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Sunlight slants through the morning mist above the river plain
(Photo: Kathy Daniels)


Conference Retreats are retreats in which a number of people are given talks by a retreat director to prepare them for their individual reflection and prayer. It typically lasts three or four days, over a weekend or in midweek. They usually follow the themes of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. They are also called preached retreats since the conferences somewhat resemble preaching, or group retreats because the director speaks to a number of people at the same time rather than to individuals one at a time.

Among those attending these conference retreats each weekend are often parish or family groups or members of some other association. They return annually at about the same time each year, and we reserve rooms for them on their chosen weekend. But as a rule any man may take part in any men's retreat, any woman may take part in any women's retreat whether or not they belong to the particular group or groups scheduled for that weekend.

Besides the conferences, other offerings may available during a conference retreat like:

  • Mass
  • Healing Services
  • Rosary
  • Reconciliation
  • Morning Prayer
  • Video Presentations
  • Benediction
  • Faith Sharing
  • Stations of the Cross
  • Eucharistic Adoration
  • Praying with Scripture
  • Lessons in Prayer

Retreats are open to Christians of all denominations. They may attend whichever of these exercises help them, or they may use their time otherwise as is most spiritually profitable for them.

FAQ about Conference Retreats

Our 12-Month Schedule of Retreats

Summer Retreat for Sisters

Registration Form for Conference Retreats


A  retreatant sits against a tree and ponders

Ignatius began to help people by guiding them one-on-one through the meditations of The Spiritual Exercises. This tradition of individually directed retreats was replaced for some time by conference retreats, but as the Jesuits rediscovered their roots after Vatican II, the practice of individually directed retreats revived. On these retreats retreatants spend up to four prayer periods a day in meditation, and then share their prayer experience with their director. The retreat is adapted to the experience of the retreatant as a result of each day's prayer.

The full Spiritual Exercises take about thirty days or 10 months depending on how they are made. For logistical reasons the 30-day format is not usually offered at Manresa. Ignatius had foreseen that while some people could put 30 days aside to make the full Exercises, many needed to continue with their usual occupations and at the same time make the Exercises at home dedicating to them 60 to 90 minutes a day over the course of 10 months or so in what is called The Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life. Jesuits and many other religious who have made the full Exercises will pray each year an eight-day version of them. Our Internship program requires an five-day directed retreat. Obviously one does not cover the same ground in five days as in 30 days or 10 months, but few people have the freedom to spend so much time in solid serious prayer, and few retreat houses have the facilities or directors to offer such an experience. Many will opt for a shorter version of five to eight days.

At Manresa we set aside three eight-day sessions during June, July, and August when visiting directors join us and the house is given over to directed retreats. There are special advantages to this arrangement, but retreatants are welcome to come at virtually anytime during the rest of the year for the period they seek to stay, provided that directors and rooms are available.

What is an Individually Directed Retreat

Summer Sessions of Individually Directed Retreats

Printable & Online Application Forms for Individually Directed Retreats


Retreat directors adapt the Exercises in different ways. Sometimes the adaptation is such that we may speak of Topical Retreats. These are retreats that complement Ignatian spirituality rather than explicate it, and some retreats are special in the sense that they address particular audiences, needs, times or themes. Among such retreats that are usually offered at Manresa are:

  • A. A. Men (Feb)
  • A. A. Men (July / August)
  • A. A. Women (May)
  • A. A. Women (Nov)
  • Al-Anon Women
  • Caregivers
  • Christian Meditation
  • Holy Week Retreat
  • Inner Healing
  • Married Couples
  • Mother's Day Weekend
  • Religious Women

Perhaps among our topical retreats is one that will help you.

12-Month Schedule of Retreats


Many people have said that they wished there were an opportunity for some kind of spiritual tune-up between their annual retreats. Twelve months is such a long time to go without some kind of revitalization. Manresa is now offering a special afternoon for all those who have experienced a retreat to renew their retreat experience and an opportunity to introduce a friend or family member to Manresa. The day will include a talk or discussion, time for private prayer/devotion, the celebration Eucharist and a dinner to round out the evening.

More about Sunday Afternoon Retreats


Manresa Jesuit Retreat House                      1390 Quarton Road, Bloomfield Hills MI 48304                      Phone:  248.644.4933