The following is an extract from one of the RETREAT ASSOCIATION booklets on how and where to go on retreat.
Have you thought of making a retreat?
What is a retreat?
A retreat is a planned time of spiritual refreshment, with the opportunity to rest, unwind and pray. It offers the chance to reflect in an unhurried way on your life, your relationships, and your experience of God; to ponder the meaning of what has happened to you, and to prepare for the future.
Where would I go?
Most retreats are residential: you go and stay somewhere quiet and apart from your usual daily life, typically in a retreat house. Retreat houses provide a peaceful atmosphere and good accommodation at a modest price. Many are in the countryside, but there are some in towns too. Many people make a retreat each year: some enjoy the adventure of going somewhere different each time, while others return time and again to a house that has become comfortably familiar to them and a spiritual home. Increasingly it is also possible to find a church holding a ‘QUIET DAY’ usually 10am-4pm or just a morning. Similar to a Retreat but using a quiet prayerful place, like a church.
What would I do?
There are many different kinds of retreat, with more or less structure in the way they are organised.
A traditional retreat has daily talks from a leader and the rest of the time kept for prayer and reflection. There may be some periods of silence.
On 'theme' retreats you will be part of a group sharing a particular kind of creative activity, such as painting, clay work, walking or circle dancing, and bringing this activity and your own responses to it into your prayer.
If you would simply like to spend time by yourself, you may make a private retreat. Retreat houses are glad to offer rooms when they are available, and may be able to offer a retreat guide as well. As a beginner, though, and especially if you are unused to extended periods of silence, it is usually better to try something with support and a focus.
How long would it be?
Many retreats occupy a weekend only; others last a few days.
Would there be others there?
Many retreats involve a group of people, and even if you make a private retreat others may be staying at the retreat house at the same time.
How can I find out more?
In December each year the Retreat Association publishes 'Retreats', a magazine which includes addresses and contact details for around 200 retreat houses and in most cases their forthcoming programmes. You could find out the location of your nearest retreat house, and arrange to visit.
Before committing yourself to several days in silence, you may like to try out a shorter time. Many retreat houses offer drop-in days, often monthly, which are a good way to get to know a particular retreat house and to get some experience of what a retreat might be like. On these days you will be free to spend the morning and afternoon at the house, and people may come and go during the day.
Llangasty Retreat House: Information about specific Retreats and Quiet Days
Open to members of Credo Cymru and Affiliates of Y Gymdeithas
Looking for a RESIDENTIAL RETREAT HOUSE?
LLANGASTY RETREAT HOUSE:
Based in a large former Rectory, just outside Brecon and overlooking Llangorse Lake, is highly recommended. They offer a full programme of arranged Retreats but are also open for private retreats. In addition, they have a monthly 'Drop in Day' for people who may either want to consider a longer retreat in the future or simply to experience a time of space and quiet.
If you are looking for a monastic house then you could try this Roman Catholic Monastery just outside Hereford. The community welcomes Retreatants of all Churches. They offer a full Retreat Programme or you could go on a Private Retreat, with the added help of the Monastic Daily Services.
Any Church looking for a place to hold a Quiet Day, then St Peter’s Church, Fairwater in Cardiff can provide a prayed-in space and a quiet garden with refreshment facilities. For further advice contact Fr Colin Sutton by email :