Macrina, Your Sister

What is a retreat?

A retreat is an opportunity for people to get away from their daily routines to pray, reflect, and spend time with God.  Just as Jesus spent 40 days in the desert at the start of His ministry, saints and everyday people throughout history have renewed their spirits by seeking God in stillness.

There are several different types of retreats:

Conference Retreats offer visitors a combination of group presentations and time alone with God.  These retreats, which are usually based around a central theme, have several presentations a day interspersed with quiet time for prayer and reflection.  Silence may be a discipline for at least part of the retreat to allow participants to listen to God with the ears of their hearts.

Guests are welcome to join the sisters for the Liturgy of the Hours, the celebration of the Eucharist, or Adoration.  Our 66 acre campus is dotted with shrines, grottoes, and quiet places for reflection.  Many retreatants enjoy walking our natural stone and wood chip labyrinth, patterned after the labyrinth built into the nave of the Chartres Cathedral in the 13th century.

 Days of Recollection are usually thematic and led by an experienced presenter.  During the seven-hour day, which includes lunch, participants may listen to presentations and enjoy time for quiet reflection.

Directed Retreats allow individuals to pray and reflect in silence, guided by daily meetings with a spiritual director who accompanies discerners on their spiritual journeys and offers suggestions for deepening one’s prayer life.  There is usually minimal interaction with other retreatants, and most keep silence except during their meetings with their spiritual directors.  Ideally, a Silent Directed Retreat lasts three days or longer.

Individual Private Retreats allow people to structure their own retreat for as many days as they choose to stay.  Retreatants are welcome but not required to follow the sisters’ prayer routines, to borrow inspirational books, CD’s, or videos from the sisters’ extensive library, and to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the monastery grounds.  They may also receive individual spiritual direction on a daily or less frequent basis.  Silence is usually a key element of a private retreat.

Individual private retreats, with or without spiritual direction, are available at two locations—St. Scholastica Retreat Center and Hesychia House of Prayer, located in New Blaine, Arkansas.  All other retreats are offered at St. Scholastica Retreat Center.

Hosted retreats are sponsored by faith communities for their members or people with similar spiritual needs or interests.  These retreats are planned by the sponsoring group, and may be interactive, contemplative, or charismatic.  Some groups that sponsor retreats at St. Scholastica Retreat Center include Beginning Experience; Good Shepherds, Good Leaders;  Via de Cristo; Hispanic Cursillo; and parish organizations.  Registrations are handled by the sponsoring group.

Retreats at St. Scholastica Retreat Center are open to people of all faiths.  Guests attending a weekend retreat may choose to extend their retreat experience by staying an extra day or two for a time of quiet prayer.

Hesychia, located on 320 scenic acres about 10 miles east of Subiaco Abbey, has four hermitages which can be rented for short or long-term stays.  Each is equipped with linens, and simple kitchen equipment.  Short-term guests are invited to share the evening meal with the sisters, and to join them in the Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharist each day.

For information on our Retreat in Daily Life, based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, and our Take Home Retreats, visit  Both of these programs combine individual daily study and prayer time at home with short weekly meetings at the Retreat Center.  The Take Home Retreat takes place in a one-week time frame; the Retreat in Daily Life lasts thirty weeks. 

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