What is a retreat at Bellarmine like?
Bellarmine Retreats follow the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. The Spiritual Exercises are, in brief, a “pathway to God,” an experiential approach to personal faith and union with God. that is why, during the retreat, 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. Bellarmine Jesuit staff members are available for counseling and confession.
Why should I make a retreat?
One main reason is you are away from everything! You are away from the daily hassle. You have time to sit or to walk and think and meditate. We build in time to the retreat schedule for private reflection and personal prayer. You can use this time to get a better perspective on the deeper meaning of life and to come into closer contact with God.
How much time is involved?
A typical weekend retreat at Bellarmine begins on Friday evening with a social at 6:30 followed by dinner at 7:00pm. Rooms are pre-assigned so you can take your time coming from work without missing anything, even though registration begins at 3pm for those who just can’t wait to get here. On Sunday the retreat closes with Mass at 11:15am followed by lunch. Most retreatants are back in the real world by 1pm. We also have some longer retreats that begin on Thursday and end on Sunday. We call these 4-day retreats. They offer an extended time for more of the personal reflections that aren’t possible on a 3-day retreat.
Conferences Based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
During the course of the retreat the retreat director gives seven conferences that last thirty to forty minutes. These are based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. The conferences are not dry academic lectures. Rather, they are reflections on life’s fundamental directions seen in the light of the Gospels and our Christian Faith.
Silence During the Retreat
First time retreatants frequently ask about talking and silence. Bellarmine has a tradition, common to all Jesuit retreat houses, of maintaining silence during the retreat. This is not a disciplinary measure or a “penance.” Rather, it has been found by experience that the silence is very helpful in maintaining a prayerful atmosphere. Each person has the opportunity to be alone with God in a privileged way.
There is ample personal time during your retreat for private prayer and reflection on the conferences. Frequently the retreat director will pass out materials for your reflection. There is an abundance of reading materials available in the Bellarmine Library, as well as a number of audio tapes available in the resource center.
Bellarmine has up to 80 individual retreatant rooms. Accommodations are much like you would find at a motel. Towels, soap, blankets, sheets and pillows are all provided. Bring the amount of clothing you would for a couple of nights stay in a motel. Dress comfortably – informal dress is quite acceptable.
Meals at Bellarmine are of a very high quality and served in a beautiful dining room. Our kitchen staff takes great pride in providing wonderful meals. With prior notification, they can accommodate most special dietary needs you may have.
Many of our perennial retreatants like to refer to Bellarmine as their “home away from home.” Persons making the first retreat comment that the blend of gracious hospitality, human caring and cheerful service combine with the unmistakable atmosphere of the sacred to make them feel peaceful, “at home.”
Retreat House expenses are covered by contributions from our retreatants. Limited financial resources should not prevent anyone from making a retreat. The generosity of retreatants who can offer more than the requested contribution helps us to cover the expenses of caring for and cleaning our beautiful land and sacred spaces and providing a retreat to all regardless of their current ability to contribute.
A deposit of $85 is requested to register each person for a retreat. The deposit is applied toward the $285 contribution request. In the event of a cancellation 48 hours before the retreat begins you may move your deposit to another retreat within the same retreat season, request a refund or you donate your deposit as a tax-deductible gift. Please call our office if you wish to register and need a scholarship or flexible funding at this time: 847-381-1261.
The requested contribution for a retreat at Bellarmine varies, depending on the type of retreat. For a Weekend Retreat it is $285. For a 4-Day retreat it is $360. For the Young Adult and Married Couple’s retreats we offer some additional discounts. Any amount given above the requested contribution is considered a tax-deductible gift. While we have fixed costs associated with each retreat and program, we do not turn anyone away because they cannot afford their retreat. Flexible payment options allow retreat payments to be spread over time. For those who cannot pay anything, we ask that you limit attendance to one retreat per year so that others may also benefit from this ministry.