Expert Answer Forum

Retreats (followup on Enneagram post) QUESTION from Jeff Campbell February 7, 2000 This is not a question but a suggestion. On the subject of retreats: I am aware of some quite successful retreats that have been done from tents (I understand that the Taize phenomenon in France has taken this form as well). In addition to being accessible financially, it also provides a form of built-in mortification, since the living arrangements are minus the comforts to which people might be accustomed.
I also know of one person, a friend of mine, who has set up a retreat center in a rather barren wilderness, without electricity, heat, or plumbing (it was inspired by her personal experience doing missionary work in the Sudan). It consists of three simple cinder block huts, a fire pit, and an outhouse. People are often surprised at the success it enjoys-particularly with the youth, who love the challenge of a simpler living style and the spiritual challenge of self-denial. It has gotten to the point where the volunteer president of the center (another good friend of mine) is quite swamped every year, including in the winter, when the temperatures often dip below zero at the center.
Just a few suggestions for facilities if the need for a retreat is there but the money is not. Hope that it helps if you decide to take on retreats.
Yours in Christ,
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on Saturday, February 12, 2000 Dear Mr. Jeff:
Thanks for the suggest. And yes, now that you mention it it is true that many people are truly seeking a spiritual experience and are less concerned about creature comforts.
With that in mind we do have enough property to set up some tents -- enough for a classroom and maybe too sleeping tents, and an outhouse tent to supplement the one bathroom we have on the premises.
Not a bad idea. We would still have to invest some money in the tents and other items, but that would be a one time cost.
I think we will seriously consider that -- maybe even for this coming summer (before it gets too hot) or next Fall, after the hot season.
Anyone interested in a retreat at St. Michael House, let us know.
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