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. 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