The Catholic tradition of a spiritual retreat is a wonderful way to take time away from all your responsibilities and the “noise” of daily life to experience real silence and tranquility and to open yourself to spiritual awakening and growth. Consider spending some time each year in retreat to reset and recharge your spiritual life. There are retreat centers nearby and all over the country and the world, offering a broad array of programs including private retreats with a spiritual director, directed retreats, and group retreats.
Why and How to Make a Retreat (Fr. John McCloskey)
Cursillo is a weekend retreat designed to renew and strengthen your love of Jesus, help you grow in faith, knowledge, and personal holiness, and equip you to bring Christian values to all environments and people with whom you come into contact while making those values the pattern for your own life.
Cursillo (pronounced kur-SEE-yo) is a Spanish word meaning “little course.” It specifically refers to a short course in Christian living. The Cursillo Movement is made up of individuals who have participated in such a short course by attending a Cursillo weekend and who endeavor to apply Christian principles in their daily lives.
The three-day weekend opens on Thursday evening and closes on Sunday evening. A group of about thirty people listen to a series of coordinated talks presented by a team of laypeople and clergy. The weekend provides opportunities for
- Daily Eucharist
- The Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Prayer and Introspection
- Sharing of Experiences
- Spiritual Counseling
The Cursillo Weekend is not a silent retreat. Weekends are planned for men and women separately. In Central Virginia, one women’s weekend is held each spring (April 23-27, 2015), and one men’s weekend is held each fall (October, 2015). Cursillo is not recommended for people who are currently undergoing an emotional or family crisis.
Local Retreat Centers:
Our Lady of the Angels (Crozet)
The Trappist Sisters offer an inspiring place of retreat in nearby Crozet. They support their way of life through farming, and production of delicious gouda cheese. For those who wish a longer immersion in the monastic atmosphere of silence and prayer, they offer the possibility of private retreats in two guest cottages for a stay of a few days or up to one week in duration. The retreat cabins are not available from Thanksgiving until Easter. Reservations may be made by letter or by email: email@example.com
Our Lady of the Angels Monastery Website
Holy Cross Abbey (Berryville, VA)
Want to experience the holiness and liturgy still practiced by monasteries the world over? We are fortunate to have the Holy Cross Abbey Monastery of the Trappist order just two hours north of Charlottesville. They have a wonderful retreat house where you can stay for a period of time, enjoy hearty meals in silence, and participate in the Liturgy of the Hours with the monks. The monastery is located on historic and beautiful land just east of Winchester, Virginia. This is a favorite retreat place for Fr. Gregory.
Priestfield (Kearneysville, WV)
Priestfield is an inspiriting retreat center that offers wonderful facilities with private rooms and cabins for rent, on a peaceful 35 acre property full of trails and natural beauty to indulge your contemplative times of prayer and refreshment. It is a 3 hour drive to this retreat center from Church of the Incarnation.
Priestfield Pastoral Center Website
John Clem shares his retreat experience at Priestfield in his blog Call To Holiness
Diocese of Richmond Retreat Centers
The Diocese of Richmond also runs three retreat centers across the Commonwealth of Virginia:
Jubilee House Retreat Center, Abingdon, (276) 619-0919, 3 hour 45 minute drive
Madonna House, Roanoke, (540) 343-8464, 2 hour 15 minute drive
Shalom House, Montpelier, (804) 883-6149, 1 hour 45 minute drive
San Damiano Spiritual Retreat Center (White Post, Virginia — Arlington Diocese)
San Damiano Spiritual Life Center website, 2 hour drive from Church of the Incarnation
Dominican Retreat (McLean, Virginia) — NOTE: Closing in August 2015
Dominican Retreat website, 2:15 hour drive from Church of the Incarnation
Loyola on the Potomac (Faulkner, Maryland)
Loyola on the Potomac website, 3 hour drive from Church of the Incarnation
The Hermitage at the Franciscan Monastery (Washington, DC)
Blog about the Hermitage by John Clem with photos, video, and links, 2.5 hour drive from Church of the Incarnation
Resources for Retreat Centers in America and Worldwide
Catholic Retreat Finder (Franciscan, Carmelite, Dominican, Cistercian, Benedictine, & Jesuit)