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Top seven spiritual retreats

17 May 2019

Alison MacTier considers where you can make the Spiritual Exercises

Ty Siwan accommodation at Llannerchwen, in Powys

Ty Siwan accommodation at Llannerchwen, in Powys

THERE are several retreat centres at which you can make the Spiritual Exercises, either as a 30-day retreat; in parts (30 days split into two or three parts); or in daily life (also called the 19th Annotation). Most of these retreats require some kind of application process, a familiarity with silence, and Ignatian spirituality.


1. Attic Retreats, Chatham, Kent.

What: Attic retreats is a peaceful environment in the middle of the busy town of Chatham, in Kent. The vision of Attic Retreats is to support and nourish the Church and its workers by offering a space for people to seek God and reflect on their experiences. The Ignatian Spiritual Exercises are offered as 30 days, in part, or 19th Annotation.

Facilities: Two bedrooms, a prayer room, bathroom, and a kitchenette for self-catering; chapel, and access to the garden at the back of the house.

Costs: By donation.

Contact: susannecarlssons@hotmail.co.uk; or visit Rochester diocese website, www.rochester.anglican.org.


2. Cenacle Retreat House, Liverpool.

What: The Cenacle Sisters are an international congregation; their mission is service, prayer, and community life.

When: Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius are available as 30 days, or three sessions of ten days, or two sessions of 15 days. Applicants for the Exercises will need to have had experience of an individually guided retreat (IGR) of at least six days. Dates by arrangement.

Facilities: Seven en-suite rooms, chapel, and dining room.

Costs: Suggested offering £55 per 24 hours.

Contact: Phone 0151 722 2271; email Jean Page at jean.page4@btinternet.com, or Sr Winnie Young at winniecenacle@mail.com); or visit www.cenaclesisters.co.uk/retreats.


3. Ignatian Spirituality Centre, Glasgow.

What: The Centre is run by the Jesuits in Glasgow city centre. The team is ecumenical, and welcomes anyone open to the Christian faith.

When: The Centre organises several Ignatian and IGRs in centres in the UK, Ireland, and Spain. It also offers weekend retreats, and retreats in daily life.

Facilities: The centre in Glasgow is non-residential, but other centres are residential.

Costs: Suggested donation for full Spiritual Exercises over a number of months in Glasgow £550; 30 days in Loyola, Spain, €2365; eight-day IGR at Drumalis, Northern Ireland, £650.

Contact: Phone 0141 354 0077; email admin@iscglasgow.co.uk; or visit www.iscglasgow.co.uk.


4. Llannerchwen (Society of the Sacred Heart), Powys, Wales.

What: Llannerchwen is run by lay women on behalf of a Roman Catholic order. The centre is situated in a secluded setting and has panoramic views of the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains.

When: Ignatian Spiritual Exercises can be arranged either as a full 30-day retreat (February only, self-catering) or in three parts of ten days (with cooked lunch option or as a non-residential); 19th Annotation retreats by private arrangement.

Facilities: Eight single cabins (three individual hermitages, one mobility-friendly, four self-contained units). All accommodation is en suite and equipped for self-catering. Small chapel and creative-arts cabin.

Costs: Self-catering 30-day £1500; ten-day with lunch £600; ten-day self-catering £535; 19th Annotation, by arrangement.

Contact: Phone 01874 622902; email retreats@llannerchwen.org.uk; or visit www.llannerchwen.org.uk


5. Manresa Jesuit Centre of Spirituality, Dublin, Ireland.

What: Manresa is a Jesuit retreat house, located on Dublin Bay but within easy reach of Dublin’s city centre and airport. The centre offers a range of three-, four-, six-, eight-day Ignatian retreats in silence, and the 30-day Spiritual Exercises.

Facilities: 42 single en-suite rooms, one accessible single en-suite room.

Costs: Three-day €280; four-day €355; six-day €500; eight-day €645; 30-day €2475.

Contact: Phone 00 353 1 833 1352; email reception@manresa.ie; or visit www.manresa.ie.


6. Sisters of St Andrew, London, SE13.

Who: The Sisters of St Andrew are an Ignatian congregation welcoming individuals and groups for times of retreat, silence, and personal reflection.

When: The Spiritual Exercises are offered as 30 days, in three parts, or also the 19th Annotation (where meetings take place weekly or fortnightly).

Facilities: Six single rooms with WC and washbasin, and two en suite. Disabled access within the house. Fully equipped kitchenettes (retreats are self-catering only); for programmed IGRs, meals can be provided. Chapel, large garden, including grass labyrinth.

Costs: Suggested donation between £25 and £45 per day (self-catering). For the 19th Annotation, between £20 and £40.

Contact: Phone 020 8852 1662; welcome@sisters-of-st-andrew.com; or visit www.sisters-of-st-andrew.com

Sisters of St Andrew’s house in Lewisham, south-east London


7. St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre, Denbighshire, Wales.

Manresa Jesuit Centre of Spirituality in DublinWhat: St Beuno’s is the Jesuits in Britain’s residential retreat centre, located in rural North Wales with views of the Vale of Clwyd and Snowdonia. It is Roman Catholic in basis and welcoming to all, and offers long and short IGRs. The centre offers the full Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius three times a year, and also in two or three “stages”. There is also a full programme of silent IGRs.

When: Retreats are available for autumn 2019 and 2020. Applicants need to have made a silent IGR before doing the Exercises (particularly the 30-day retreat).

Facilities: 60 single rooms, of which 33 are en-suite.

Costs: Full Spiritual Exercises £1944-£2700, depending on room; Exercises in three stages (cost per stage) £594-£825; Exercises in two stages (costs per stage) £864-£1200.

Contact: Phone 01745 583444; email info@beunos.com; or visit www.beunos.com


Alison MacTier is executive director of the Retreat Association, which gives information and advice about finding a retreat and spiritual director.


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