Retreat centers are plentiful across
our state and country. Search online for "Wisconsin Catholic
retreat centers" or consider a few nearby:
Norbertine Center for
1016 N. Broadway
De Pere, WI 54115
4471 Flaherty Lane
Denmark, WI 54208
Holy Name Retreat House
1000 N. Ballard Road
Appleton WI 54911
Jesuit Retreat House
4800 Fahrnwald Road
Oshkosh, WI 54902
800-962-7330 (toll-free from Wisconsin)
St. Anthony Spirituality Center
300 East 4th Street
Marathon, WI 54448
By Renae Bauer
If life is a journey and heaven is our destination, then how can
we ensure we are on the right path?
The obvious answer for Catholics is to participate in Sunday
Mass and the Sacraments. To supplement, there are hundreds of forms
of prayer, wonderful books to read and all sorts of acts of
charity. But have you ever thought about a retreat?
Those unfamiliar with a "spiritual vacation" might bristle at
the thought. But a retreat -- whether it's one day or seven -- can
help a person reconnect with God and grow spiritually.
"A retreat is sacred time for each Sister and for any person
spiritually committed to growing in the Lord," says Sister Carrie
Zahringer, who just completed a week-long retreat. "Some summers
I've made directed retreats (meeting individually with a spiritual
director to discuss prayer and faith). Other summers I've opted to
make a preached retreat," where the leader presents a topic in
Making a retreat doesn't require you to travel to some far-flung
location. A retreat might be as near as your parish. "It would
probably be good for someone who has never experienced a retreat to
begin with a day of reflection. Many parishes offer these," says
Sister Lynne Marie Simonich.
Whether at your parish or at a retreat center, most retreats are
free of external distractions such as computers, phones and TVs. By
unplugging, retreatants are better able to focus on God's presence,
both in prayer and in the surroundings.
"One year, I saw the Northern Lights during the late-night
hours, and lady slipper orchids during a day-time hike. There were
many discoveries in nature during those retreats," says Sister
The other "distraction" most retreats are free of is talking --
including at meal times. Known as silent retreats, this format
encourages a retreatant to quiet oneself and be open to hearing
Says Sister Lynne Marie: "No matter which kind of retreat we
choose, the important part is being open to the Spirit speaking in
us and allowing ourselves to slow down and listen."
This story originally appeared in the Sisters' newsletter.
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