At one time Manresa House was a single-product retreat house. You signed in for a set number of days, listened to sermons, and possibly talked with the director. 2015 sees a different scene, a richness of options: New Year Vigil, Oasis days, Spring weekends, training in spiritual direction, directed or preached retreats, Exercises in Daily Life. Many use Manresa simply as a place where you can find somebody to talk to. Recovering alcoholics find support there for one of the Twelve Steps.
2015 began in Manresa with a group gathered in vigil as part of the New Year retreat. In contrast with many businesses which close for the holidays, the retreat house was full of people who gathered to reflect on the old year and to prepare for the new. One of the group – largely of lay people – described spending long periods simply sitting in the prayer room enjoying God’s company and realising that, “I think he enjoyed mine!”
Among the retreats which have grown in popularity in recent years are the one-day and weekend retreats. Oasis Days are now offered each month and are greatly appreciated by those who avail of the time of quiet, prayer and guidance offered in Manresa. a recent participant remarked, “Today was my first experience of an Oasis day and I am very happy that I came. I found it helpful and enriching – challenging but not threatening.” Others record their appreciation of the welcome, the place, the gentle direction and input and the support they experience in living their faith. The next Oasis Day is scheduled for Saturday 28 March.
Manresa’s weekend retreats typically run from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon and, like the Oasis Days, provide some guidance in prayer, the opportunity to meet individually with a spiritual director, structured prayer and time for silent recollection. The next weekend retreat is the Spring Weekend Retreat, which will be directed by Brendan McManus SJ, Orla Cunningham and Piaras Jackson SJ.
The training course for spiritual directors continues apace – even after 40 years! Members of Manresa’s retreat team collaborate with others to provide the course in Manresa, in Galway and – for the first time this year – in Drumalis, County Antrim. Anyone who has thought about availing of this training might be reminded that this is a good time to discern about applying for joining the next intake which will begin to undertake the two-year training in September.
As building plans progress, the emerging schedule has recently made it clear that will be possible to continue to use the retreat house throughout the summer for which a full schedule of retreats is planned, details of which are available on Manresa’s website where you will find a full listing. Manresa’s brochure is available on request – just telephone Fiona at 01 8331352.
2014 saw very good attendances throughout the summer, as numbers of people from around the world took time out in Manresa. The well-regarded directed retreats were augmented by the inclusion of a number of preached retreats. These proved a popular addition to the programme and are available again this year on a schedule which presents retreats of varying durations – day, weekend as well as the 8-day retreats. The Spiritual Exercises were not offered in the 30-day form this year to facilitate the building plans, although the Exercises Exercises in Daily Life (EDL) remain available.