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 (called 4-day retreats)
- a mid-week retreat in October (4-day, Mon-Thu)
- retreats for those in addiction recovery (Bill W, 5 times per year)
- a retreat for Married Couples (April)
- and longer 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, except for certain Bill W retreats). 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 so let us know your specific needs as soon as you register for the retreat (requests for a private bathroom are honored on a first come, first served basis and those with legitimate medical needs are given priority)
- Check-in for the retreat begins on Friday at 3pm (Thursday for a 4-Day retreat) and continues until 6:30pm (late arrival is okay, please just advise us ahead of time).
- A wine and cheese social begins at 6:30pm followed by dinner at 7pm. (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 in the Chapel. (At this time all retreatants are asked to remain in silence until after Mass on Sunday.)
- Mass is celebrated Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.
- 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 Young Adult and Married Couple’s retreats, all of our retreats are considered “Silent Retreats.” For the YA and Couple’s retreats we describe them as “Semi-Silent” in that retreatants are expected to maintain an atmosphere of sacred silence except for those times designated for sharing. The YA retreat features an optional small group sharing time after each talk and 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 (this time is often used for the Sacrament of Reconciliation) along with group devotions (Stations of the Cross, praying the Rosary, Liturgy of the Eucharist) and personal devotions (silent meditation, Eucharistic Adoration, 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) and retreatants are encouraged to refrain from even making eye-contact with each other or using other methods of non-verbal communication. This isn’t meant to be harsh, but rather 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 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.
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 Young Adult retreat and of course the Married Couples retreat.
When men and women are in the house at the same time we put them 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 (IDRs)
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 on Friday evening and end on the following Saturday with lunch. During the retreat, retreatants meet daily with a Spiritual Director who gives them personal direction through the retreat. There are no group talks like on the weekend retreats. Instead, through the guidance of your personal 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 IDR on the same date and those who cannot stay the full 8 days leave after 5 days.
The cost for an 8-Day retreat is calculated at $85 per night for those who register by the early bird deadline (varies from year to year, but usually by mid-April for the June IDR and mid-May for the July IDR) and $90 per night for those who register after the deadline. This is a great deal because it includes all meals, accommodations and daily consultation with your Spiritual Director. As seen below, for those who come on a private retreat, the cost is $90 per night for room and board only, consultation with a Spiritual Director is an additional $45. While we welcome private retreatants as space permits in the house, the IDR is the best way to come and experience a personal, privately directed retreat.
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: $50 (includes lunch but not Spiritual Direction, if you wish to meet with a Spiritual Director the suggested cost is $45 per hour).