Jesuit Retreats

garden bench

The Midwest Jesuits recently featured a story “On Retreat with the Jesuits,” interesting in particular for readers who may not have previously experienced an Ignatian retreat.

Silent prayer is part of many Jesuit retreats, but retreatants also typically meet one-on-one with a spiritual director.

“Retreats are very much between a person and God,” says Fr. Chris Manahan, SJ, director of the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh, Wis. “Directors are only there to the extent that the person and God find them useful.”

Retreat directors also often use presentations to help retreatants focus on important spiritual themes.

“Our attempt is to make time for retreatants to interiorize those presentations with the Lord,” says Fr. Francis Daly, SJ, director of Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. “Hopefully, they are not just coming for presentations but to grow in their relationship with God through personal prayer.”

Have you been on a retreat at a Jesuit retreat house? What would you say is important for those who have not been on an Ignatian retreat to know before going on one?

11 Comments on Jesuit Retreats

  1. Silence is key to a great retreat. Your interior conversations with God will be a way to continue your retreat when you get home. Making a habit of prayer each day will strengthen your commitment to grow in love with God. I have been to the Jesuit Retreat House in Los Altos, California for both weekends and also for the Thirty Day (Spiritual Exercises)retreat. There is plenty of space for walking and the outdoor Stations of the Cross are on a paved path. I highly recommend the Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos, California.

    • I’ve been to the Los ALtos facility, too! The view from the mountaintop elevates my spirit. Just knowing people have been praying for decades on that very soil makes me feel supported, and loved.
      Retreats were an annual habit for my dad, and I endeavor to keep his legacy going. I could always see a difference as a kid in the dad before retreat (short-tempered, irritable, tired) and the dad who came home from retreat (at peace, cheerful, and much more forgiving of my childish mistakes! More patient, too.)

  2. I have been on 9 – 4 day retreats, 2 – 8 day retreats and several 19th Annotations….one thing I have learned is “let go and let the retreat happen, do not try to make a retreat – let the retreat make you” – the words are adapted from a spiritual director … Lou SJ …
    Have been to White House in St Louis, Loyola in Morristown and Eastern Point , Ma

  3. Experienced a 30 day retreat in Loyola Spain. Group was from Ignatian Spiritual Center in Glasgow Scotland. Spiritual Director meetings and Mass each day were in English. Unless you spoke Basque or Spanish, silence was easy. The ancient churches, chapels, monasteries, cathedral, parks, beaches and mountain tops were places that inspired prayer. It was 30 days spent in heaven.

  4. Are there retreats planned for Wernersville, Pa.? My classmate, Fr. Mark Aita, SJ; Class of ’67 La Salle High School, Philadelphia, went home to Our Lord and is buried in Wernersville. I learned that Fr. Mark attended the Novitiate in Wernersville right after graduation in ’67. Fr. Mark’s life of service remains the embodiment of Suscipe. Thank you….ed

  5. Go slowly. Return mind and heart and body to God again and again. Trust the outcomes to God. Faithfulness is the human part; faithfulness means showing up.

  6. If you are already in a relationship with God, an Ignatian retreat will deepen it through providing direction and additional substance. If you have not been on one, this just might be the experience which ushers you into a meaningful relationship. I had my start in 2016 by attending two three day retreats in Demontreville, MN. The first of which was my initial action back into the Church, after forty-eight years of absence. I’m scheduled foe an eight day experience this summer at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oskosh, Wi. I will be considering a thirty day retreat in Weston, MA in the future. I respectfully doff my hat to Fr. Ed Dowling, SJ, and Sister Ignatia.

  7. Is it possible to find a list of Jesuit Retreat Houses and upcoming retreats, please? East Coast, Southern US or Chicago area? Thank you!

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