Saturday, March 21, 2015
I recently went on a men's silent retreat at the White House Retreat center in Oakville, Missouri overlooking the Mississippi river. It is a Jesuit retreat house that has been in existence since 1922 and is patterned after the St. Ignatius of Loyola's teachings of the Spiritual Exercises. The retreat is 3 days beginning on Thursday evening and lasting until Sunday afternoon at around 2 pm. Retreatants have their own private room in a residence hall that accommodates about 150 people. The rooms are modest and on the small side, with a single bed, desk and rocking chair being the only items in the room. A bathroom with toilet and shower adjoin the room with no door. My room had a view of the Mississippi river which was very nice. Barges could be seen going up and down river throughout the weekend. Meals were eaten in a dining hall. The food was very good and served by young women from the area who seemed to really enjoy their job. The days were filled with a full schedule of talks in the chapel, given by a visiting priest from Kansas City. There were also times for praying the rosary, morning prayers, benediction, and confessions. Private meetings with the resident priests could also be arranged. There was plenty of time given for personal time of prayer and reflection on the talks, as well. Nature walks were also an option to those wishing to brave the cold weather. A paved path through the woods along the river featured the Stations of the Cross. While the retreat is silent by rule, there are a few times in the evenings after dinner, when talking is allowed with the other retreatants. Overall, it was a great experience which I enjoyed thoroughly, and I will definitely plan to be back next year!