A Life-Giving

 Fall Retreat Weekend

Jesus said,

“You did not choose me,

but I chose you”

(John 15:16).

Accepting, believing and receiving God's love for us... makes all the difference in the world, and where our spiritual life truly begins to flourish.

Many, many people have difficulty feeling and believing in God’s love for them, and they often don’t feel safe to talk about it either. There are a number of reasons for the obstacles and struggles we have to actually experiencing, feeling, believing and receiving God's love,

but the good news is that He even helps us with that! (1 John 4:19)

Join us and explore the mystery and reality of God's amazing LOVE, as He calls us His Beloved!

LOVE. The reason for it all. Without love we have nothing.


If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love,

I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, 

and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, 

but do not have love, I gain nothing.

1 Cor 13:3

The retreat will begin at 6pm on Friday, September 27th and go through Sunday, September 29th at 1pm.  It will be held at the Cardinal Stritch Retreat Center in Mundelein, Illinois.  Open to both men & women.

The Retreat will include:

  • Music and Nature Walks

  • Reflections and Guided Meditations

  • Prayer Experiences, Art and a "Soaking Prayer Room"

  • Time for Silence, Rest and Personal Reflection

  • Sunday Morning Worship with Scripture, Music, Gentle Movement, Stretching & Prayer Postures

  • A One-on-One private prayer or Spiritual Direction session, if desired, for those attending the full weekend.

Why go on a retreat?

"Jesus invites us to be with him, offering our full and undivided attention to him. When we choose to retreat, we make a generous investment in our friendship with Christ. We are not always generous with ourselves where God is concerned. Many of us have tried to incorporate regular times of solitude and silence into the rhythm of our ordinary lives, which may mean that we give God twenty minutes here and half an hour there. And there’s no question we are better for it! But we need more.

Indeed, we long for more.


There has never been a time when the invitation to retreat is so radical and so relevant,

so needed and so welcome.

It is not a luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual life." 

-Ruth Haley Barton, Invitation to Retreat

"In our increasingly complicated and anxious world,

we need more time to do less and be less."

-Brene' Brown, PhD

 “If we don’t come apart for while, we will come apart after awhile.”
–Dallas Willard




“Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life

because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’

Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”

-Henri Nouwen


Retreat Outline


            4:00-6:00pm Arrival, Registration & Relax

            6:30pm Supper, Fellowship & Welcome

            7:30pm Optional-Tour & History of the Building/Facilities

            8:00pm Orientation, Noticing & Entering the Quiet

                                    Meditation 1: Being the Beloved - WANTED 

            9:30pm Evening prayer


            8am Breakfast 

            9am Meditation 2: Becoming the Beloved - CHOSEN

                      *10am-10pm: One hour Sign-ups for the "Soaking Prayer Room" available throughout the day 

                     *Individual 45-minute Private Sessions available (Sign-ups for full retreat attendees only) available at                                     various times during the weekend

            12pm Lunch

            1pm Meditation 3: Becoming the Beloved – BLESSED 

            6pm Supper

            8pm Meditation 4: Becoming the Beloved – BROKEN

            9:30pm Evening prayer


            8am Breakfast

            9am Meditation 5: Living as the Beloved – GIVEN 

                          Morning Worship includes Scripture reflection, music and gentle stretching with Prayer Postures

            11am Closing: Gratitude & Re-Entry

            12-1pm Fellowship & Lunch 

            1pm  Packing and Departure (stay as late as 3pm)


All activities are optional and retreatants are encouraged to attend what feels life-giving to them.

 This retreat will include an extended time of silence beginning Friday evening to Sunday morning.

(minimum of 8 required to hold the retreat, maximum of 12)


 “You don’t work for God’s love. You rest in His love.” -a friend


A  Three day/two night Retreat - Open to both Men & Women

Reserve your spot today!  Retreat dates are Friday Sept. 27th to Sunday Sept. 29th, 2019 @ the Cardinal Stritch Retreat Center in Mundelein. 

Come unto me,

all ye that labor and are heavy laden,

and I will give you rest!

(Mt 11:28)


What is a retreat?

A retreat is a sacred time set apart for you to withdraw from worldly life to be with God.  There will be time to stop, breathe, listen, experience the present moment, smell the roses and embrace more fully that God is Love and He desires to abide with us in Love. 

This time away will be anchored in the Scriptural readings & teachings of being the Beloved of God (Luke 3:22, 1 John 3:1), with times set aside for individual reflection, prayer, contemplation, walks in nature, rest and times for talking and listening to the Lord.

For more on why go on a retreat? click here.

My sheep listen to my voice;

I know them, and they follow me

John 10:27


Option #1- This Full package includes everything: Two nights in a private room w/your own bathroom, all 6 meals (D,B,L,D,B,L), all materials, a book to take home, journal, a soaking prayer room and your fully guided retreat experience complete with meditations, spiritual exercises and meaningful prayer times.  This package also includes a One-on-One Prayer Session (or Spiritual Direction) with Cecilia, if desired and a group time Sunday morning of Worship thru music, Prayer Postures & gentle stretching.  Your time away begins Friday night at 6pm (come as early as 4pm to miss traffic and start relaxing) until Sunday at 1pm (stay as late as 3pm).  Total cost $350 


This is the best way to go! - you won't regret taking advantage of this full weekend option, for most people it takes a good 24 hours to even begin to unwind and quiet the mind.  Invest in yourself, your health, your spiritual and mental well-being.  Devote this time to your relationship with God, the giver of life. This option allows you time to really unwind, time to breath deeply, time to walk and enjoy the beautiful campus, clear the mental clutter and with the guidance given, you'll receive help in hearing from and being with the only One that can heal your soul, renew your mind, validate your heart and bring you Peace.

Option #2- This package includes: One night in a private room w/your own bathroom, 3 meals (D,B,L), materials and guided retreat meditations, a soaking prayer room, spiritual exercises and prayer experiences.  It also includes time for a walk in nature, journal and a take home book to extend your retreat experience once you get leave.  Begins Friday night with dinner 6pm and ends Saturday at approximately 5:30pm.   Total cost $175  

This is a great option if coming the whole weekend isn't available to you.  But be prepared, once you get here, you will want to stay Saturday night too!  Staying an extra night will be an available option for you, so maybe pack an extra set of clothes, just in case!

Option #3This Package includes a "Day Only" option.  There will be no private room included but there are plenty of quiet spaces to sit, rest and reflect inside and out on this beautiful campus.   Lunch is included, two guided meditation times, spiritual exercises & reflections, an art/soaking prayer room to visit, journal and a book to take home.  This will be a silent day retreat, but don't worry you will have plenty of guidance, if needed.  It begins Saturday morning at 8:30am registration and ends at approximately 5:30pm.  Total cost $75.

 St John of the Cross said that "Silence was God's first language"

There is an extended time of silence all day Saturday for all retreatants. 

Your welcome!

 “If we don’t come apart for while,

we will come apart after awhile.”
–Dallas Willard

Please contact us for more information.  You can register by emailing an RSVP commitment to  email@aocw.com  and make a 1/2 deposit.

(Half deposits are: $180 for the Full retreat, $90 for the One-night option, and $40 for the Day-only option, to secure your spot or pay in full)

Registration is Now Open!

(to avoid paypal fees;

try Zelle/Chase Quickpay, Venmo or ApplePay

or mail a check)


Jesus said to them,

`Come away with me. Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while.'

Many people were coming and going. They could not even eat.

So they went away in a boat to a lonely place by themselves.

Mark 6:31-32

The purpose of this retreat is to offer extended times of quiet, listening, and reflection to hear and experience a deepening of your relationship with the Lord; in a small sacred community of like-minded disciples of Jesus.   There is an extended time of silence requested and offered, to be received as a gift for all those attending.


A Refreshing Fall Retreat called -  "BELOVED" from Friday to Sunday, Sept. 27-29th, 2019 (this retreat is open to men and women)

Sign up today! Make your 1/2 deposit ...to reserve your spot or pay in full above (use drop down arrow to see other options or avoid Paypal 3% fees by paying by check or Venmo, ChaseQuickpay or ApplePay)

This retreat is held at the Joseph & Mary Retreat Center, Formally known as Cardinal Stritch Retreat House in Mundelein, IL on the beautiful campus of St. Mary's of the Lake.

To register simply email us your commitment and mail your deposit check or payment via Zelle/Chase pay, Venmo or ApplePay.


An Advent Weekend Retreat - "ILLUMINE"

Mark your calendars for Dec. 6-8th, 2019. This one fills up fast!

Please contact us if the fee is an issue, we often have scholarships. 

We also graciously receive any donations for scholarships as well.

Sunset in the Woods


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