"Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east,

and there he placed the man he had made."

 Genesis 2:8

The Garden - a Fall Weekend Retreat

Fri. Oct. 16th - Sun. Oct. 18th, 2020

Are you craving some fresh beautiful scenery and to get out of your house?

Does your mind need some help quieting & focusing?

Does your heart long for a deeper connection to God

 in the midst of these turbulent times?

Is your body in need of some true soul rest?

Come,  join other sojourners... and be with

the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit...

as you walk in the Garden.

Take a deep breath....come walk a little slower... linger and pause... listen ...sit by the water and reflect... gaze and drink in more of Jesus...more beauty, real nature... notice... ponder ...feel... embrace... rest .... ahhhhhh...... RECEIVE the invitation to retreat!

Why go on a retreat? click here

This retreat will begin Friday, October 16th at 6pm - and last through Sunday, October 18th, 2020 at 1pm.   It will be held on the beautiful campus of St. Mary of the Lake at the Joseph & Mary Retreat Center in Mundelein, Illinois.   Open to both men & women.  

The Retreat will include:

  • Music, art, beauty, nature, prayer walks 

  • Reflections and a variety of guided meditations 

  • Times for silence, rest, and personal reflection

  • Optional times for sharing in groups - Sacred Listening Groups

  • Saturday afternoon group time of light stretching - Holy Yoga

  • Sunday Morning Embodied Worship


*Concerned about following all Covid 19 guidelines (see below) the protocols that will be in place.

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

Retreat Outline

“The Garden”

a weekend Retreat

Oct. 16th-18th, 2020


The Lord will surely comfort Zion

and will look with compassion on all her ruins;

he will make her deserts like Eden,

her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.

Joy and gladness will be found in her,

thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

 Isaiah 51:3 (NIV)




            4-6:00pm Check-in and Relax

            6:00pm Fellowship Supper

            8pm Welcome & Orientation, Evening prayer

                    *Meditation 1 –  The Invitation to Retreat. The Rescue

What is it you seek? 

John 1:38

   9:30pm ~Rest & Silence until breakfast


            8am Breakfast

            9am Morning Prayer

                                    Meditation 2 – Created for a garden. Nature & Beauty

Did you know you were made for a garden? 

Genesis 2:8

 12pm Lunch

            1pm Midday Prayer

                                    Meditation 3 – Tended by the Gardener. Remember Who you love

Who's Gardening your soul?

John 15:1


   2-5pm Afternoon of Quiet and On your own time.  (1-1 Prayer Sessions available)

            5 pm Vespers Prayer                       

Meditation 4 - Made to garden. Pulling weeds and planting seeds

What's growing in your garden? 

John 15:2

            6pm Supper

            8pm Evening Prayer by the firepit(weather permitting)                   

Meditation 5 – Connected to the Vine. Drinking Life

What does the soul really need?

 John 15:4

 ~9:30pm Rest & Silence until Breakfast


            8am Breakfast

            10am Morning Embodied Worship

                        Meditation 6 – The Garden made New. Spiritual Vision

What do you see? 

Rev. 21:5

            11am *Closing Benediction and re-entry

            12-1pm Fellowship Lunch

            1pm Packing and Departure

All activities offered are optional and retreatants are encouraged to attend what feels life-giving to them during the weekend.  Although we do encourage you to attend the first* and last* sessions.

 This retreat will include times of silence and times of optional sharing.

(You are not requested to be silent the entire weekend, unless you so desire)

There is a minimum of 8 required to hold the retreat, maximum of 10.

Outline & times subject to change prior.  A Cell-phone free retreat.

"There's a madness to our moment, and we need to name it for the lunacy it is.

First, there's the blistering pace of life. 

Now we're living at the speed of the swipe and the 'like,' 

moving so fast through our days that typing a single sentence feels cumbersome.

Then there's the deluge of media coming at us in a sort of mesmerizing digital spell. we have the tragedies of the entire world delivered to us hourly on our mobile devices.

This is all very hard on the soul. Traumatizing, in fact.

The world has gone completely mad, and it's trying to take our souls with it.

Now, if we had more of God, that would really help. 

We could draw upon his love and strength, his wisdom and resilience. 

After all, God is the fountain of life (Ps 36:9)."

-John Eldredge, Get your life back

Jesus said; And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world

but lose your own soul?

Mark 8:36 NLT

A  three day/two night retreat - Registration is open now!

Reserve your spot today by simply emailing us your commitment to attend and make a non-refundable deposit or payment below. 

Retreat dates: Friday Oct. 16th beginning 6pm to Sunday Oct. 18th, 2020 at 1pm.

Location: @ the Joseph & Mary Retreat Center in Mundelein. 

Concerned about Covid guidelines.... see below.

This Retreat includes:

  • Two nights in a private room w/your own bathroom, all 6 meals (D,B,L,D,B,L), all materials, a small journal, healthy in between snacks, a gorgeous campus to explore and your fully guided retreat- complete with meditations, spiritual exercises, optional sharing in Listening groups, and meaningful prayer times.  A clear mask will be provided for you to keep and to be used during our times of sharing.

  • This retreat includes a one-hour group time of gentle stretching/ Holy Therapeutic Yoga.  (masks will be worn unless the weather permits us to be outside).

  • This retreat offers an Optional "add-on" of 1-1 Prayer or Spiritual Direction Session with Cecilia, if desired & reserved prior. (additional fee)

Your time away begins with Friday night's fellowship dinner at 6pm (but come as early as 4pm to skip the traffic, get settled in your room & start relaxing).  The retreat ends Sunday at 1pm after our fellowship lunch.

Total cost $325

(If the costs prohibits you from coming, reach out and let us know what you are able to pay, we sometimes have scholarships.  Pay some now, pay some later. Also invite those that love you to offer some assistance as a gift! What could be a better gift then tending to your soul!)

Funds are also accepted through Chase QuickPay Zelle,

an old fashion Check, ApplePay and

Venmo @ cecilia-whitacre

Why go on a retreat? for more reasons & what to expect, click here.

Last day to register is 9/26!

Registrations let us know if we are able to hold the retreat, so please don't delay.

Here are the Covid-19 protocols that will be in place and be required while you are at the retreat center:

"We at the retreat center look forward to having you on retreat. Please review the following prior to your arrival.  


We at the Joseph and Mary Retreat House are asking you to follow these Archdiocesan, Illinois Department of Public Health and CDC Guidelines for prevention of the Coronavirus. 


                  Social Distancing   

                  Maintain a 6 ft. distance from each other at all times:

-         While walking inside the Retreat House

-         While walking around the outside grounds of the Retreat House

-         While seated for prayer, reflection, talks, discussions, each person will be designated a specific seat in a pew in the chapel


Masks          ****Mandatory ****

Must be worn at all times when inside the Retreat House, except when eating (or in your room/outside)



Please use the sanitizers each time you see them.  They will be available throughout the Retreat House.



The Archdiocese and the CDC requests that you continue with social distancing while participating in your meals.  You are encouraged to eat all of your meals outside, weather permitting.  They will be preplaced and available from the kitchen. Coffee, juice and water will be poured by the kitchen staff and placed appropriately so that the guests can pick up their plate, their wrapped silverware, their poured coffee, their poured juice and their poured water while going through the line. If the guests want a refill they can return to the kitchen where the staff will accommodate them.

When you complete your meal, please leave your plate and silverware at the table.  It will be picked up by the staff."

Outside - when not wearing masks, please keep your 6' distance from one another

There is only one other group scheduled during the weekend - with only 7 attendees. This leaves lots of space and we will have the remainder of the building to ourselves.

We look forward to having you join us!

Please reach out with any questions.

Jesus said to them,

`Come away with me.

Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while.'

Mark 6:31

"For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself,

and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience,

they are not the better for having heard the truth.

The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God,

that they may enter into Him,

that they may delight in His Presence,

may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself

in the core and center of their hearts."

A.W. Tozer

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