“Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” These words of Jesus to his disciples (Mark 6:31) invite us to take time for spiritual refreshment in order to be able to meet with joy the demands and opportunities of discipleship and service.
The practice of making a retreat is rooted in Jesus’ frequently withdrawing to a secluded place to pray. Today there are many types of retreat you might want to explore. They may include an organized program or simply the hospitality of a prayerful community that supports the retreatant in their own time of prayer, reflection, discernment. Time apart helps the retreatant focus, leave behind the influences that distract, and create a space internally and externally to be open and present to God. This is an important spiritual practice for all those engaged in ministry or any of the helping professions providing time and space to nourish oneself at the deepest level. Many retreat houses encourage deep silence and whenever possible unplugging from communication technologies.
Locations in Connecticut
The Mercy Center, Madison, Connecticut
Mercy Center welcomes day visits to the center, bring your own lunch, for no charge. Simply sign in at the front desk and enjoy the public spaces and the beauty of the retreat center grounds. Inquire about reduced rates for a retreat or other program if you are unable to afford the listed fees. Many day programs are very reasonable.
Oratory of the Little Way, Gaylordsville, Connecticut
Incarnation Conference Center, Ivoryton, Connecticut
This center is run by the Episcopal Church and concentrates on camp activities and retreats booked for a group for its own program or for one of theirs. However, guests are welcome to use the extensive grounds and hiking trails even if they are not overnight guests.
Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center, West Hartford, Connecticut
This place is Roman Catholic Retreat Center with a variety of spiritual growth opportunities. Nappi Brandon, a YDS grad is on the staff leading many meditation opportunities. Retreats vary from a single day, a weekend, and longer. Inquire about retreat scholarships. Again, the grounds are available for daytime visits.
The Abbey of Regina Laudis, Bethlehem, Connecticut
The abbey is a monastery of contemplative Benedictine women. The community welcomes both male and female guests in their guest accommodations. Two simple farmhouse residences are available for overnight guests on a limited basis. The Abbey does not provide formal retreats but invites guest to participate in the atmosphere of quiet and prayer and to meet with a member of the community to reflect on the experience. Guests are encourage to join the community in manual work as supervised by a community member.
For reservation requests, please write a hand written letter to:
The Guest Secretary
Abbey of Regina Laudis
Bethlehem, CT 06751
Letters must include the following information - dates desired for a visit,
alternative dates in case the first choice cannot be fulfilled, and a stated reason for desiring to visit the Abbey.
Locations in Massachusetts
The Society of St. John the Evangelist, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Genesis Spiritual Life & Conference Center, Westfield, Massachusetts
Locations in New York
Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, New York
Hospitality assistance is available for some programs for those who would like to come on retreat but find the cost prohibitive. If the fee for a program is a hardship for you, please inquire about hospitality assistance, and inquire about the seminarian discount.
Marian Dale Retreat and Conference Center, Ossining, New York
This is a retreat center sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Hope (RC) and open to everyone. They offer a variety of week end and week-long directed retreats and other programs. If financial assistance is needed, request scholarship funds. This will require an application process including a recommendation from someone who knows you.
Melrose House at Bluestone Farm (Women’s Community), Brewster, New York
This is currently an experimental community and organic farming project which also welcomes retreatants. See the website for descriptions. Visitors are welcome to make either a private retreat or a working retreat helping with the ecological farming on the property. To come visit for worship or meals, or for individual retreats, please email or call at 845.363.1971 x13. The address is 118 Federal Hill Road, in Brewster, NY 10509. Suggested donation is $50 per day.