Common questions about retreats in Manresa
A directed retreat is a retreat in which time is spent largely in individual prayer and reflection with the regular but brief accompaniment by a spiritual director. Directed retreats are also referred to as individually guided retreats ("IGRs"). Browse Manresa's upcoming directed retreats.
A preached retreat is one in which the presenter or director offers input to the whole group once or twice a day. This is instead of individual daily direction although some directors my be available to meet with individuals on an occasional basis during the course of the retreat. The rest of the day is available for quiet prayer and reflection either indoors or taking advantage of Manresa's attractive environment. Browse Manresa's upcoming preached retreats.
Guided retreats or themed retreat offers some structure with options from which the retreatant may choose. There is a more structured timetable, perhaps with morning prayer, evening or night prayer in common, some material offered to the group for reflection, opportunities for guided prayer in addition to some times for individual meetings with a spiritual director. You will find guided retreats among our shorter retreats.
- Mass is usually celebrated each day and a short period of silent common prayer is generally scheduled during longer retreats. The schedule proposed during shorter retreats varies.
- The Sacrament of Reconciliation is usually available during a retreat.
- The Sacrament of the Sick may be celebrated during some retreats.
All rooms are for single occupancy only and all are en suite.
There is a Bible (New Jerusalem translation) in each room.
Each room is furnished with a chair, bed, built-in desk and wardrobe and a prayer stool. The 'bathrooms' have generous showers and are supplied with towels and soap.
Occupants can control the heat in the bathroom and bedroom individually by using a thermostatically-controlled valve.
All windows can be opened. Ventilation can alternatively be managed by opening or closing the slot above each window.
Storerooms on each corridor allow easy access to occasional requisites such as hair dryers, bulbs and additional linen.
Smoke alarms are fitted throughout the building.
*Please let us know if you need a bathroom with hand-rails, emergency call and accessible shower.
"Bring as much as you need – and as little as possible!"
You may have a hobby (such as running, drawing, walking, knitting) would like to pursue during the retreat and for which you will need to bring such equipment as you can carry easily.
Every bedroom contains:
- a single bed, chair and desk
- a desk/bedside lamp
- a wardrobe with drawers and hangers
- a Bible – New Jerusalem translation
- towels and bed linen
- a private shower, basin and toilet
Additional blankets and linen are available in the store room on each corridor. Hairdryers and lightbulbs can also be found in the storerooms.
Basic supplies are often available at reception in case you forget something.
The silence that we observe well on retreat is to enable us better to notice what is going on in our lives. Arriving in Manresa is the beginning of taking some time apart; the change in your schedule, in how you arrange your time and organise your attention helps you to see what is important. Your times of prayer and reflection and your conversations with a spiritual director enhance the experience of silence.
Meals are typically taken in silence, the ordinary sounds of the dining room being somewhat lessened by quiet music playing in the background at lunch and during evening meals. It is sometimes possible – particularly during shorter retreats – to offer the option of silent or speaking mealtimes.
The prospect of going on retreat may prompt you to pay closer attention to what God is doing in your life. You may begin by asking broadly what you would like from the retreat, what blessing you ask of God. As the retreat approaches, you may notice that specific aspects of life suggest themselves for prayer. It will be helpful, however, to hold all of your considerations lightly as you come on retreat for it is often the case that God has other things in mind for us!
Pray for an open heart and mind
For Ignatius of Loyola, there are some fundamental attitudes that are necessary for the person undertaking the Spiritual Exercises, and so are important for us to consider at any time of retreat. David Fleming paraphrases an early note in the Exercises,
The most important qualities in the person who enters into these exercises are openness, generosity and courage.
Let your basic prayer be for a spirit of openness, for a deepening trust in God who wants to bless you. Conversation with a spiritual director may be of assistance during your time of retreat but the most important element will be the time you give to God in prayer as you respond to the invitation to take time aside.
Ask for an appetite for prayer
The time you will give on retreat is itself a response to God; you may be searching for God but God is already seeking you out. Just as Jesus looked at the disciples and invited them to come away and rest awhile (Mark 6:31), you have heard the same invitation. You might like to ask God to draw you into prayer as you review and revive your habits of taking time alone with God. It may be that a little time with Pray as you go or Sacred Space will be helpful to you, prompting you to reviewing your day and to recognise how God is touching you in your daily experiences.
What are you looking for?
Many retreats begin with the question Jesus put of the disciples, “What are you looking for?” (John 1:35) Ignatius of Loyola helps us to reflect on this question in asking us to pay attention to our desire. You might think of the retreat is a time to relax into confidently expressing yourself to God, naming what it is you really want.
Putting aside busyness
You may enjoy a busy life or appreciate being reliable and productive. Retreat-time invites you to experience yourself in another way as you appreciate yourself as loved by God for who you are. It may seem selfish to focus less on the needs of others and to have so much “free time” but the time you spend on retreat allows you to deepen your relationship with God wants to bless your life too. You are not, after all, the focus of your retreat God is! (Psalm 95:7)
Prayerfully consider what God has been doing
It may be helpful to look back - perhaps to the time since your last retreat, if you have done one before - to recognise more clearly how you have responded to God’s Spirit at work in you. As you prayerfully look over the time gone by it may be helpful to ask,
- What has been most life-giving for me? how have I responded and cherished what God has offered?
- Who are the people who have inspired me most? How has God blessed me through them?
- Do I notice any pattern that has caused me to become discouraged?
- When do I have a sense that God is calling me to more?
- Have I noticed changes in how you pray, in what I seek, in what I value?
Your thought of coming on retreat involves plans that you make, but begins in God. May you approach your time of retreat with hope and joy!
The less you can bring with you on retreat, the better! Bring enough that you can feel comfortable during your time in Manresa.
- You might like to bring your own Bible. While there is a Bible (New Jerusalem Bible) in every room, you may appreciate having a familiar edition or translation with you.
- Many people like to write while they are on retreat; some take time to sketch, draw or paint. You may like to bring your own selection of supplies. (We do have a small art room which has a selection of basic equipment.)
You are welcome to stay if space is available. We may be able to arrange or facilitate the extra nights accommodation on site or nearby. Please contact reception describing your plans and we will see what we can advise.
If some of the nights you have in mind overlap with a scheduled retreat or our housekeeping arrangements require that rooms be available, we may seek an opportunity for some discussion about what is possible.
Manresa is a purpose-built modern retreat house, offering a simple environment with minimal distractions. Every retreatant has a private room with their own bathroom facilities. A lift serves all floors.
- The Dining Room - the oldest part of the building used by retreatants - is available for use from early morning, with mealtimes arranged according to the retreat.
- The Pedro Arrupe Chapel is the main Retreat House chapel, used for mass and prayer during retreats.
- The ‘Evie Hone’ Prayer Room presents major work of the Irish stained glass artist, depicting a range of Gospel scenes and Jesuit saints.
- A small art room provides basic equipment to help retreatants express their insights and aspirations.
- The Montserrat Room is a large conference room used for whole group meetings such as at the beginning of a retreat. It also serves as a spacious sitting room, its attractive views enjoyed by retreatants.
- A Tea Room allows retreatants access to light refreshments at any time.
- A generously-scaled mown-grass labyrinth is situated in a wildflower meadow.
- Mature trees surround mown and wild grass on Manresa's 4.5 hectare (11 acre) site. A paved path allows for walking without having to leave the property.
- Manresa is situated in a UN-designated biosphere of which details can be found here.
Electricity in Ireland is provided at a nominal standard of 230 Volts, 50 Hz.
You may need a power converter and plug adapter.
Power sockets are designated type G.
All rooms have 110/220v sockets over the bathroom mirror for shaver use only.
We always endeavour to cater for medical dietary requirements. It is most helpful when we know of these in advance and are able to make the necessary preparations. We try to acknowledge personal preferences by offering a range of menu items are different meals.
We regularly prepare meals for people who have medical conditions. People with coeliac and diabetic conditions are regular catered for. Please let us know about your particular needs when you book your retreat and we will prepare our menus accordingly. Then, in the dining room, the catering staff will be happy to provide what you need.
Vegetarian options can be provided if requested.
If you have dietary preferences of a non-medical nature, we will do our best to ensure that you have what you need. You may like to bring nonperishable items with you and keep them in your room for your own use.
Our dining room caters for 40+ people, providing cooked meals every day.
Cooking facilities are not available for individual but any special needs are catered to as far as possible.
A microwave oven is available to retreatants for the preparation of hot drinks and is not intended for cooking.
An important preparation when coming on retreat is to make sure that nothing continues to seek your attention. The people you are in touch with may need to be let know that you will be out of contact for a little while.
You are welcome to leave the Manresa contact details (listed here) with those who may want to get in touch with you. If you are concerned about a serious issue which might arise while you are on retreat, please inform some of the Manresa staff who will ensure that you are readily contactable.
Wi-Fi is available throughout the house but is not intended for large-volume use. Instead it will allow access to such online resources as may be helpful during your retreat, enabling you to update your bookmarks, access journals and such.
Wired data connections are not available.
The rooms are free of telephones and we suggest that mobile phones not be used within the building as the sound of conversation disturbs the quiet environment and recollection of others.
A computer is available for light occasional use such as checking in, printing boarding cards and accessing tickets.