SPIRITUAL DIRECTIONand RETREATS:
PRIVATE, SILENT, DIRECTED and GUIDED
What is a retreat?
A retreat is an opportunity to stop what one is doing in a normally busy life and come away to a quiet place to be with God. This quiet place offers retreatants a private room, three delicious meals, beautiful property and magnificent views of the Niagara River to contemplate.
What is a private (or self-directed) retreat?
A private retreat of one or several days allows a person to take some peaceful time away from everyday activities. This time can be spent in praying, reading, journaling, walking, resting, and other quiet activities that restore the soul. Spiritual Direction can also be included, if desired for an additional fee. Persons can come for private retreat time on a space-available basis. Reservations for a private retreat, with or without Spiritual Direction, must be made several days in advance of arrival.
What is a silent retreat?
A silent retreat is an invitation to a contemplative experience, the opportunity to quiet our minds, hearts and bodies so that we might better hear what God is saying to us. Concretely this means there is thoughtful attention to avoiding noise of any sort, no speaking or otherwise communication with others including silence at meals (soft music provided) in order to maintain the contemplative atmosphere.
What is a directed retreat?
A directed retreat gives participants the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a qualified spiritual director for individually guided prayer. Except for meeting with one’s director and liturgy, the time is spent in silence and prayer. Directed retreats are scheduled throughout the year. Directed retreats are silent retreats.
What is a guided retreat?
A guided retreat is a blend of a directed and a preached retreat. Participants meet as a group once a day for a presentation and later for Eucharist. Each presentation will extend an invitation to spend time in prayer contemplating the Scriptural theme of the day. Retreatants are offered the opportunity to meet daily with a spiritual director to share the prayer experience. Guided retreats are silent retreats.
Why silence during a retreat?
Our silent retreats offer the experience of solitude within the support of a group. Not intentionally communicating with others through speaking, notes, telephone or other forms of contact allows one and others to more readily settle into the flow of the retreat, and supports the arising of tranquility and insight. Within the silence there will be opportunity to meet with the spiritual director. The spiritual director is available for your support when needed. Silence is usually broken near the end of the retreat to allow for a sharing of experience and to facilitate connection with others on retreat.
Silence fosters a sense of solitude and helps to provide a space for quieting the body, mind and spirit. It provides an atmosphere that supports and facilitates the inner unfolding of insight and the deepening of meditation. As a support for the inner and outer silence of all, retreatants must agree to refrain from communication during the retreat, which includes communication with other retreatants, either by notes, eye contact or body language. This will allow you to be in community with others in a supportive, respectful way. Retreatants may communicate with spiritual directors and staff when it is necessary
What is spiritual direction?
Spiritual direction is a journey of three persons: God, a qualified spiritual director, and a directee. The director explores with the directee where God has been present in the various areas of the person’s life (work, home, environment, etc.). The aim of spiritual direction is to deepen the directee’s relationship with God. Generally, one meets with a spiritual director once a month.
How can I find a spiritual director?
If you are interested in more information on spiritual direction or to be connected with a spiritual director, call the office at 905-356-4113 or email at
How much does it cost?
There is a fee to sustain the ministry of the spiritual centre. The donation per session at Mount Carmel is $50.00 CDN or US equivalent.