Whilst God can be found in all things, sometimes it helps to step out of the noise of the world completely and pray for a while. This experience is often called a retreat, in the sense that it means withdrawing to focus on your relationship with God, to have time to pray and consider the deeper things of life. Retreats are typically a guided experience and can vary in style, from weekends to weeks, from silent to more conversational or ‘themed’, such as the Art Retreat or the Men’s Weekend.
There are many different kinds of retreat, but a retreat experience is usually an experience of an oasis and an adventure in prayer. Find one that works for you.
A retreat is a place to explore questions before God. A key element of many retreats is silence. Silence is not just the absence of noise from traffic, media and the constant flow of email and social media chatter. A retreat may help you to achieve inner silence, a silence that can be the gateway to God. As St. Augustine says, ‘You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.’
It is not always clear why someone wants to go on a retreat. Maybe you pray, but you feel that there could be more to your prayer. Maybe you have questions about God and the Church which you want to attend to. Maybe you want to get away from work, family, friends and need to talk to someone who will listen to you without judging you and help you to find a sense of perspective or balance in your life. Maybe God is calling you.
What can you expect when you come on a retreat at St. Beuno’s? An Ignatian Individually Guided Retreat is a time of silence that is structured flexibly. The retreatant is accompanied by a spiritual director, who is trained in listening and accompanying retreatants, and they meet daily for 30-40 minutes. The spiritual director listens to the retreatant and their circumstances and may suggest passages of scripture, various ways of praying and other ways of spending their retreat day.
The retreatant is invited to reflect on their experience in prayer and describe these when they meet. ‘Spiritual discernment’, a process of discerning where God is at work in our lives and also of making God-centred decisions, is central to this accompaniment. The spiritual director, drawing on the wisdom of Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, helps the retreatant as they deepen their relationship with God.
This depends on what questions you have, what you are looking for and where you are on your spiritual journey. Here at St Beuno’s we have a wide range of retreats which can help you and experienced spiritual guides who will accompany you.
If you are attracted to a silent Individually Guided Retreat (IGR) you may wish to come for a weekend, midweek, 6 or 8 day IGR.
If you have not been to a retreat house before or would like to be part of a talking group, you could try the Art Retreat or the Walking Retreat. Or the School of Prayer retreat offers workshops on prayer and the opportunity to try these ways of praying. Whether you have just begun on your spiritual journey or whether you want to deepen your relationship with God, we hope you will find something at St Beuno’s that attracts you and is a good fit for you. You can also make a retreat online by Zoom.
Spiritual direction is a process of accompaniment. The person coming to spiritual direction, whether on a retreat or in their daily life, shares with the ‘Director’ about their prayer, their experiences and their reflections. The director listens with a discerning heart, paying attention to where God may be particularly present in the experience.
The director responds to what they hear in various ways – using active listening skills to help the person articulate further what was significant about their experience; asking questions to help the person explore further what they have experienced; focussing attention on a particular area, word or image the person talked about; offering suggestions for further prayer, reflection or discernment, etc.
Not all the retreats at St Beuno’s are held in silence. On some retreats there are also opportunities to talk with other retreatants about the experience or the input from the retreat team, and also to talk at meals. Often on these retreats there are short periods of silence, as well as areas of the house and grounds where all are encouraged to be quiet if there are others present on silent retreats.
People making any retreat usually find it helpful to have a notebook in which to record their experiences, thoughts and reflections – this is particularly the case for Individually Guided retreats.
You may have a favourite bible that you wish to use, we also provide bibles in each room.
St Beuno’s is located in a beautiful area and many retreatants bring suitable footwear and clothing to go walking in the hills.