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" Preparing our Hearts"

an advent Day Retreat

Saturday, December 9th, 2023



A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness
   the way for the Lord
make straight in the desert
   a highway for our God.

And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
   and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Isaiah 40:3,5

"We desire to be able to welcome Jesus at Christmastime,

not in a cold manger of our heart, but in a heart full of love and humility,

in a heart so pure, so immaculate, so warm with love for one another.” 

 Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta



Saturday - December 9th, 2023 / from 9am to 4pm.


This retreat is being held at Joseph & Mary Retreat Center in Mundelein, in-person only.

Your Guide...

The day will be facilitated by Spiritual Director & Retreat guide, Cecilia T. Whitacre

Our hope for the retreat...

We sincerely hope that this day of retreating will help you experience Advent and Christmas more deeply, peacefully, and meaningfully.  We hope to offer some times of quiet listening and reflection to hear and experience a deepening of your relationship with the Lord, as you prepare your heart to receive all He wants to give.

Suggested Offering?

A suggested offering of $85.00 is greatly appreciated and will include lunch and a take home Advent devotional. 

Please don't let the cost keep you from coming.  Please reach out and ask for some scholarship assistance.

(Fees are non-refundable if you are unable to attend the day of the event, but transferable to another attendee)

Register today below!

There is limited space available. Please register no later than Dec. 1st.  

Retreat Outline


            8:30am Arrival & Welcome Coffee 

            9am Opening Invitations and Why Advent? the significance of Advent

                           Morning Prayer Experience

            10am - Quiet Personal Reflection time / Advent Stations

          (Reserved 1-1 Appointments held during this time) 

            11:30am Lunch

             1pm Midday Prayer Experience                        

      2pm - Quiet Personal Reflection time / Advent Stations

       (Reserved 1-1 Appointments held during this time) 

                      3:30pm Closing Prayer & Gratitude

            4pm - Closing Benediction


All activities & sharing are optional. 

 This retreat will include some times of silence and also opportunities for sharing.

(Outline, topics &  schedule times subject to change)

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying,

“I am the light of the world.

Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,

but will have the light of life."

(John 8:12)

The Retreat will include times for:

  • Nature Walks, time to explore the beautiful campus, the lake

  • Guided Meditations & reflection time with the Stations of Advent

  • An afternoon Session of embodied prayer to help us "get out of our heads" - and into the incarnational reality of Immanuel; with gentle movement, breath work & light stretching

  • Optional moments for brief group sharing 

  • Some Quiet and Personal on-your-own Reflection time

  • An optional 1-1 time of Spiritual Direction or an Immanuel healing prayer session, if desired and reserved prior (an additional fee is requested, limited space).

a 2-step process


Step #2 -Pay here...

Use drop-down feature to add services.


(to avoid paypal fees included above; send the fee through Zelle/Chase Quickpay, Venmo or ApplePay or mail a check)

Step #1- Complete form

Add a 1-1 Session- for an additional fee

Thanks for registering to our retreat.  We'll send an email prior with more details.

Please Register by Dec. 1st!

Come embrace childlike “wonder” by asking questions – but don’t wait or expect every answer. Sometimes it’s just enough to ask the question and rest in His wonder. 

st marys deer.jpg

The Retreat Day Includes: 

Lunch, all needed materials, snacks & beverages during the day, a take home Advent Devotional, meaningful meditations with spiritual practices, times of optional group sharing and times for solitude & quiet. 

AND a stunningly beautiful campus to explore, filled with sacred statues, artwork, generous spaces, walking paths, benches, outdoor stations of the cross, chapel, and the lake -where a winter wonderland will await you.

The hope of this retreat is to offer some times of quiet listening and reflection to hear and to experience a deepening of your relationship with the Lord, as you prepare your heart for advent.

Your retreat begins Saturday morning promptly at 9am  (but please come as early as 8:30am to park, find our meeting room, enjoy some coffee, say hello to old & new friends and get situated) we'll end by 4pm.  

Requested Offering for the day: $85 

Optional Add-on 45 minute Spiritual Direction/Immanuel Prayer Session: $40

(there are a limited number of available spaces, please sign up early and reserve a 45 minute session. Sessions will be offered by Cecilia and another guest Spiritual Director)

"During the season of  Advent, the Church opens Scripture like a trunk stored with articles from her past.  We are asked to look back on the signs and wonders God has worked in order to draw the strength and courage we need while awaiting His return.  

But Christmas is not just the remembrance of something that happened in the past

but the celebration of the way of life to which each one of us is called. 

We bring ourselves before the child to discover the hidden God humbling himself before the human family- naked, weak, hungry, and in need.  If we can see the face of God in the child whose birth we celebrate, then we will see the face of God in the man whose death has set us free, whose blood inebriates our hearts and causes them to sing,

Glory to God in the highest

and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

(Luke 2:14, NAB)

-Fr Gary Caster; The Little Way of Advent 

     Every Advent Season the mystery of the Trinity weaves its way into the forefront of our consciousness, disturbing our tidy categories of what is possible. 

     We celebrate together God the Son entering human history to reconcile sinners back to himself.

     As the Nicene Creed famously puts it,

“God from God, Light from light, true God from true God,

begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father" 

     We remember that through Jesus we are welcomed in to the inner life and love of the Trinity; that in some way similar to mother Mary, we may also become partakers of the divine nature. 

It is all a mystery. 

     And every Advent season we do more than safeguard the mystery, we celebrate the mystery.

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