Another thread reminded me of the benefits of going on an annual retreat. My wife and myself have been going on week-end retreats, once a year and some times twice a year, for 30 years now.

We originally started going in the fall, with a structured retreat with the Passionist, at Calvary Retreat Center, in Shrewsbury, MA. Retreat ministry is the bread and butter of the Passionist Order, and they may have a retreat house near you. I attended the mens retreat, and ended up becoming the retreat chairman for our parish. My wife became the chairwoman for the woman’s retreat.

Basically, this was a structured retreat with a schedule of talks, confession and Mass. It was wonderful and they ran a great retreat.

However, when my wife and myself began our process of becoming members of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, we added a second retreat at the OCD monastery, which was in Peterborough, NH. This was mostly a contemplative retreat, with just one talk, and of course confession and Mass. We had loads of time for prayer, quiet walks through the beautiful grounds and spiritual reading. The Carmelites eventually sold the monastery and we were left without a deeper level of retreat than what the Passionist retreat could offer.

Then we found the Trappist Monetary of St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, MA. This is heaven on earth! This retreat only has 12 people at a time, and it’s mostly silent. You have to reserve a room, on the first day of the month, six months prior to the retreat date. I haven’t missed out yet. Meals are eaten without talking, except when we all pitch in to clean the dishes. There is only one talk by one monk on Saturaday morning, and the rest of the day, we follow the Divine Office that the Monks follow. Vigils are at 3:15AM, for those who can hack it. I did it the first year, but after that, I realized I was going on retreat to un-wind, not tire myself out. :slight_smile: The monks sing the Divine Office in english, and it is beautiful. Mass is at 6:40 AM, right after Lauds.

Anyway, I thought a thread where we could share and talk about retreats, would be a good idea. Maybe by sharing people will find out that they can make a retreat themselves.

In Christ Jesus

Here is a retreat center about 20 minutes drive from my apartment:

I went on those silent retreats last year, and will do so again this year. 9-13 July and 23-27 July. Also a Directed retreat in August.

What a great idea Jim! I’m guessing you live in New England…so do I. I’ve been thinking about finding a retreat to go in the next couple of months. I’m thinking I’d like a structured one but the one at St Joseph’s Abbey sounds wonderful.

Opus Dei has a retreat house in Pembroke Ma, Arnold Hall. I haven’t been to that but I’ve attended an Opus Dei Day of Recollection in Boston (a kind of mini-retreat) which was very good.

Also, here’s the website for St Joseph’s Abbey.

Hmmmmm…bedtime at 8 PM, rise at 3:30 AM. I wouldn’t mind that. But I note the age limit of 45. I’m 62. O well, they probably wouldn’t allow me to have cats anyhow. :frowning:

CatQuit, yes I’m in North Central Massachusetts.

In order to go on retreat at St. Josephs Abbey in Spencer, MA, you have to call the first day of the month, six months in advance. So, February 1st you can call and reserve a place for August. The 3rd week-end of the month is for women, the other week-ends are for men. They only started to allow women 6 years ago. My wife was one of the 1st.

If that doesn’t do it for you, you can also go on retreat at
St. Scholastica Priory and St. Mary’s Monastery, in Petersham, MA.

This is a traditional Benedictine order of nuns and monks. They’re Masses and Divine office, is chanted in Gregorian Chant. It’s a non structured retreat, but you can pretty much get a reservation anytime you want. You make your own breakfast and lunch, and depending on the number of people in the guest house, depends on where you’ll eat supper. Women go to the priory with the nuns, men go to the monastery with the monks. If there’s a large enough group, the nuns will just send supper up to the house.
This is a beautiful retreat. The priory, was actually a house that the actor, Bill Crosby leased, while he was studying for his PHD at U-Mass. The nuns purchased the house and relocated there from Still-River Mass. They use to bake breads and pastries to support themselves, but the business got to be too much for them. So, the changed over to Bede Publishing. The monks live in a separate monastery, but their newly built church, is connected by beautiful indoor walk ways from both the priory and the monastery. They are a cloistered order.


I will be going on a retreat in Orange County, close to where I live in Torrance, 5-16 February

This will include sessions with a spiritual director. I want to talk about first confession, and my 4 year program to join the CFP or BSP. If the can give me a conditional baptism, that would be nice also.:o

Also, just a chance to get away from the Post Office for 12 days. :smiley:

would anyone know of a weekend retreat near LA? just quiet time with some praying.

Retreat House in the Midwest

I just came back from a week long reteat at Petersham. It is important to note that if you go on retreat there you are on your own. They don’t have a program or speakers. Also, even though the women eat at the priory, they do not eat with the nuns. I ate my supper (which is actually what we consider lunch as it is at 1:15) in the priory library. The oOffice is chanted in Latin but they have books with the english in it. The mass is mostly English except for Thursday when it is all Latin (Ordinary Form). There is not much to do there, the house is adequate but sparse and doesn’t have a chapel so you have to go down the road to the church. There is a small library in the house. You really don’t have muxh contact with the nuns or monks except when they bring you supper or if you have a question. After Mass on Sunday they come out and talk to those who were at mass.

If you are comfortable designing your own retreat experience and being silent then this is a nice place. I was there for 8 days and loved it. Harvard University owns a forest across the street that is used as a giant classroom and for research. I took a few walks along the trails while at the priory. There is not much to the grounds that is accessible to guests (you can’t go into the enclosure) so I would take walks in the morning on the road outside the priory.

I haven’t been to Petersham for a few years now. Yes, you are on your own there, so its more for experienced retreatants.

St. Joseph’s Abbey isn’t much different either, except they do provide one talk after breakfast on Saturday morning. The rest of the time you can go to the guest section of the chapel for the small office of the Liturgy of the Hours and Vigils. Mass, Lauds and Vespers are in the main church with the Monks.

Petersham is too close to where I live to give me a sense of being on retreat, so I prefer St. Joseph’s Abbey.

FYI, St. Scholastica and St, Mary’s in Petersham have new links


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