What is a retreat?

The word retreat itself means a drawing back from something, in this case withdrawing from day-to-day living. In a negative sense, the word retreat means accepting defeat and cutting losses. Such is the military usage of the term. There is, however, a more positive sense of retreat, and that is to pull back from the fray in order to regroup and re-evaluate one's strategy.

In the early Christian centuries, the movement toward retreat was led by the desert fathers and monastic communities. This radical break with human society enabled its practitioners to contemplate the eternal truths of human existence and to focus their energies on the living God. They were often sought out by those still living in the world as a source of wisdom and spiritual guidance. Some were even called back into the midst of society to bring the fruits of their meditation to public life.

Retreats can take on many forms. Today, in the commercial and political arenas, retreats are often occasions to think through a difficult problem without the distractions of the workplace or as an opportunity for team building.

The spiritual retreat also exists under many forms, from simply a time of personal solitude to a series of conferences on a spiritual topic and everything in between.

Montreal Directed Retreats offers silent personally directed retreats. Apart from a short reflection to begin the weekend, there are no conferences at all, but a spiritual director is available to guide each participant through the experience. Silence is maintained at all other times, including meals, in order to let the heart begin to hear the quiet whisperings of God, so often drowned out by the din of our noisy world.

Leaving the world behind for a brief period, entering into silence and prayer, often with the help of biblical texts, and opening one’s heart to the presence of God, this is what retreat is all about.


Upcoming Retreat Weekends

2017
October 20-22CANCELLED
November 24-26Maison de prière
2018
February 23-25Maison de prière
March 23-25Maison de prière
May 25-27Cistercian Abbey
Cost: CDN$140. Registration closes two weeks before retreat start date.
For retreats at the Cistercian Abbey, some rooms are available at CDN$110. Ask the registrar.

Five-day summer retreat
August 7 - 11, 2017 at the Cistercian Abbey, Rougemont. Cost is $295. Contact the registrar for details.


Join our mailing list to receive schedule of retreats annually.

Contact us by email or call (514) 626-9462.