Question: retreats for women

Does anyone know of any places/houses, etc., where really good retreats are offered for women?  Women only?

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  1. Amy says:

    Have you tried the Casa Maria retreat house in Alabama?

  2. Matthew says:

    Bishop Williamson (SSPX) is on record as saying that he doesn’t think women have souls!! How on earth can a woman get a good retreat from that sort of theology???

  3. Opus Dei run “gender-specific” retreats. In New England, check out Arnold Hall in Pembroke, Massachusetts. In Manhattan, Check out the Murray Hill Conference Center. In New Jersey, check out Southmont House near Seton Hall University (though here you’re more likely to get Days of Recollection rather than extended retreats).

  4. Fr. Andrews says:

    Broomtree retreat center in South Dakota offers retreats for women only.

  5. Ken says:

    If the lady leans traditional, rather than merely conservative, I would receommend against Opus Dei / Legionaries of Christ centers and instead wait for an FSSP retreat. Females have said great things after Father Buckley’s retreats:

  6. I give five birettas to both Casa Maria in Alabama (near EWTN) run by the Sister Servants AND to Anold Hall in Pembroke, MA run by Opus Dei.

    The Prelature also has retreat houses in Chicago, Houston and San Francisco where retreats are given to one gender at a time.

  7. As Father Trigilio mentioned, Opus Dei is a very good option. Usually they have a lot of retreats on this season, which include total silence, daily mass, daily rosary, four daily medidations made by a priest, and much more. Of course, there is no mix of genders.

    So… contact the nearest Opus Dei centre. They can help.

  8. Charivari Rob says:

    Within a couple of hours of Boston, there are numerous small to medium size retreat centers.

    I’ve mostly dealt with them in the context of going with a group. You have a group of a certain size, you book a retreat center with enough meeting space (and dorm space – if you’re doing an overnight) for your group. You find one of the right size, far enough in advance, you can simply book it for your group exclusively for the given date(s).

    With larger centers and/or smaller groups, you’ll end up sharing space with another group. Any good retreat center that would book two or more groups at the same time will have enough meeting room/classroom space that you won’t be bumping into each other, but you will probably be sharing mealtime.

    Most of these places seem to operate with the presumption that a group would be bringing its own retreat leader along.

    If you’re talking more along the lines of an established retreat program that would be provided specifically for women only (at least at some sessions), perhaps more open to individuals… I don’t know too many along those lines.

    I do know our Archdiocese offers the Cursillo program. My wife made her Cursillo a few years ago. They have a women’s session in the spring and a men’s session in the fall.

    I’ll talk to my wife later. She knows about some retreat centers and programs, maybe she’ll have a suggestion. Are you looking for a particular area of the country? The appropriate diocese may have an Office for spiritual life or pastoral development (or some such title) that keeps track of local retreat programs/centers.

  9. GEO. F says:

    The Sisters of St. Benedict center offer women’s retreats from time to time. I believe that the have one coming up(or have had one) this month.
    below is the link:
    Sisters of St. Benedict Center

  10. Vicky says:

    Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House in Waverly, NE. They have a variety of retreats for men and women (separately and together).

  11. Amanda says:

    The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (Ann Arbor) do a one-night weekend retreat for married women in December. They have vocation discernment retreats throughout the year.

  12. Timothy Clint says:

    Saint Ignatius Retreat House on Tackora Trail in Ridgefield, Conneticut offers excellent retreats following the Ignatian Method. They are 5 and 1/2 day in length and are preached by at least 3 different SSPX priest over the course of the week. I believe if you navigate the SSPX USA District home page the schedule is available.

  13. Damien says:

    Sister of Life at Villa Maria Guadalupe in CT, near NYC offer wonderful retreats for women, or so I have heard.

  14. magdalene says:

    St. Walburga’s abbey in northern Colorado, a convent of faithful Benedictine nuns does have retreats.

    There is a women’s retreat coming in January.

    January 2- Sunday January 4, 2009


    Leaders: Nuns of the Abbey of St. Walburga

    God has a special call for each of us, but hearing His voice amid a world of distractions can be difficult. How do we know His voice? What is His will for us? Join the nuns at the Abbey of St. Walburga for a weekend of prayer and discussion on discovering God’s call in your life. The weekend will include an opportunity to experience the monastic life of the nuns as well as conferences on the tough issues of discerning one’s vocation. For more information please click here.

  15. Fr. Brendan Kelly says:

    In addition to the regular retreats at the Diocesan retreat house in Waverly, NE that Vicky mentioned, ( Marian Sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln have days of recollection and a Holy Week retreat for single young women who may be discerning a vocation to the religious life. (

  16. magdalene says:

    I might mention also that St. Walburga Abbey is in need of a chaplain! This is a quiet and peaceful place in the foothills. People come from all around to visit and make retreats. It is about 100 miles perhaps north of Denver.

    Their website states:

    Chaplain News: At this time our Abbey is in need of a resident chaplain. Our chaplain of two years, Fr. Joseph Brown, CPPS, had to return to his community in early November of this year. He was indeed a blessing and we were sorry to see him leave.

    If you are a Catholic priest, in good health, (as we are 25 miles out of town), and would be interested in serving as our chaplain– even if just for a short time– please contact us. We would be glad to discuss what the job entails and anwser any questions you might have.

  17. Melchior Cano says:


    Bishop Williamson (SSPX) is on record as saying that he doesn’t think women have souls!! How on earth can a woman get a good retreat from that sort of theology???

    Comment by Matthew — 11 December 2008 @ 10:29 am”


  18. JD, Esq. says:

    The priests of Miles Christi, based in Plymouth, MI, give excellent Ignatian retreats for men and women, that is, there are separate retreats for both sexes. They received their training and benediction from the late Fr. John Hardon, SJ.

    They are excellent and very rigorous. A weekend retreat is truly a spiritual “exercise.”

  19. Baron Korf says:

    Miles Christi has both Men’s Only and Women’s Only retreats based on the Ignatius Spiritual Exercises.

  20. Baron Korf says:

    bah, was beat to the punch

  21. Arkansas Catholic says:

    The FSSP will have a retreat for women here in Arkansas (Subiaco Academy) in March. Some details from Fr. Demets’ web page follow. Also there is a “Home School Mom’s Retreat” at the Ave Maria Hall, Star of the Sea Village, this weekend.

    From: According to Saint Ignatius of Loyola “To conquer oneself and regulate one’s life without determining oneself through any tendency that is disordered..”

    Given by Father Gordon and Father Demets, FSSP
    at Subiaco Abbey (Arkansas)

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

    – Men (17+) : April 13th – 16th


    From Facebook group St. John the Baptist Latin Mass Community:

    You’re Invited! “Starting a New Liturgical Year: Holiness for Home School Moms”
    Event Info Host: St. John the Baptist Latin Mass Community, Arkansas
    Type: Education – Workshop
    Network: Global
    Time and Place Start Time: Friday, December 12, 2008 at 6:00pm
    End Time: Saturday, December 13, 2008 at 4:00pm
    Location: St. Michael’s Catholic Church & Gregory’s Home in Star of the Sea Village
    City/Town: Cherokee Village, AR

  22. my kidz mom says:

    Father, would you mind posting a related question on good retreats for teens (high school age)?
    Our church is recommending one this summer at Steubenville, and I’d really appreciate any guidance.

  23. MargoB says:

    my kidz mom: (if you don’t mind a lay passer-by giving her $.02) Send your kids to the Steubenville Youth Conference! They offer good catechesis as well as formation in prayer…and they ain’t stuffy! Their theme this year is “Above All [I Chhron 29:11]\”. The website is .


  24. MargoB says:

    (whoops! Sorry, Fr. Z, for tangenting off topic!)

  25. Lady Kathryn says:

    re: Bishop Williamson

    I don’t know if this helps, but it does illustrate the bishop’s thoughts about women and their role in the world.

  26. Erin says:

    I’ve heard the Women of Grace retreat with Johnette Benkovich held at the Malvern Retreat House every year is wonderful. I just finished a Women of Grace 6-week study workshop at my parish and it was really inspiring. I can only imagine what the retreat is like.
    More info:

  27. Erin says:

    By the way, the Malvern Retreat House is located in Malvern, PA – just outside of Philadelphia

  28. momof8 says:

    As Father T mentioned.. here is the Opus Dei Center in Valparaiso Indiana. EXCELLENT retreats!

  29. momof8 says:

    The Community of St John is very good as well. The sisters there are contemplative. It is a very young and vibrant community. Fr Antoine Thomas (seen on EWTN) runs the International program “Children of Hope” which brings children together in Eucharistic Adoration.
    Fr Joseph Mary at 309-385-1193, ext 212. He is the prior and would have the information for the sisters retreats.

  30. Malvern Retreat House in Malvern, PA.

  31. Not Getting Creaky Just Yet says:

    On a sort-of-related note, what is this “ACTS” retreat thing that my parish staff is all excited about? I saw the teens when they emerged from their weekend, and I’ve seen the fellows emerge from theirs, and the men are enthused and *actually sing* which for most guys is very unusual, the women have had at least one but they don’t make quite the same fuss when they come back.
    I don’t know what to think. I know the DRE who is enthusiastic about it runs toward the liberal side in her tastes. Also I noted that the teens when they returned from the retreat brought with them 3 or 4 guitar fellows who set up mikes for themselves in the front of the church and acted like it was a rock concert. (One of the associated adults stood in the back of the choir, which is also in front but against the wall not in front of the organ and blocking the passageway, and clapped their hands in the air to get people to clap along. Hey, it’s not about worshiping Jesus Who died for us, rose from the dead, and deigns to be here in person on the altar, it’s just a big show! :-( )They were also rude when they thought the children were taking too long to get their kiddie-bulletins from Father at the end of Mass–tuning their instruments and tapping the mike and being very obviously impatient. It’s not like the children were taking away from the recessional-hymn time, guys. (Oh, and I’ve now seen what Father’s “offering this up” face looks like.)
    And one of the ladies that works on it has taken to asking for donations and getting others to ask, and whenever someone steps to the podium at the end of Mass to ask it seems to me like the number$ keep changing…rather the feel of number$ that somebody found in midair and told the person to say if you ask me. (I know it’s just filthy lucre but a little good sense and honesty goes a long way in this stuff. IMHO.)
    Has anyone any familiarity with the bunch? Are these things that rub me wrong just local phenomena caused by ignorant enthusiasts?

  32. Fr. Ignotus says:

    Let me add my voice for the Sister Servants – Great retreats, great sisters, in the Birmingham diocese, where there are also other interesting/rewarding things to see such as EWTN and the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament. EWTN is less than 2 miles from the Sister Servants and the Shrine is just over an hour.

  33. Melchior Cano says:

    “re: Bishop Williamson

    I don’t know if this helps, but it does illustrate the bishop’s thoughts about women and their role in the world.

    Comment by Lady Kathryn — 11 December 2008 @ 2:31 pm”

    I appreciate that, and I am certainly not going to defend all, or even most, of Bishop Williamson’s statements. However, to claim in a public forum that Bishop Williamson does not believe that women have souls is completely different. Either there’s a source, in which case, lets see it. Or, its simply calumny.

  34. Stephanie says:

    I am not SSPX, just a mere young lady of 22 who is trying to be a good Catholic but I whole-heartedly recommend the SSPX Retreat for women in Connecticut. I went on it last year and it changed my life and helped me love God more than I can say. Fr. Zendejas and Fr. Portugal really know their stuff. plus, it’s an Ignatian Retreat, you can’t go wrong :)

  35. Mark says:

    Dear Lady Kathryn:

    Thanks for the link to SSPX Bishop Willimson’s tirade against women being able to get a university education. I’m appalled at such views, and it’s dismaying to me that they may become associated in some people’s minds with Traditional Catholicism. Getting a university education need not be equivalent to abandoning femininity and motherhood, as he posits. These things can coexist, and men and women should work to ensure they can coexist.

    Christ taught all people, male and female alike, and didn’t alter His teachings on this account. Actually, He gently chided on lady for being busy in the kitchen and neglecting an opportunity to learn higher things. Also, the reason only men can be priests has nothing to do with some imagined differences in the mental capacity of men and women.

    Traditional Catholicism should unequivocally repudiate these views of SSPX Bishop Williamson.

  36. Anthony says: This retreat center has been open for about five years now. They offer monthly silent retreats for women. They also offer mens and couples retreats.

  37. Margaret says:

    More Opus Dei retreats– in the San Francisco Bay Area, Trumbull Manor.

  38. Cathy says:

    My parish (St. John Cantius, Chicago) hosts a women’s day retreat each year.
    I went last year – it was very nice.
    Except you had to be totally silent the entire time.
    Even during lunch.

    It nearly killed me.


  39. MMcThomas says:

    I have attended a few of the Miles Christi Ignatian retreats and highly recommend them for focusing one on the practice of mental prayer in the light of the teachings of our faith.
    Prayerful, inspiring, directive, silent, productive, holy. the priests are good holy men who have this as their apostolate. marvelous.
    their website was given above and it lists the locations and dates of their retreats all over the US.

  40. Lee Gilbert says:

    My daughter went on a Miles Christi retreat in July of 2006, and as a direct result left for the Carmelites of Valparaiso Nebraska a year later. These are cloistered Carmelites who have the Mass and all the offices in Latin. The Miles Christi priest who gave the retreat, Fr Patrick, could fairly be called a modern “fisher of nuns” since another two vocations in that convent were also directed there by him

    So, you could say that the Miles Christ priests have a traditional bent. They are a young order out of Buenos Aires. In fact, their founder is still in his fifties. Their apostolate consists almost entirely in giving the Spiritual Exercises. These are very solid men, all of whom took their theology in Rome. My impression is that if you wanted to catch a whiff of what St. Ignatius’s Little Company of Jesus was like at the beginning, you could do worse than to be around these men. They give retreats all over the country.

    Google their site. They’ve got the schedule there.

  41. sean hyland says:

    Children of Mary in Ohio

  42. wsxyz says:

    Thanks for the link to SSPX Bishop Willimson’s tirade against women being able to get a university education. I’m appalled at such views

    That is beside the point. Matthew says “Bishop Williamson (SSPX) is on record as saying that he doesn’t think women have souls!!”

    If that is true, let us see the record.

    Matthew is going to have a hard time coming up with the proof because it is simply unimaginable that Bishop Williamson would say such a thing. I think Matthew owes Bishop Williamson a public apology to make up for the public slander.

    If Bishop Williamson thinks that women don’t need an education and should stay in the kitchen — well then we can disagree with him on that, but it is an issue of culture, not an issue of religion. I am sure there have been plenty of good Catholics over the past 2000 years who have shared Bishop Williamson’s opinions.

  43. Anne M says:

    I want to chime in on the recommendations for the Miles Christi retreats. I went on one in
    June and it was wonderful! As an added bonus, after you have completed the retreat, you
    can write to them and they will send you another set of meditations.

  44. Mark says:

    I third the notion about the Waverly retreat house(Mother of Good Counsel) in the Lincoln Diocese. These retreats are silent retreats with very good talks and beatiful grounds on which to walk and mediatate, pray or just listen to what God is speaking to your heart.

  45. Jenny D says:

    The contemplative Sisters of the Community of St. John in Princeville, IL offer their guesthouse for retreats at nearly any time during the year and for any length that you’d like to stay. I have gone on several retreats there and find the Community to be a haven for true contemplative silence. – While this is the website for the Brothers of the Community, they’ll easily put you into contact with the sisters.

  46. A. Noel says:

    I’ve not attended any of the retreats hosted by the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart in Los Angeles (well, Alhambra, actually), but retreats have always been part of their apostolate. I would expect some would be offered for women only.

  47. Vicky says:

    Fr. Kelly
    Thank you for including the wonderful Marian Sisters…we probably should also mention that the School Sisters of Christ the King also have retreats for young women discerning vocations.

  48. Chris says:

    The Jesuit retreat house in Oshkosh, Wisconsin ( has segregated retreats. My dad amd mom have gone there, although I have not, and they both found them very good.

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