Archive for the ‘Retreat Centers’ Category

Take the Jesuits with you via your iPhone or iPad: New App allows Users to Find Nearby Jesuit Institutions, Latest News and Jesuit Prayers

Across the United States, the Society of Jesus, the U.S.’s largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church, runs universities, high schools and middle schools, parishes and retreat houses.  And today, the 450-year-old religious order has an app.

Available for free at the iTunes App Store, the Jesuit app operates on any iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad; a similar app will soon be available at the Android Marketplace for use on devices such as the Droid, Evo and HTC Touch.

The new app allows users to locate Jesuit retreat centers, schools and parishes across the U.S., read the latest news and information about the Jesuits, and access Jesuit prayers and spirituality documents.

The app’s three sections include:

Here users can find Jesuit apostolates – parishes, retreat centers, colleges and universities. It includes easy-to-use directions and contact information for any Jesuit institution in the U.S. and is searchable by apostolate name, by the user’s current location or through any address the user enters.

All the latest news stories from National Jesuit News are displayed here.  Users can tap on any headline to view the full story, share the link with friends or open the story in their browser.

In this section, users can view prayers, spirituality documents and background information on the Society of Jesus.

The video below explains in more detail how the app operates. Visit the app information page here to find out more.

Jesuit Taking a Scientific Approach to Prayer

Jesuit Father Chris Rupert brings a systematic mind to prayer. // Photo by Michael Swan

Believers in every religion and through every century of human history have done something they can’t quite describe, justify or do without. They pray.

They may meditate, contemplate, recite, babble or immerse themselves in silence. They may seek solitude or seek company to pray with others. They may follow the rules of a liturgy, improvise or seek a simple, direct encounter with God.

Jesuit Father Chris Rupert brings a systematic mind to the subject. His PhD combined Scripture studies with statistical modelling and social sciences. For the last 30 years as a pastor, theologian and retreat leader, now at Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Retreat Centre in Pickering, Ontario, Canada, Rupert has thought scientifically, systematically and precisely about what people are doing when they pray.

“When people get a sense of God in prayer, it depends on their social situation,” Rupert told Canada’s Catholic Register in a wide-ranging discussion of his research. “If my life situation changes, prayer will change.”

As Rupert taught people classic Ignatian prayer techniques he began to think about the way expectations and terminology were predetermining how people experience prayer.

“The question I ask myself in my examination of conscience determines often what I get out of it — or what I don’t get out of it,” he said.
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Serving God as a Spiritual Director at Eastern Point Retreat House

Jesuit Father Paul Michael Sullivan serves as spiritual director at the Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, Mass.

“Everybody has a vocation,” he said. “God is no further from ourselves than we are.”

Here, Fr. Sullivan’s mission is to help spiritual seekers grow in their relationship with God and in willing service to their neighbor. He compared a relationship with God to a human friendship.

“They have the same dynamics,” he said. “If you want to be friends with someone, spend time with him — listen to him.”

His calling to the priesthood came gradually, a gentle nudge throughout his high school and college years.

“I don’t think it was any one moment of time,” he said.

When he inquired about the possibility of a vocation, he was advised to go to college first.

Sullivan attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., one of the nation’s leading liberal arts institutions that embraces a Catholic/Jesuit identity. There, he majored in history.

“Eventually I thought about the Jesuits to be both a priest and teacher,” he said. “I got to know quite a number of Jesuits, many of them in their late 30s and 40s, who seemed interesting and happy.”

When Sullivan graduated in 1973, he was at a crossroads.

“I did apply to do graduate work in history or American studies and got accepted in a couple of places, or I could join the Jesuits,” he said.

Sullivan has spent time teaching high school in Maine and Massachusetts and also as a parish priest.

“I was open to another couple of years of parish work. I enjoyed being pastor,” he said. “But as things evolved, I ended up at Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester.

Noted for the spectacular beauty of its rocks, ocean and woods, the retreat house provides an idyllic environment for contemplation and prayer.

This is Sullivan’s third year as a member of the staff, which includes four Jesuits and a Sister of St. Joseph.

Based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, the retreats are open to people of diverse backgrounds and traditions who are seeking God in their lives.

“How do you see where God may be calling you? Sullivan said. “It is where your deepest desires intersect with the community’s deepest needs.”

You can read more about Fr. Sullivan’s experiences and about the Eastern Point Retreat House at

Jesuit Writes About Life as a Spiritual Director

Jesuit Father John Murray Jesuit Father John Murray says that when people ask him what it’s like to be a spiritual director, his answer is always the same. “Spiritual director is to be more a companion on the journey, than a person who has the answers to another’s concerns,” he writes in a reflection.

Fr. Murray writes that his life at Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, Mass., where he is director, is a “wild mixture of listening, companioning and managing a good size inn!”

“With our staff of Jesuits and guest directors, we listen and focus and shine some light into darkened hearts,” writes Murray.

He finds managing a retreat house is both a great challenge and a great joy.

“As I reflect on my years as a Jesuit; high school work, then principal, then socius and now as a retreat director, I marvel at how Jesus has become my true love and friend,” he writes.

Read more of Murray’s reflections.

Jesuit Says Retreat is a Way to Experience God’s Presence

Jesuit Father Charles MoutenotShare

Going on a retreat is a way people can experience the presence of God, according to Jesuit Father Charles Moutenot, director of spiritual programs at Loyola Jesuit House of Retreats in Morristown, N.J.

“I see people come through those doors very, very tired. There’s a lot of noise in our world. They work very hard. They’re busy…I see them leave on Sunday rested,” Fr. Moutenot said. “Not simply rested as if they went to a spa and slept for a weekend. But really rested in the Lord.

“The second thing I see in people is that they are rejuvenated. They feel ready to go back to their jobs, their families, their churches and their ministries with a renewed vigor,” he said.

In the video below, Moutenot joins retreatants in explaining how a weekend retreat is an excellent way to come home to God.