January 23, 2021

Back to Live Retreats

Retreatants are social-distanced in the Conference Room for Mass and for the talks (Sister Mary Anthony is pictured here giving instructions on the retreatants’ first night.)

Over the past year we have been considering how we can renew in-person retreats and meet all the safety standards for COVID19.  Much thought and prayer has gone into the decision to begin inviting retreatants again to Casa Maria Retreat House.  We are required to limit the number of retreatants who can attend and follow the guidelines concerning the virus.  These requirements, while a burden in many ways, are well worth the effort to provide in-person retreats again!  Although we still have to visit with masks and distancing, the gift of being in the presence of our retreatants and in the same Chapel for prayer is a blessing beyond words.  One of our Sisters shares her thoughts with you:

The Sisters plate the meals…

“I’m an extravert and our apostolate of catechesis and retreats is right up my alley.  I’ve always enjoyed visiting with retreatants whenever I could, engaging in joy-filled conversations.  But this has not been possible with COVID19.  We had only been in lock-down a couple of weeks before my dreams at night became filled with crowds of people!  I know it has been hard on a lot of people. At least in the convent, we have our community of Sisters; but I miss interacting with our retreatants, old and new. 

A retreat is a time and a place provided for people to come and get away from daily distractions – and hopefully worries, though we always bring those with us – and spend time with God in prayer.  It is also an opportunity for retreatants to connect with other like-minded people. They can discover they aren’t the only ones in the universe who believe as they do, though sometimes they may feel like the odd ones out!


and deliver them to the retreatants at tables in the Reception Room

Finally, this last fall, we were able start up live retreats – just not in our usual way.  There is social-distancing and we wear masks, taking the precautions we must.  Nonetheless, now we can invite people to come back and have the rich experience of time away with God in a holy place largely without distractions.  (Have you ever felt that the term “social-distancing” is an oxymoron?)  We can only accommodate about 15-20 people with the COVID regulations, but now at least some can interact live with the retreat priest, other retreatants, or us sisters (socially-distanced, of course).  And we live-stream the retreat, but I feel that a “live studio audience” has to be better than a zoom meeting any day of the week.

This reflection is from Sister Marie Francesca who, besides engaging with retreatants and Community friends, loves to be outdoors among the flowers!

For my part, I am happy to have even limited “real” retreats (as we’ve taken to calling them) and we pray for an end to this pandemic and look forward to seeing all of you again at Casa Maria!”





A retreatant takes advantage of our new Marian Shrine

We are so blessed to still be able to provide a time and place for a prayerful retreat with Our Lord

The reverent celebration of the Sacred Liturgy at Casa Maria deeply enriches us and those who attend Retreats here