"And the LORD God planted a garden (an oasis) in the east,

in Eden (delight, land of happiness);

and He put the man whom He had formed (created) there."

 Genesis 2:8 Amplified Bible

"The Garden"

 a Summer Overnight Retreat

Thurs. June 10th - Sat. June 12th, 2020

Are you craving some fresh beautiful scenery and to get out of your house and see people in person?


Does your mind need some help quieting, calming & focusing on the Lord?

Does your heart long for a deeper connection to God

 especially after this turbulent year?

Is your body in need of some true soul rest?

Come,  join other sojourners... and be with

the God, as you walk with Him 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, vibrant nature, real people... notice... ponder... wonder ...feel... embrace... soak-in... rest .... ahhhhhh...... RECEIVE the invitation to retreat!

This retreat will begin Thursday evening at 6pm on June 10th with our fellowship dinner - and last through our closing lunch celebration Saturday June 12th, 2021.   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 

  • Scripture Reflections, guided meditations and a variety of spiritual practices

  • Times for silence, rest, and personal reflection

  • An Optional Spiritual Direction/Immanuel Prayer Sessions (prior reservation required)

  • Time for sharing in groups, optional

  • A time of light stretching - a Holy Therapeutic Yoga group Session

*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 Two-night, Three-day Soul Nourishing Retreat

June 10-12th, 2021


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, get settled 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

 10am-12pm  Morning of Quiet and On your own time/Nature Prayer walks.  (1-1 Prayer Sessions held during this time)

 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/Nature Prayer walks.  (1-1 Prayer Sessions held during this time)

            5 pm Vespers Prayer                       

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

What's growing in your soul's 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? Water for the soul

 John 15:4

 ~9:30pm Rest & Silence until Breakfast


            8am Breakfast

            9am Morning Prayer

                        Meditation 6 – The Garden made New. A New Earth

What do you see? 

Rev. 21:5

   10am Morning Embodied Worship/Holy Yoga

            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.

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

Outline & times subject to change prior.  This will be 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 now open!

Reserve your spot today by simply completing the form below and make a non-refundable (but transferable) deposit or payment below. 

Retreat dates: Thursday June 10th beginning 6pm (come anytime after 4pm) to Saturday June 12th at 1pm.

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

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 & handouts, a small journal, healthy in between snacks, a gorgeous campus to explore and your fully guided retreat- complete with Scripture meditations, spiritual exercises, guided meditations, optional sharing in the groups, and meaningful prayer times.  

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

  • This retreat offers an Optional 1-1 Immanuel Prayer, Mentoring or Spiritual Direction Session included, if desired & reserved prior.

Your time away begins with Thursday night's fellowship dinner at 6pm (but come as early as 4pm to avoid the traffic, get settled in your room & start relaxing).  The retreat ends Saturday 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 often have scholarships funds available.  Pay some now, pay some later. Also invite those that support you to offer some assistance as a gift! What could be a better gift to everyone then tending to your soul!)

Funds are also accepted through Chase QuickPay Zelle,  ApplePay,

Venmo @ cecilia-whitacre

or mail an old fashioned Check,

Last day to register is 5/25!

Registrations let us know if we have enough people to hold the retreat, so please don't delay.


Here are the current Covid-19 protocols that are in place and will 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

(these restrictions might change prior to the retreat date as the State guidelines change, but we will keep you posted)

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

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

Make Payment & Register below:

Register here

Thanks for registering!  You will receive more details via email prior to the retreat.