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Retreats

We live in a world of busy-ness – constant noise, activity, distraction, hurry and stress. God is with us in the midst of the confusion and hurry, but it is often hard for us to recognize Him. We are too busy to fully hear His call or to recognize His presence as we should. That is why we need retreats.

 

A retreat is a refreshing experience of withdrawing to a quiet place. Sometimes we go alone, sometimes with a friend or with a group of like-minded people. We want to be in peaceful surroundings, away from everyday stress – a place where we can take a fresh look at life, sort things out. How is life going? Where is it going? Where is God in all this?

 

In the peace of a retreat we find a heightened awareness of God, renewed energy and enthusiasm to walk the Christian life. For nearly a century now, retreat centers have become the symbol and the setting for our quest for solitude, for union with God, and for communion and compassion for others.

 

Sometimes a retreat is private, where the Christian communes alone with God in a place of solitude through prayer, reading of Scripture and spiritual books. At other times, the retreat is guided by a Spiritual Director. Most common are group retreats where like-minded people gather in a place of beauty and quiet and are guided in prayer and reflection by a Retreat Master’s conferences and talks. Retreats can be as short as a few minutes or day, or they can be long, such as the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises which usually take at least thirty days. Each person must ask God for guidance in selecting the retreat mode best for him or her, and then step out to experience the wonderful blessings awaiting.

 

At Our Lady of Refuge parish, members of the community have numerous opportunities open to go on retreats. (See the listings on the Retreat Center page of this web site.) However, the parish offers two special opportunities for group retreats. Each year over more than 50 years, the parish has sponsored a Men’s Retreat and a Woman’s Retreat weekend. The men make a three day retreat each year, usually at the Franciscan’s Serra Retreat House in Malibu. The women make a three day retreat at the Carmelite’s Sacred Heart Retreat House in Alhambra. Other parishioners make private retreats at these locations or at other retreat centers in Southern California.