Conference Retreats are retreats in which a number of individuals are given talks at the same time over the course of three or four days, over a weekend or sometimes in midweek, to assist them in their reflection and prayer. Other common forms of prayer are available like morning prayer, rosary, benediction, stations of the cross, praying with Scripture, healing prayer, or Eucharistic devotions. These retreats have also been called preached retreats because the conferences are somewhat like preaching, or group retreats because people listen to the talks in a group and also because people often come to these retreats as groups from parishes, associations, or families, returning annually at the same time of year. But you do not need to come with any particular group, nor are you excluded from any weekend because you do not belong to the groups coming at that time.
What is a retreat and why make one?
A retreat is a time of quiet when one can get away from the ordinary busyness, turmoil and demands of life, a time to get a better perspective on the deeper meaning of your life, a time to come into closer contact with God, a time of reconciliation and peace. It is a time to be good to yourself.
What time is involved?
A weekend retreat at Manresa begins on Friday evening with supper at 7:00 PM. This allows those who work to participate fully. People usually begin arriving around 5:00 PM. The weekend goes all day Saturday and closes with Mass at about noon on Sunday. Departure is a little before 1:00 PM. Manresa also has some four-day and midweek retreats.
What happens during a retreat?
Basically the retreat director or member of the staff gives seven presentations, each about a half hour in length. These are based on The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. The conferences are not dry, academic lectures, but reflections on life’s fundamental directions seen in the light of the Gospels and our Christian Faith.
What are The Spiritual Exercises?
The Spiritual Exercises are, in brief, a “pathway to God,” an experiential approach to personal faith and union with God. That is why, in the retreat schedule, there is a time for private reflection and personal prayer. In addition, the Eucharist is celebrated each day and devotions are offered for those who find them helpful. There is opportunity for individual discussion with Manresa’s retreat staff and experienced visiting spiritual directors
What does the schedule look like?
The retreat director may adapt the schedule, but it typically follows this pattern:
Saturday Afternoon and Evening
What happens during personal time?
This is time for private prayer and reflection on the subject matter of the conference or whatever else you are drawn to pray about. Frequently the retreat director will hand out notes and material for your reflection. You may also do some reading. Reading materials are offered at Manresa, some in the library for borrowing, others in the bookstore for purchase. It is a time when you might consult a spiritual director one on one.
What should I bring with me?
In general whatever you would bring for a couple nights in a hotel. Be comfortable; informal dress is usual and acceptable. Manresa provides such things as towels, linens, blankets, etc. Each retreatant has a private room with half-bath.
What about talking and silence?
Manresa retreats are silent retreats; retreatants do not ordinarily speak with each other. This tradition of maintaining silence during the retreat is common to all Jesuit retreat houses. This silence is not an invention of the Jesuits; it has found a place in all religious orders for the last 1500 years, and is to be found in many other faith communities and religions as well. It is not a disciplinary measure or a penance, but a method of freeing ourselves from distractions and superficialities and opening ourselves up to God, a way of listening to hear God’s word in our hearts, a means of maintaining a prayerful atmosphere for all. Through silence we are ourselves alone with God and we allow every other person there to have the opportunity to be alone with God in a privileged way.
How much does a retreat cost (and can I use a credit card)?
There is no set amount charged for most conference retreats. The cost to Manresa for a three-day weekend retreat is $325 per person. If you are able to pay this amount we’d appreciate it. More importantly, though, Manresa is here for your spiritual growth and for deepening your relationship with God and others. So we ask that you pay what you are able and don’t make “cost” a reason not to attend. Some retreatants are in a position to give more than the cost of a retreat so, in God’s Providence it evens out. The full amount donated for the conference retreat is tax deductible. For each retreatant’s convenience, we accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express credit cards.
Anything else I should know?
We serve very good meals at Manresa. We do our best to accommodate those who have special dietary needs of which we are informed. Our capacity for a weekend is 70. Sometimes we fill the house. At other times the number is less. You should not feel you have to know anyone else on the retreat. Just bring yourself. God will do the rest!
How do I make a reservation for a conference retreat?
Go to the General or Retreat Calendar on the Menu to the left and find a weekend convenient for you. Click on the date of the retreat you are interested in and you will be presented with the information about the retreat and a “Register” button to register. Complete the registration process as instructed.
How do I get to Manresa?
Follow these Directions.