After all we've been through, it's a good time to take time to recharge in a beautiful, inspiring setting.
The past year spent living in fear and isolation under the coronavirus pandemic and its accompanying lockdown has been difficult for many people.
For Catholics, for whom the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life,” doing without the sacraments has left many sorely in need of a spiritual reboot.
Aschurches beginning to reopen, it’s a good time to take stock and chart a course for spiritual growth. Why not jump-start a return to regular worship with a retreat?
Spiritual retreats are not just for priest and religious. In fact, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops urges lay people to take advantage of opportunities to go on a retreat: “In the midst of your busy lives, a retreat opportunity affords you time of silence and clarity that cannot be found in the world.”
While many Catholic retreat centers remain closed, we found a few from our guide to beautiful retreat centers that are welcoming either groups or individuals. An added bonus: this list of retreats are all located in beautiful natural or architectural surroundings.
1. Gonzaga/Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, Massachusetts
Located in an old stone mansion overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the Eastern Point Retreat House offers Jesuit retreats based on the exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
2. New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, California
Since 1958, the monks of New Camaldoli Hermitage have welcomed guests to experience the peace their location overlooking the Pacific Ocean affords their Benedictine community every day. While currently open only to limited registrants under pandemic guidelines, the Hermitage hopes to widen its hospitality by mid-June.
3. The Monastery of Bethlehem in Sullivan County, New York
Located in the Catskill Mountains two and a half hours from New York City, the Monastery of Bethlehem offers beauty, silence and solitude from its location amidst acres of forest. “The colors of the hills and the stillness of the lakes offer rest and relief to weary spirits,” promise the monastic sisters who operated the retreat center.
4. Cormaria in Sag Harbor, New York
Cormaria is a Catholic Retreat House set on 18 waterfront acres in the historic whaling village of Sag Harbor, New York. The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary consider inclusive hospitality their vocation and invite guests of all denominations to “come away and rest a while.”
5. Villa Maria del Mar in Santa Cruz, California
Villa Maria del Mar, a beachfront property overlooking Monterey Bay in the Pacific Ocean, is owned and operated by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.
6. Serra Retreat in Malibu, California
Located on top of a 26-acre knoll in Malibu, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and with views of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Serra Retreat is a place of uncommon beauty. Operated by the Franciscan Friars, the retreat center offers private retreats and themed retreats, including those based on the 12-step recovery program.
7. Loyola on the Potomac in Faulkner, Maryland
This Jesuit retreat house overlooks the Potomac River and is surrounded by 235 acres of rolling woodland. Ignatian weekend retreats are available.
8. Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House in Grand Coteau, Louisiana
Guests at the Jesuit-run Our Lady of Oaks Retreat House enjoy sitting in the shade provided by old oak trees in the central courtyard of the beautiful Spanish mission style estate. Retreats are based on St. Ignatius’ spiritual exercises.