Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House has many retreat offerings and spiritual programs. Our most popular retreat is the Silent Retreat which begins on Friday evening and concludes mid-day on Sunday. We also have:
- longer weekend retreats that begin on Thursday and end on Sunday (called 4-day retreats)
- a women’s mid-week retreat in October (Tuesday to Thursday)
- retreats for those in addiction recovery (Bill W 12-Step Retreats, 5 times per year)
- a retreat for Sacramentally Married Couples in the spring
- and 8-day Individually Directed Retreats during the summer (see below for further details)
Weekend Retreat Features
Each retreat has eight talks given by the Retreat Master (almost always a Jesuit). All talks are based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. These exercises help us reflect and deepen our spirituality by seeking God in all things around us. Some key details of the retreat include:
- Rooms are pre-assigned. If you have a medical need requiring a special room accommodation, please advise our office at least two weeks before the retreat. All rooms are private with a bed, desk, and sink. Bed linens, towels, and a Bible are provided in every room.
- Check-in for the retreat begins on Friday at 4:00 pm (Thursday for a 4-Day retreat) and continues until 6:30 pm. If you arrive after 6:30 pm, please retrieve your retreat materials from the Check-in Lounge and sign into our Guest Book by your room number, which is found on your schedule.
- A wine and cheese social begins at 6:30 pm followed by dinner at 7:00 pm. After dinner, new retreatants are invited on a tour of the retreat house.
- Following the tour, the first talk by the retreat master is given and all retreatants are asked to remain in silence until after Mass on the final day of retreat.
- Mass is celebrated Friday evening, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning on weekend retreats.
- Other spiritual opportunities include: indoor/outdoor Stations of the Cross, Rosary, Adoration, Reconciliation and Spiritual Direction.
- You may also choose to take time for prayer, walk our beautiful grounds, read a book from our library or resource center, or simply rest and recharge your physical and spiritual batteries.
With the exception of the Sacramentally Married Couple’s retreat, all of our retreats are considered “Silent Retreats.” The Couples’ retreat is “Semi-Silent” in that retreatants are expected to maintain an atmosphere of sacred silence except for those times designated for sharing. During the Couple’s retreat, each couple is encouraged to discuss their feelings and responses to the talks privately with each other. On every retreat, there are opportunities for spiritual consultation with a Spiritual Director, along with group devotions (Stations of the Cross, praying the Rosary, Liturgy of the Eucharist) and personal devotions (silent meditation, Eucharistic Adoration, Reconciliation, personal prayer).
During Mass, the group activities, and consultation with the Spiritual Director, silence is broken for the duration of the activity. In short, a “Silent Retreat” does not mean “no talking for 3 days.” It means limited verbal communication with those around you so that God’s voice can start to come through the background noise that permeates our lives. This means meals are taken in silence (with appropriate contemplative music playing in the dining room). This is meant to preserve the newly formed connection to God that develops as the retreat unfolds and worldly concerns subside.
Weekend Retreat Contributions
Retreat House expenses are partially 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 make a financial contribution.
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 at least 72 hours before the retreat begins, you may move your deposit to another retreat within the same retreat season, request a refund, or 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 Sacramentally 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 or two spirituality programs per year so that others may also benefit from this ministry.
Most retreats are single gender retreats, meaning only for men or only for women. Our 4-day retreats, along with a few others, are mixed gender, including the Married Couples retreat.
When men and women are in the house at the same time, we assign them to rooms on separate floors so that privacy is maintained. The house itself can host 66 retreatants. All but two rooms are single occupancy (you will never have a roommate unless here with a spouse!), and most do not have a private bathroom. We also have two outer buildings (the Cottage and Coach House) which can host another 11 retreatants collectively.
The Cottage and Coach House are only used when the main house fills up. Retreatants are assigned rooms there after the house becomes full and only if they are physically able to walk from there to the main building (about a two minute walk). When you register, please indicate whether or not you are willing to stay in one of those two buildings if the retreat becomes full.
Individually Directed Retreats
The 8-Day Retreat is a very popular adaptation of the Spiritual Exercises, which normally take 30 days to complete (all in silence no less!).
Our 8-Day Retreats begin at 4:00 pm on the first day of the retreat and end with lunch on the last day of retreat. During the retreat, retreatants meet daily with a Spiritual Director who gives them personal direction through the retreat. There are no group talks from a Retreat Master, like there are on preached weekend retreats. Instead, through the guidance of your Spiritual Director, you make a guided faith journey using the Scriptures as a basis.
If you cannot be present for the full 8 days of the retreat, a shorter 5-day option is also available. To minimize disruptions during the retreat, all retreatants must begin the retreat on the same date.
The cost for an 8-Day retreat is calculated at $90 per night. This includes all meals, accommodations, and daily consultation with your Spiritual Director.
A private retreat can take several forms. The most basic is a single day spent at our facilities for your own personal prayer and reflection. You are welcome to join us for daily Mass and lunch while here, cost of a private day retreat is $55 (includes lunch but not Spiritual Direction; if you wish to meet with a Spiritual Director the suggested cost is $45 per hour).