a Kairos retreat with his school. Does anyone know of any retreats for high school students? I would like to be able to suggest an alternative rather than just complaining.

  7. Ohio Annie says:

    St. Meinrad Archabbey, Indiana. Very nice guest house, very well run retreats. They offer individual ones too.

  8. little AMU person says:

    Miles Christi (www.mileschristi.org) offers silent Ignatian retreats all over the country. Visit their website to find a location near you.

    The Order was invited to the US by the late Fr. John Hardon, SJ. and, as I understand, they continue Fr. Hardon’s own ministry of hosting these retreats.

    Very worthwhile. Liturgies are solemnly and reverently celebrated.

  9. Al says:

    I like the stress Father Z puts on “Good Retreats”. For example, my wife and I are new Catholics and went to the Catholic “Marriage Encounter”. This was a “Weird” retreat. For example, in one part of the retreat couples were asked to compare their spouse to material things they like. So I heard one woman get up and talk about how her husband reminds her of “Red Cherry Licorice all moist and chewy”. Emotionalism ruled the day… there was no proper dispensation between The Mind, The Will and The Heart….it was ONLY about the Heart. (Emotions)

    Bottom line it was weirdo liberal land..and I live in a conservative diocese. Please God, I DO NOT want to attend freak shows like this. I agree with Father Z we are going to need more of this. So Discipline, Prayer, Spiritual Exercises, contemplation, whatever just “Orthodox Catholic” please.

    I am a new Catholic and want to attend a Men’s spritual retreat for the lay person. No Weirdos…No Libs…No Pop Psychology…No over-emphasis on “Feelings”…

    Suggestion anyone? Anybody know of anything in the upper northern midwest? I am told http://www.jesuitswisprov.org/demontreville.html outside of Minneapolis at Lake Elmo and http://www.broom-tree.org/retreats.html in Irene South Dakota may be good though the Priest in question I asked sounded a bit unsure.

  10. Two great retreat venues:

    The Community of Saint John: http://www.communityofstjohn.com/

    Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek Monastery: http://www.clearcreekmonks.org/

  11. JJ says:

    I have been to Opus Dei and Miles Christi retreats. I concur with previous posters that they both host excellent retreats. In southern California, I can also highly recommend the Sacred Heart (Carmelite) Retreat House in Alhambra. They primarily offer women’s retreats, but have a few weekends throughout the year set aside for men, married couples, vocational discernment, etc. The priests leading the retreats vary but are always good, holy men, and the retreat house itself (especially the various gardens) is just lovely.

  12. Vicky says:

    Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House, Waverly, NE. Check their schedule for women only or men only retreats.
    http://www.goodcounselretreat.com/

  13. Catherine says:

    The Legionaries of Christ give excellent retreats for men and women, individually. There are especially a number of them for boys and young men who may be discerning a vocation. They are held all over the country. Check them out at legionofchist.org.

  14. TerryC says:

    One purpose of a retreat is to withdraw from the world to spend time contemplating the divine. This can be done many different ways. One important aspect of the experience is the act of leaving the cell phone, computer, land line phone, television, radio and other distractions behind.
    Although there are one day retreats usually a retreat lasts several days (or longer.) Good ones are usually done someplace which is itself somewhat isolated from the secular world, like a retreat house or monastery.
    Good Catholic retreats include Confession and Mass, sometimes the Office.
    A guided retreat will have a facilitator to aid in reaching the goal of becoming more holy. Lots of people do self directed retreats, which can be just as fruitful.
    The most important thing is to leave the world behind and to attempt to approach the divine. To do that prayer, scripture and the writings of our elder siblings, the Saints are all very good paths.

  15. Steve K. says:

    Anything east coast USA/ close to Virginia?

  16. Cricket says:

    New Melleray (Cistercian) Abbey, just outside Dubuque, IA. A young friend discerning a vocation to the priesthood is going there next month. His spiritual director recommended it!

  17. My house, Spring Bank Abbey in Wisconsin, hopes to complete its guesthouse by the late spring or early summer. Till then [:-)] and for folks in the Northeast, I highly recommend the twin Subiaco Benedictine communities in Petersham, MA, which share a joint guest house:

    For men, St. Mary\’s Monastery
    http://www.stmarysmonastery.org/

    For women, St. Scholastica Priory
    http://www.stscholasticapriory.org/

  18. marshall says:

    I can from personal experience wholeheartedly suggest the retreats and days of recollection preached by the priests of the Miles Christi. They are wonderful. http://www.mileschristi.org/

  19. Bob K. says:

    Father could you do a post as to what would be some good books to read at a retreat or home for traditional Catholics. Like Imitation of Christ or one of St Dominic’s writings, etcc. Which books do you like to read?.

  20. Will Riley says:

    In Indiana there is an Opus Dei center called Shelbourne Conference Center right outside of Valparasio. A great place for retreats for either priests or laity.

  21. Kevin says:

    Al @ 1:17pm – The weekend retreats (men only) at the Jesuit Retreat House at Lake Demontreville are good to very good – depends upon the retreat master. The retreat masters are Jesuit priests drawn from Jesuit institutions throughout the Midwest (usually Marquette, Creighton Universities, etc.) They offer the normal 30 day spiritual Excercises in a 3 day weekend format. I think the Jesuit Retreat House staff has a decent record of bringing in mostly orthodox retreat masters.

    You do have to put up with a couple of St. Louis Jesuit songs. (Were there no hymns written by Jesuits prior to or since the St. Louis Jesuits?) Our retreat master last year made the off-hand comment that priests used to say mass “facing the wall.”

    My father has been making an annual weekend retreat at Demontreville for almost 40 years. I joined him about 5 years ago. Quite a few fathers and sons.

  22. Matt says:

    One is hard-pressed to find a retreat house in the KY-Southern Indiana area that doesn’t feature the enneagram, reiki, centering prayer, etc. But there is one: The Passionist Monastery of nuns in Whitesville, KY (the Diocese of Owensboro). Now, unfortunately, Passionist men aren’t known for their orthodoxy but the women are rock solid, still wear their habit, and are cloistered. Check them out at http://www.passionistnuns.org. I am a seminarian and have done two week-long silent retreats there. They have a wing set apart in their monastery as a guest house and it’s newly built with independently controlled central air conditioning and heat in each room. Both retreats were by myself so I ate by myself and prayed on the “lay side” of the chapel during the different hours of the office. You can bring a retreat director with you but they must vet him first for orthodoxy ahead of time. They don’t want any New Age funny business happening in their place. On Mon-Fri they pray Morning Prayer, Mass, Midmorning Prayer, Middday Prayer, Evening Prayer with Adoration, Night Prayer and Office of Readings. They have Midafternoon Prayer and the Divine Mercy Chaplet on Wed and Fri. And Fri also adds the Stations of the Cross and Exposition all morning. Sat and Sun are similar. A retired Msgr. who lives near the property and a diocesan priest offer daily Mass and spiritual direction or confession if needed. Their chapel is a little modern for my taste but the nuns have added many traditional statues and things to make it look nice and holy. Meals are in silence in the guest dining room and if you are alone a kind sister sets out a portion of what the nuns prepared for themselves. The sisters are very hospitable and the food was very good and mindful of the liturgical season (meat during feasts, no meat during Lent and Advent, etc.) There is also a very kind extern sister who helps you get situated in your room, checks in with you after prayer to see if you found the right pages in the breviary, etc, but doesn’t bug you at all. Finally, there is a small room setup as a chapel in the guest wing where the Blessed Sacrament is reposed in a tabernacle for 24/7 adoration. They also have an impressive guest library for spiritual reading with many classic first editions from Fulton Sheen, Garrigou-Lagrange, et al and Ignatius Press offerings.

  23. Charlotte says:

    Al,
    Worldwide Marriage Encounter is NOT a retreat. (See above post by Terry C. for definition of “retreat.”) It’s an intimacy-building “encounter” weekend for Catholics AND non-Catholics alike. For many who attend, they don’t know how to communicate worth a darn with their spouses, and thus, the “touchy-feely” exercises there. It is a vast misrepresentation to characterize those exercises as promoting/comparing people to objects and materials. Participants are asked to liken their feelings to something more tangible and concrete so that their spouse can better conceive of what their partner feels like. For some participants, even coming up with a statement as simple as “When you hang up on me, I feel like a kid who just had a balloon ripped out of their hand,” is a MONUMENTAL task that takes the entire weekend to learn how to do.

    The point of Worldwide Marriage Encounter is NOT an encounter with the Catholic Church or Christ (even while focusing your marriage through the lens of the Church is encouraged.) Rather, it’s supposed to be an encounter with your spouse and marriage. An even cursory look into Worldwide Marriage Encounter would fully illuminate that it’s more marriage-focused, rather than being focused on spiritual growth and holiness, etc. There’s a difference – and that difference is not a bad thing in and of itself. Worldwide Marriage Encounter is only a BEGINNING springboard for many Catholcis to realize that the Church can and should be an integral part of marriage.

    I have found that the participants who continue to attend and get involved with Worldwide Marriage Encounter “Community,” after their weekend is over, tend to be excellent Catholics, and in fact, some of them are quite conservative/orthodox in their viewpoints.

    Worldwide Marriage Encounter is alot like the Cursillo experience. It’s not for everyone, but for many, it’s a starting place. I can’t tell you how many conservative, homeschooling Catholics I know initially got excited about their faith through Cursillo. They are able to see how it helped them back then, even while they have grown and moved on from that point.

    Yes, Worldwide Marriage Encounter is about as far from an Ignatian retreat as one can get. But for some, that’s what they need, and sometimes, God meets you where you are.

  24. CBM says:

    I follow the Movement of Communion and Liberation (CL) and am a priest and pastor of the Archdiocese of Miami. Four of the female Memores Domini of CL care for the Holy Father in the Papal Apartment and Cardinal Ratzinger was the Papal Delegate and preacher at the funeral of Don Giussani in February 2005.
    Each year we have a retreat for priests during the Octave of Easter (preached by Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete). In addition to fulfilling the canonical requirement (days and sacraments) our retreats always take place in physical places of historical importance for the Church in the USA (we always visit a shrine) and bring elements of Sacred Art and Music (Beauty) and priestly fraternity into the mix This year it will be in Philadelphia. All of the information can be found at the CL USA website.
    Fr. Chris Marino

  25. Mark M says:

    From my own (limited) personal experience:

    1) find a good Priest and ask him to lead a group on a short guided retreat;

    and/or

    2) find a good old-fashioned monastery to go to.

    For example, in the UK I would recommend Pluscarden Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in the far north. http://www.pluscardenabbey.org/

    Firstly, it seems isolated, which I think is important to foster the sense of being in an “other place”, i.e. your retreat isn’t the same as going to your mate’s house. Secondly, although the Liturgy is post-Conciliar, it is all in Latin – including Latin Divine Office (8 times a day, permissible!) and prayed with what one would call a hermeneutic of continuity. :D

    Though I did like my visit to Douai too, but the strictness of Pluscarden is actually rewarding.

    3) Go on retreat at least once a year; don’t put it off. Take a good book, but not too many. Be focussed.

  26. Nicholas says:

    The FSSP does Ignatian retreats for groups of men and groups of women. They are led by the Rev. James Buckley, FSSP, who is director of spirituality at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, NE. Last year a first set was held in July, I believe, at the seminary, while a second set was held in August at St. Benedict Abbey in Still River, MA. I’m not sure about this year; nothing appears to be available yet online. Fr. Buckley is an amazing retreat master; his grasp of Catholic tradition is astounding. I learned things about prayer and spirituality and the nature of a truly Catholic life that I had never heard of. It was transformative, and has yielded palpable fruit in my own spiritual life.

  27. Anne-France says:

    I would like to distinguish retreats with the EF Mass and the NO Mass. As an example: FSSP retreats have the traditional Mass. For me it’s important.

    I would not recommend any of the retreats given by the Legionaries of Christ.I am very familiar with the in and out of the order, the retreats are a form of propaganda for their movement, and they check out who will be good for the Regnum Christi movement. They claim to have Ignatian retreats, they are NOT. With their founder being who he was, (more will come from the Vatican) I would stay away from the LC retreats.

  28. Ohio Annie says:

    More St. Meinrad details:

    The guest house is brand new and everything is wheelchair accessible, including the archabbey church. The rooms are on the opposite side of the guest house from the church so those who don’t wish to attend matins and lauds won’t be awakened by the bells bells bells bells…

    The bells have been refurbished. They are tuned to a Native American scale and sound very nice.

    Rooms are comfortable with handicapped accessible showers in each. Two twin beds, a nice writing desk and lamp and reading chair are provided. Individually controlled air conditioning and heat is provided.

    The food is served in a cafeteria which has a glass door into a separate section for those on silent retreat. They make an effort to accommodate food allergies, etc.

    I have been there on an oblate retreat, one overnight, and one weekend by myself which happened to coincide with graduation day at the seminary.

    Confession is available and there is Mass every day. About a third of the men there are priests. I think if you needed the anointing of the sick you could get that too. Prayer in choir is 4 times a day. It is in English with the St. Meinrad psalm tones.

    The archabbey church is an odd mixture of old and new but it grows on you. I go and talk to my buddy, St. Meinrad, the martyr of hospitality. There is a large relic in a triptych by one of the entrances to the adoration chapel.

    The tabernacle is in a separate chapel, as this church is one that attracts sightseers. Tours of the church are given.

    Visitors can also access the seminary library, a new building that looks as if the mother ship has landed and embedded itself in the hillside.

    The cemetery is very nice and peaceful. The body of Martin Marty was exhumed a few years ago in St. Cloud and brought back to St. Meinrad. Everybody is buried there, from the first generation of monks to the present.

    Prices are reasonable, room and board runs about 55 dollars a day. 3-day retreats are $375 for two people, and about $250 for one.

  29. Ohio Annie says:

    I forgot to mention there are numerous shrines throughout the grounds and in the woods.

  30. Michael says:

    I know that Opus Dei gives retreats a few times a year at most of their centers. I know for sure there there are centers in South Bend, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and New York, and I think there is one in Boston. There are definitely some out West as well. Their website most likely has a way of finding centers in a particular area. They give excellent formation and that all-important retreat feeling.

    They also do some darn good OF masses.

  31. Josh says:

    Opus Dei offers great retreats including those directed towards high school students, college students, and priests. They are silent retreats with an ample opportunities for confession, daily mass, spiritual direction, and silence. Here are some web addresses below. Retreat season for the Opus Dei retreats is the spring (there are almost no retreats in the fall), so this the perfect time to sign up.

    Valparaiso, Indiana http://www.shellbourne.org/

    Pembroke, Massachusetts http://www.arnoldhall.com/

    Shulenberg, Texas http://www.featherock.org/

    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania http://www.warwickhouse.org/

    San Francisco, Californnia http://www.charwick.org/?page_id=139
    http://www.chestnutcenter.org/retreats07.htm

    There are also retreats in New York City and Washington DC, but I could not find the web addresses.

  32. Stephanie says:

    Al – My boss (Fr. Jim Kubicki) does retreats at Broomtree and Demontreville (and Oshkosh – all over the midwest and then some) – I can’t vouch for everyone who gives a retreat at those places, but I can vouch for him. His retreats and things are listed at http://www.apostleshipofprayer.org/events …hope this helps!

  33. jennifer evancho says:

    For Communion and Liberation you can go to the website and find a contact in your area and see when the next spring retreat is for laity.

    In Santa Barbara the next one I believe is June 4,5,6 (the weekend.) At the mission.
    jenne

  34. jennifer evancho says:

    Also, Fr Doug in Scottsdale in Saint Maria Gorretti has Thursday evening mass and teachings – find their website and you’ll get more info if you live in the area. I went over 8 years ago to his talks at another parish and he is solid teaching.
    jenne

  35. Stephen B says:

    For the UK,

    I’ve been on an excellent retreat with Opus Dei in Sussex:
    http://www.wickendenmanor.org.uk/

    And a friend who has been to their other centre in Manchester says it’s just as good:
    http://www.thornycrofthall.org.uk/

    They have mostly English liturgy but the atmosphere is peaceful yet focused and there’s never any doubt about their orthodoxy.

    To echo Mark M above, Pluscarden Abbey is fantastic – although mainly for solitary prayer, as it’s not guided.
    http://www.pluscardenabbey.org

  36. Though it wasnt an official retreat, IE “We are having a retreat bring your bus load”, my wife and I took a private retreat to St Bernard Abbey, in Culman Alabama. They are a benedictine house (not cistercian as one would guess from the name), and they do have an active visitor ministry. Its in the mountains, so the summers are a little more reasonable. The Abbey church is wonderful, and the Abbey itself sits on an immense property, with lots of areas to be alone with yourself and God. There is no set fee, they ask for a minimum donation of 40 dollars a night to accommodate expenses. We stayed two nights and left them alot more then that, but that’s also because I have a certain admiration for the benedictines. Also the food isnt half bad, though To keep schedule, and be at meals on time, you really have to follow the office during the day (which isnt necessarily so bad, if you dont mind getting up at 5:30 am for Lauds and Matins)

    Also there is the Ave Maria grotto, a wonderful sculpture garden of various religious monuments, made by now deceased Br. Joseph.

    http://www.stbernardabbey.com is the web address

    I personally dont go on group retreats alot, the ones I have been on have always been too much like work, so it defeats the purpose to me. I would rather be moved to pray, then coralled in a room and told to pray and have to talk about it. I guess thats good for some people, I prefer to actually be on “retreat”

    They also do provide the standard retreat too, if you have a group. I am not too sure on the details of it, I know there is a retreat house, but my wife and I more or less just stayed in the abbey itself for the time we were there, you actually stay in the monastery itself if you are a private guest.

  37. Al says:

    Charlotte,

    I’m glad it works for some people. My wife and I both found it weird. The men at the “Encounter” looked extremely uncomfortable and were to afraid to say anything negative about it, probably for fear of incurring the wrath of a spouse or someone else. (Some of the wives looked uncomfortable too I might add.) I found the marriage encounter approach way to touchy-feely and to steeped into emotions. Once again, as taught to me by an orthodox Priest the correct application of the human spirit is the alignment of the heart with the will and the mind. The three in one work together. When these three go out of alignment is when problems start.

    So to me, the marriage encounter, represented everything I dislike about the touchy-feeling modern “spiritualism” one finds in everything from pop culture to contemporary liturgical services….all Kumbayah, bongos, and Oprah-esque, to singing songs during Eucharist about “Taking Jesus as a Lover”. The entire session was very effeminate which if you haven’t noticed we have way too much of in contemporary pop culture and the greater society. It specifically does not speak or seek to understand the hearts of men whom God created equal but most definitely differently than women to achieve “Effective Communication”. To me it only reinforced that men should adopt more feminine values and approaches and abandon masculine values, which underneath it all did not appear to have a place in a Christian household or marriage. Yes it was about communication and Yes we did not attend the further sessions but that was because we did not like the first sessions.

    I am doing a poor job of being humble about this and I do mean to be. But, I am also tired of the relentless drum beat in society that tells men to act more like women. To my mind, the marriage encounter is another cut in the greater death-by-a-thousand-cuts-scenario. If you think I am over-reacting, look around. Try this video by “Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America” if you don’t believe me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XgPsW82nr8&feature=related

    God Bless you Charlotte but I did not like it, found it outdated, and would not recommend it to others.

    My apologies for comparing the “Worldwide Marriage Encounter” with a “Retreat”, small semantic mistake on my part. You are right it was not a retreat.

    I think the Worldwide Marriage Encounter requires a new way or program to advance its important mission to strengthen marriages.

  38. Melanie says:

    Immaculate Heart Retreat Center, grounded in the Catholic tradition, provides opportunities for spiritual growth to all people on their journey toward God, in an atmosphere of prayer and reflection.

    6910 South Ben Burr Road
    Spokane, WA 99223
    Phone: (509) 448–1224
    Fax: (509) 448-1623
    Web page: http://www.ihrc.net

    March 27-29
    Immaculate Heart of Mary Retreat

    Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church

    Join the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church and learn about the devotion and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. There will be conferences, a history of the devotion, reflections, prayers, a panel discussion and a procession. Included will be Total Consecration (St. Louis de Montfort), the brown scapular, the rosary, First Saturdays and prayer.
    Cost $140 per person, $90 for commuters

  39. Henry Peyrebrune says:

    Cleveland will have its first Opus Dei retreat for men on May 1-3. There are also OD retreats in Pittsburgh – http://www.warwickhouse.org.

  40. Gil Garza says:

    Opus Dei retreats in Texas http://www.featherock.org. http://www.arnoldhall.com Opus Dei retreats in Boston. http://www.shellbourne.org Opus Dei retreats in Chicago. Other Opus Dei retreat centers are in Miami, New York, San Francisco and DC.

  41. Barnabas says:

    I would recommend the Abbey of the Genesee in Piffard, NY. It is a Trappist monastery. I went there for a retreat my senior year in college, at a time I was really questioning my faith. My participation in chanting the hours did so much to help me along. They also have amazing bread, especially the maple cinnamon.

    http://www.geneseeabbey.org/

    I live outside of Washington, DC and was looking for a retreat to make sometime in the near future. I found this and I’m hoping to give this a shot as well (Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, VA): http://www.hcava.org/

  42. MAP says:

    I recommend Spiritual Exercises according to the method of St. Ignatius preached by the fathers of Miles Christi.
    They have spiritual talks, time for personal prayer, Exposition and Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Rosary, Holy Mass, all in silence.

    Yoy may want to check this web site:
    http://www.mileschristi.org

  43. Tim Jakubisin says:

    I have gone to Opus Dei, Marianist, Franciscan and Jesuit retreats over the years. For the past 17 years I have attended Opus Dei retreats. They are silent and men only. (There are also women only my wife attends). Occasionally I have been able to attend a men’s retreat at Shelbourne near Valparaiso while my two of my high school age sons attended an high school retreat in a separate building on the Shelbourne grounds at the same time. That was great, lots of time on the drive there and back to have dialogue. Now they attend the college mens Opus Dei retreat. There is one scheduled in Pittsburgh the weekend of February 27th that one of boys will be on. You can find out about Opus Dei retreats by writing info@opusdei.org These are great silent retreats for serious people who want excellent formation. They are said by a priest of Opus Dei, there is another member of Opus Dei as a retreat director. The retreats don’t waste any time, the schedule includes traditional Catholic elements, Mass, Stations of the Cross, Rosary, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Confession…

  44. Maureen says:

    Al –

    I suspect that a lot depends on who is running these Marriage Encounter things. There are some people who can make even fairly banal things work and seem original, and other people who can make even the sharpest, most interesting program seem drippy. I know that Julie D from Happy Catholic runs something similar in her parish, and it sounds like she has lots of cool things for men to do.

    Of course, the other problem with all retreats is that a lot of us really long for total quiet, a lot of prayer and adoration, and wandering in the woods. Other people like the more chatty retreats. Unfortunately, the obligatory retreat before Confirmation in my parish was one of the chatty kinds (and co-ed to boot!), which kinda put me off retreats. I had no clue that the other kind still existed; I thought only the camp counselor kind could be found, because that was the only kind ever offered by my campus parish or my parishes after college.

    Of course, since I don’t have a car, it doesn’t matter what kind of retreats are being offered. Being isolated and far from anywhere is not good for those of us with no way to get somewhere isolated. :)

  45. Mary says:

    The Community of St. John has excellent retreats, for various groups. They have them in the US in Princeville, IL and Larado, TX. The main website is http://www.stjean.com and you can find both houses from there. The Mass is the NO but the most reverent not “ad orientem” I have ever seen. Also since the release of SP many of the Fr.’s are now saying Mass ad orientem. They often use many Latin Mass parts, too. I just went on a retreat w/2 conferences a day on Christmas, during the Octave. It was wonderful. They might have some men-only retreats, but otherwise it’s all mixed, though the ladies stay with the Sr.s in their guesthouse while the gentlemen are housed by the Br.s who actually put on the retreats. I have two friends who joined the community (one Sr. one Br.) so say hi to everyone down there if you go!

  46. Maryhill says:

    You want Holy, we have Holy. Maryhill Renewal Center, Pineville, Louisiana, Diocese of Alexandria, LA. Your demand will influence our more frequent provision of TLM, silent retreats, and the like. You want Holy, we have Holy.

  47. Anthony says:

    Without going into a whole host of specifics, I have to second Anne-France’s recommendation: avoid the Legionaries of Christ. You’ll find, when you get right down to it, that all of the controversy surrounding their organization is well founded.

  48. Janet says:

    http://www.sisterservants.com/sisters.html

    This retreat house is loosely affiliated with EWTN, and is located just a mile or so from them.
    The sisters are a cross of Franciscan and Dominican.
    Retreat house is called Casa Maria. I’ve been on retreat there, and it’s worthwhile.

  49. Pam says:

    I recommend Miles Christi retreats. Their first house is in Michigan and they are starting one in San Diego CA. but they give retreats all over the country. Separate for men and women. Silent. Awesome. Here is their website: http://www.mileschristi.org/.

    I have also gone to Opus Dei retreats. Also silent. Excellent teaching, reverent. Both are wonderful. If you know anyone in Opus Dei ask them about their retreats. They don’t seem to be publicized. But perhaps you could enquire at http://www.opusdei.us/
    I highly recommend either one or both

  50. Trad-man says:

    http://defidecatholica.blogspot.com/

    Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
    Given by Father Gordon and Father Demets, FSSP
    at Subiaco Abbey (Arkansas)

    - Ladies (17 +) : March 23rd – 26th

    - Men (17+) : April 13th – 16th

  51. Scott says:

    Catholic Familyland has men’s retreats, women’s retreats and family retreats. They are orthodox and in communion with Rome. Cardinal Arinze will be there this summer.
    familyland.org

  52. Aaron Traas says:

    The point of Worldwide Marriage Encounter is NOT an encounter with the Catholic Church or Christ

    Then it is completely useless. Marriage has no meaning if it does not lead both spouses to Christ, or if it fails to imitate the holy family. Marriage is for the sanctification of the spouses, and for the rearing of children. Any other effect of marriage, even the good ones, are tertiary in importance at best.

    I say this as a married man who loves his wife very much.

  53. Tom says:

    I recommend:
    Mount Angel Abbey, Mount Angel, OR (great surroundings, decent liturgy, away from town)
    St. Peter Monastery, Solesmes FR (excellent liturgy, away from town)
    St. Joseph du Clairval Abbey, Flavigny, FR (excellent liturgy, room to roam, secluded)
    Community of St. John, Princeville, IL (good liturgy, some room to roam, away from town)

  54. Tom says:

    Another great place, though I don’t know how “open to the public” it is, or how many people they can accommodate: Community of St. John’s “desert” in the Cols de Tourettes, France. It’s a hermitage, and I would imagine they can only accommodate one or two people at a time. It would be for strictly private/personal/silent retreats. In the French Alps and just about as secluded as you can get in France I would think. Contact the Community of St. John in Princeville, IL (or elsewhere if you know them) for information.

  55. Tom says:

    Another very interesting place, for private retreats only, or small family groups, as their guest house is a little old farmhouse, is Our Lady of the Rock Priory, on Shaw Island, in Washington State. Benedictine nuns, Latin liturgy (OF as far as I know), interesting place. Very small, very secluded, you can walk around the island, the only way to get on the island is by ferry, and there are only about 100 residents on the island. The ferry terminal used to be run by Franciscan sisters in habits, though sadly I don’t think this is the case any longer.

  56. Nora C says:

    Any thoughts on the Youth2000 retreats? My 12 y.o. is interested.

  57. irishgirl says:

    Janet-Casa Maria is not really associated with EWTN. Mother Angelica founded the Sister Servants with Mother Mary Gabriel, the current Superior. But there were problems between the network and the community (see Raymond Arroyo’s biography of Mother Angelica) so there is no ‘connection’.

    They have retreats with priests who have been/are EWTN program hosts, however.

    I haven’t been on a real retreat since I was in the Third Order Discalced Carmelites (1999). Here in the Syracuse diocese there are only two retreat houses-one diocesan (used to be Jesuit) and one run by the Franciscan Sisters (they’ve gone weird).

    Wish we could have retreats by the FSSP! But I have no job and no money to afford to go to any of their retreats. The closest I’ve ever seen them advertized is in Maryland-too far for me!

  58. Chris from St. Mary's says:

    Steve K.,

    Miles Christi does offer retreats in Fort Valley, Va. and Emmitsburg, Md.

  59. I, too, love Maryhill in central Louisiana. I made my pre-priesthood retreat there and have remained a staunch believer in the spiritual life there!

  60. John says:

    Aaron Traas:

    Whoa buddy! Put it back in the holster!

    I am a married man who loves my wife very much too. In fact, it is her words you are misconstruing in coming out against Worldwide Marriage Encounter.

    Let me quote your comments.

    “Then it is completely useless.” – No, it has been very helpful to me and my wife in opening up daily communication, fostering honesty, and building togetherness in fighting life’s battles. NONE OF THIS IS AGAINST YOUR FAITH, AARON.

    “Marriage has no meaning if it does not lead both spouses to Christ, or if it fails to imitate the holy family.” – yes, but you’re missing the point. WWME does not stand in the way of both spouses being led to Christ. And how does good communication not imitate the Holy Family? Do you suppose Mary and Joseph did not spend time listening to each other and communicating? That is exactly what the Encounter teaches, and to intimate that its lessons and exercises somehow lead people away from their faith or any precepts of the Church is disingenuous and completely FALSE.

    “Marriage is for the sanctification of the spouses, and for the rearing of children. Any other effect of marriage, even the good ones, are tertiary in importance at best.” – And how, my friend Aaron, is open and honest communication practiced on a daily basis, in any way opposed to sanctification and all the other good stuff you mention? Aaron, it is not opposed, it is integral and essential to same!

    Please, please stop knocking Worldwide Marriage Encounter. It is inappropriate. It is a movement used by God to help marriages be strong.

    Thank you for considering the points in this loving admonition.