Retreat Schedule 2014

Our Preached Retreat program provides a rich variety of spiritual presentations for men and women. In these preached retreats there is a leader or presenter(s) who offer conferences each day, leads discussions and is available for private counseling. The presenter(s) gives 2 or 3 talks a day, followed by suggested readings to be used during the retreatant's personal prayer throughout the day. The day also offers an opportunity to share in the Eucharist, participate in the Divine Office, and invites you to spend your day, including meals, in prayerful silence.

Click HERE for Retreat Schedule 2015

THE WEEKEND RETREAT— If you are interested in participating in a spiritual journey but only have weekends available, these retreats are for you. The conferences are scheduled Friday thru Sunday. You will check in on Friday after 2:00 pm, and check out by 1:00 pm on Sunday.

THE MIDWEEK RETREAT— The mid-week retreats are much like our weekend retreats though often at a more leisurely pace, providing more time for personal prayer and reflection. The conferences are scheduled Monday thru Thursday. You will check in on Monday after 2:00 pm, and check out by 12:00 noon on Thursday.

RETREAT SCHEDULES 2014
Jan   Feb   March  April   May   June   July   Aug   Sept   Oct   Nov   Dec

January 3-5 (Weekend)
Vocation Discernment
(Br. Michael)
This retreat is open to both men and women.  For some people, an experience such as a vocational discernment retreat comes at a point in their lives when they have begun to feel, or have felt for some time, an inner pull toward the religious life or perhaps the monastic way. This can prove to be a trying and confusing time in which it is hard to discern the basic direction in their lives. Vocational discernment retreats provide a prayerful atmosphere of silence, beauty and peace in which retreatants come together with others to listen to God and their own hearts.
 

January 10-12 (Weekend)
Contemplative Prayer
(Frs. Tom Francis & Gerard and Br. Michael)
Prayer is a loving exchange with God. Vocal prayer, meditation, praying the scripture and the Church’s liturgical prayers are all foundational to that relationship, but we can unwittingly limit God by our thoughts and feelings. As we surrender our entire being to God in love through centering prayer, we open our hearts, minds, and entire being to be transformed by God in love. 

January 13-16 (Midweek)
Memories of Walker Percy
(Fr. James Behrens & Br. Elias)
Born and raised in the South, Percy wrestled with philosophical and religious themes and his writing helped him crystallize a form and content in order to situate the human as wandering denizen in a universe imbued with mystery. Father James and Brother Elias knew Percy and his family quite well. James and Elias both have roots in Covington, Louisiana, where Walker lived, loved, and wrote. James and Elias will share their insights into Walker’s life and writing and offer more than a few anecdotes from their recollections of Walker’s life and the friendship he shared with them.
 

January 24-26 (Weekend)
Good Grief—Moving from Loss to New Beginnings
(Fr. Tom Francis & Br. Mark)
Grief can help us move from the pain of loss into new hope and trust.  One door is closed, and the window of fresh air blows into our lives.  We can get stuck in the mud of endless tears, or we can look up to God, who is waiting to draw us up on eagles’ wings.  We can pretend there is no pain in our loss, letting it mysteriously rob our energy, hope and love, or we can wake up to its pain in new and fresh horizons.  God is waiting to be gracious to each of us.
 

February 7-9 (Weekend)                                                                                                      back to top
(Martha Gross)
If God loves me why is it so hard to love myself?
How can I love my neighbor if I find it so hard to love myself? We are taught that God loves us and we ought to love God, our neighbor and ourselves, but how can we give something to others that we don’t have? This retreat will offer tools for coming to know God’s unconditional love at the kind of deep cellular level that enables us to love and accept ourselves in the brokenness of our human condition. 

February 14-16 (Weekend)
Prayer and the Image of God
(Abbot Francis Michael & Fr. Anthony)
The focus of this retreat is discovering and exploring our images of God and how they affect our prayer.  As St. Teresa of Avila learned, discovering the images of God can profoundly affect our prayer life and ultimately our relationship with God.
 

February 21-23 (Weekend)
The Monk Within
(Br. Michael)
As we are all contemplatives; we all have a “monk within.”  Come and discover "the monk within you." This retreat will focus on ways to nourish the contemplative dimension in yourself through prayer, silence, solitude, work and community.
 

February 24-27 (Midweek)
Praying with the Scriptures
(Frs. Tom Francis & Gerard and Br. Michael)
The practice of lectio divina, meaning divine reading, is a form of prayer where one ponders Sacred Scriptures as a means of seeking communion with God. This retreat will discuss the steps of lectio divina and how we can practice this form of prayer in everyday lives as a tool to deepen our relationship with Christ.
 

March 17-20 (Midweek)                                                                                                       back to top
Surrendering to Love, a Lenten Retreat
(Fr. Gerard)
Lent awakens us to the invitation of God, echoed in the longing within every human heart. Lent encourages us to surrender to God’s unconditional love and live out His love always in all our ways. 

March 31-April 3 (Midweek)
Vocation Discernment
(Br. Michael)
This retreat is open to both men and women.  For some people, an experience such as a vocational discernment retreat comes at a point in their lives when they have begun to feel, or have felt for some time, an inner pull toward the religious life or perhaps the monastic way. This can prove to be a trying and confusing time in which it is hard to discern the basic direction in their lives. Vocational discernment retreats provide a prayerful atmosphere of silence, beauty and peace in which retreatants come together with others to listen to God and their own hearts.

April 11-13 (Weekend)                                                                                                            back to top
Palm Sunday: Meeting Jesus during Holy Week
(Frs. Anthony & James)
In the Passion narratives of the Gospels, we meet three facets of Jesus: (1) Jesus who plumbs the depths of human pain and alienation; (2) Jesus who reaches out to others in concern and forgiveness, even on the road to Calvary; and (3) Jesus who freely lays down His life and embraces death as victory.  Contemplating these facets assures us that God is listening, even in our darkest hours of pain, failure and alienation. We can find God in suffering when we open ourselves to His reconciling compassion and forgiveness.  Even the worst evil and distortion in our world have no power over Jesus or those to whom He gives life

April 17-20 (Weekend)
Sacred Triduum and Easter Sunday
(Frs. Anthony & Tom Francis)
This retreat will help you to enter deeply into the powerful events that are the very foundation of our Christian lives.  On Holy Thursday, we celebrate the gifts of the Eucharist and loving service to one another in the washing of the feet.  On Good Friday, we walk with Jesus in His Passion and death.  On Holy Saturday, we spend time with Jesus in the silence of the tomb in preparation for the joy of the Resurrection on Easter.

April 25-27 (Weekend)
Divine Mercy Retreat
(Frs. Anthony & Gerard and Br. Mark)
God has revealed to us His boundless, merciful love in His Son, Jesus.  His heart was broken with love as He wept over a Jerusalem that would later refuse His love, nailing Him to a cross.  That cross brings us hope today.  The message has rung out through the centuries, yet we have often become deaf to His merciful love.  This retreat will focus on how we can receive the healing love, poured out from the radiant heart of our Lord, once we learn to put our trust in Him.

May 2-4 (Weekend)                                                                                                              back to top  
Image, Faith & Photography
(Fr. James, John Spink & Matthew Jeffres) Humanity is made in the image and likeness of God. Photography, at its best, can bring to view beautiful images that evoke a powerful sense of God's presence in our world. John Spink, a well known photographer whose work graces the pages of The Atlanta Journal Constitution, will share his insights and images. Matthew Jeffres is a friend of the monastery and also a professional photographer. He will also share his photographs, many of which are from this area. Fr. James Behrens will lead the retreat and share his photographs and comments on faith and the photographic imagination.

May 9-11(Weekend)
Mary, God’s Mother and Ours
(Frs. Gerard & Tom Francis)
Vatican Council II never intended to downgrade or discourage Marian piety. Just the opposite: the bishops deepened and expanded its theological, biblical and liturgical roots so that Marian piety and devotion could be strengthened. These avenues will be explored in Conferences given on this weekends retreat.

May 12-15 (Midweek)
Contemplative Prayer
Prayer is a loving exchange with God. Vocal prayer, meditation, praying the scripture and the Church’s liturgical prayers are all foundational to that relationship, but we can unwittingly limit God by our thoughts and feelings. As we surrender our entire being to God in love through centering prayer, we open our hearts, minds, and entire being to be transformed by God in love.

May 23-25 (Weekend)
Yoga and Christian Contemplation
(Fr. Tom Francis & Tyler Francisco )
Communion with God in the silence of the heart is a God-given capacity.  For the Christian, the life of prayer is central to living the faith.  Also, for many Christians, Yoga has become part of their everyday lives.  Can the life of prayer and the practice of Yoga be integrated?  For those new to Yoga or for the experienced practitioner, this retreat will explore what the Early Church Fathers had to say about the life of prayer, while integrating Yoga into Christian contemplation.

June 2-5 (Midweek)                                                                                                              back to top
Spirituality of Imperfection
(Abbot Francis Michael & Br. Michael)
The spirituality of imperfection speaks to those who seek meaning in the absurd, peace within the chaos, light within the darkness, and joy within the suffering, without denying the reality and even the necessity of absurdity, chaos, darkness, and suffering. This is not spirituality for the saints or the gods, but for people who suffer from what the philosopher and psychologist William James called “torn-to-pieces-hood.” We have all known that experience. To be human is to feel, at times, divided, fractured, and pulled in a dozen directions ... and to yearn for serenity and some healing of our “torn-to-pieces-hood.

June 6-8 (Weekend)
Healing a Painful Past
(Martha Gross)
We cannot go back and undo the past: the pain we have endured and the pain we might have caused. We can, however, invite God to heal our memories, helping us to forgive others, ourselves and even God. Some of our most negative memories can become windows that allow God’s love to enter our hearts, replacing fear, anger, resentment, shame, or remorse with peace, love, gratitude, and reconciliation.

June 16-19 (Midweek)
Eucharist: The Source and Summit of Christian Life
(Fr. Gerard)
We will spend time loving and adoring Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, day and night, throughout this retreat.  We will talk about bringing the power of that Adoration into every corner of our lives, especially our families, recreation, places of study, and work.  Jesus longs for us to treat all persons as created in His image and likeness.  St. Benedict says that we should be “treating the tools of the monastery like the vessels of the altar!”  We seek to make this real and not just pious talk!

June 20-22 (Weekend)
Journey Toward God Through Trust and Purity of Heart
(Br. Mark)
Freedom from inner clutter, allows us the grace to trust in God with a pure heart.  Do we live our faith?  We say that we trust God, but do we really?  Join us as we work through the impediments that prevent our child-like faith from flourishing in a life of joy.

June 27-29 (Weekend)
Self Confrontation
(Br. Mark)
A retreat that deals with the need to grow through self knowledge and the courage to make that journey.

July 4-6 (Weekend)                                                                                                                back to top
Vocation Discernment
(Br. Michael)
This retreat is open to both men and women.  For some people, an experience such as a vocational discernment retreat comes at a point in their lives when they have begun to feel, or have felt for some time, an inner pull toward the religious life or perhaps the monastic way. This can prove to be a trying and confusing time in which it is hard to discern the basic direction in their lives. Vocational discernment retreats provide a prayerful atmosphere of silence, beauty and peace in which retreatants come together with others to listen to God and their own hearts.

July 14-17 (Midweek)
A Spiritual Healing Retreat for Veterans
(Frs. Gerard & Anthony and Andrew Farris) This healing retreat is for all veterans suffering from the trauma of war. "The journey out of war." *Healing begins with asking for God's forgiveness, and embracing the gift of life He has given us. This retreat will help "soul-wounded" vets overcome feelings of guilt, honor their lost friends, achieve self-forgiveness, and celebrate the gift of life through a healing ceremony. The retreat will put into words how to create a one-to-one relationship with God through contemplative prayer. Spouses are encouraged to attend. * W.M. Mahedy, Out of the Night.

July 18-20 (Weekend)
Writing & Journal Keeping
(Fr. James)
Explore your personal connection between the inner life and the written word. This weekend includes time for silence, journaling, and reflection on the relationship between writing and the spiritual life. Suitable for professional and amateur writers at all skill levels, this weekend does not include personal criticism or feedback.  Instead, it simply creates a space where you can write, pray, and perhaps even combine the two into a unified spiritual practice.

July 25-27 (Weekend)
Anger, Resentment & Forgiveness
(Abbot Francis Michael & Fr. Anthony)
Forgiveness of all is a central challenge of Jesus' ministry. We can often get stuck in anger or resentment. History teaches us that this has led tribes and nations to marginalize, dehumanize, and kill other tribes, nations and peoples. This retreat will help us own our anger and resentment. While we have no pat answers, Christ is with us to empower us to forgive, to live forgiveness, and thus be the leaven of love to our communities in our modern world.

August 1-3 (Weekend)
Contemplative Prayer                                                                                                              back to top
(Frs. Tom Francis & Gerard and Br. Michael)
Prayer is a loving exchange with God. Vocal prayer, meditation, praying the scripture and the Church’s liturgical prayers are all foundational to that relationship, but we can unwittingly limit God by our thoughts and feelings. As we surrender our entire being to God in love through centering prayer, we open our hearts, minds, and entire being to be transformed by God in love.

August 8-10(Weekend)
God is Love: Contemplation and Action
(
Fr. Tom Francis & Scott Hodgman)
The Catechism teaches us that the Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature" for this is why the Word became man and the Son of God became the Son of Man (Catechism, 460). Who is this God of which we partake and how do we partake of God? With contemplative prayer and God's justice as our goal, this retreat offers a Vision of right relationship with God and one another through three scriptural passages: God is Love; Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind; and Love one another, even as I have Loved you.

August 11-14
(Midweek)Joyful Challenges of Life after 50
(Frs. Anthony & James and Br. Mark)

The autumn years are a time when the greatest riches of life can unfold. This retreat will explore some of the ways to nourish our inner lives and stir our souls through challenges that make the most of this stage in our life.

August 15-17 (Weekend)
Boundaries
(Br. Michael)
This retreat will focus on “boundary issues.”  Do you “invade” other people’s boundaries?  Do you allow others to “cross” your boundaries?  Boundaries are legitimate, healthy “fences” that we put between ourselves and others in order to maintain healthy relationships.  The purposes of having boundaries are to protect and care for ourselves, and respect others, thereby establishing healthy relationships.

August 22-24 (Weekend)
Yoga and Christian Contemplation
(Fr. Tom Francis & Tyler Francisco)
Communion with God in the silence of the heart is a God given capacity.  For the Christian, the life of prayer is central to living the faith.  Also, for many Christians, Yoga has become part of their everyday lives.  Can the life of prayer and the practice of Yoga be integrated?  For those new to Yoga or for the experienced practitioner, this retreat will explore what the Early Church Fathers had to say about the life of prayer, while integrating Yoga into Christian contemplation. 

August 29-31 (Weekend)
Listening to God
(Frs. Anthony & Gerard)
This retreat focuses on learning to listen to God with the ears of our hearts. We will learn to how to listen to God speak to us through the Scriptures, how to listen in the monastic tradition (Rule of Benedict), how to listen to conscience, the silence of God, and how to listen to the hearts of our brothers and sisters.  Please bring a notebook for journaling.

September 5-7 (Weekend)                                                                                                     back to top
Cistercian Spirituality Retreat
(Fr. Anthony & Abbot Francis Michael)
This retreat will explore how the Charisms, such as patience, humility, Liturgy of the Hours, lectio divina, silence, and solitude, that define the life of the monastic community can be readily translated to the lay community. Both monastic and Lay Cistercians will discuss how they live the Charisms in their everyday life.

September 15-18 (Midweek)
Jesus and Gospel Women: Touched by the Lord
(Dewey Weiss Kramer)
Jesus reaches out repeatedly to women, letting them experience his presence in a powerful, life-changing way.  Reading and meditating upon selected Gospel passages encourages retreatants to enter into the close personal relationship modeled in Jesus’ encounters with women of diverse circumstances and situations.  Not just for women, these encounters reveal a God concerned with the full human flourishing of all.

September 19-21 (Weekend)
Where is God when it hurts?
(Martha Gross)
When times are toughest, it often seems God is silent or perhaps absent. This retreat helps us discover God’s loving presence in the midst of hardship, loss grief, and illness—those times we are most keenly aware of our longing to know God’s love and healing touch.

September 26-28 (Weekend)
Lay Communities
(Rocky Thomas, Dianne Murray, & Joel Alesi OFS)
Is the Lord calling you to a deeper spirituality? A panel of members representing these three major Lay Groups will be present to explain the characteristic of their community, share their personal journey and answer your questions.

October 24-26 (Weekend)                                                                                                     back to top
The Monk Within

(Br. Michael)
As we are all contemplatives; we all have a “monk within.”  Come and discover "the monk within you." This retreat will focus on ways to nourish the contemplative dimension in yourself through prayer, silence, solitude, work and community.

November 3-6 (Midweek)                                                                                                    back to top
Thomas Merton & Mary Oliver: Poetry as a Path toward Mysticism
(Victor Kramer)
In this guided retreat poems selected from Merton’s  “In the Dark before Dawn” and from Oliver’s selected poems, vol. 1, will be used to affirm the wonders of God’s creation. The retreat seeks to provide an atmosphere of prayerful encounter by way of reading short poems which affirm the presence of God and the beauty of God’s gifts of creation.

November 7-9 (Weekend)
Wisdom of the Christian Mystics
(Br. Elias & Carl McColman)
From the Desert Fathers to Julian of Norwich to Thomas Merton, Christian history is filled with stories of men and women who experienced a profound sense of God's presence in their lives. Can the teachings of the mystics still speak to us today?  The mystics themselves would say "Yes."  Furthermore, their message is not just for priests, monks or nuns, but is indeed meant for the entire people of God.  With this in mind, during this weekend we will look at several ways that the wisdom of the Christian mystics can provide insight and inspiration for our age, including the universal call to holiness, St. Paul's directive to "pray without ceasing," and the promise from the Psalms to "Be still and know that I am God."

November 14-16 (Weekend)
12 Step Spirituality for Everyone
(Br. Michael)
This retreat will show how everyone can use the Twelve Steps of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) in their spiritual lives.  The retreat will provide practical ways to use the Twelve Steps as spiritual “tools” on your journey to God.

November 24-26 (Midweek)
Spirituality of Thank-Full-Ness
(Frs. Gerard & Anthony)
Practicing the spirituality of thankfulness strengthens our faith, as we remember the evidence of God's presence in our lives. Thank-full-ness encourages others, giving them strength and joy for their journey.

November 28-30 (Weekend)
Vocation Discernment
(Br. Michael)
This retreat is open to both men and women. For some people an experience such as a vocational discernment retreat comes at a point in their lives when they have begun to feel, or have felt for some time, an inner pull toward the religious life or perhaps the monastic way. This can prove to be a trying and confusing time in which it is hard to discern the basic direction in their lives. Vocational discernment retreats provide a prayerful atmosphere of silence, beauty and peace in which retreatants come together with others to listen to God and their own hearts.

December 1-4 (Midweek)                                                                                                         back to top
Christmas Stories
(Fr. James & Br. Mark)
Fr. James and Br. Mark will share some of their Christmas stories and memories.  We will also invite participants to share their stories with us.

December 5-7 (Weekend)
Contemplative Prayer
(Frs. Tom Francis & Gerard and Br. Michael)
Prayer is a loving exchange with God. Vocal prayer, meditation, praying the scripture and the Church’s liturgical prayers are all foundational to that relationship, but we can unwittingly limit God by our thoughts and feelings. As we surrender our entire being to God in love through centering prayer, we open our hearts, minds, and entire being to be transformed by God in love.

December 12-14 (Weekend)
Pray As You Can
(Fr. Anthony) Just as there are no two snowflakes exactly alike, prayer is different for each of us. Personal preferences may vary, yet each one is called to "pray as one can, not as one can't." We will take an in-depth look at prayer as described in the book Praying in the Cellar.

Mass and Liturgy Schedules

Prayer services are held 7 times throughout the day beginning with Vigils at 4 a.m. and ending with Compline at 7:30 p.m. Click below for the Monastery’s detailed prayer schedule.