FAQ

Retreat FAQs

What is a retreat?
A retreat is a time to get away from the daily grind – with its responsibilities and hectic pace – and spend time in quiet reflection, thinking and praying about your life. It’s a great way to get away, relax and reconnect with your spiritual self. Plus, if you’re part of a group retreat, you may make some new friends.

What types of retreats do you offer?

  • Private retreat– An individual retreat which allows you the freedom to enjoy solitude, silence, and time for personal prayer and reflection. There are no structured activities during this retreat, but advance registration by phone is required.
  • Directed Retreats – An individual silent retreat which provides a daily meeting with a spiritual director. According to your needs, the director may suggest Scripture passages or prayer forms​ to use during the rest of the day which is spent in quiet prayer and reflection.​ ​​Advance registration by phone is required.
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​Guided Group Retreat – A silent retreat in which a presenter provides a daily session of input for a group on a particular theme. This input provides​​ ​​guidance for the rest of the day which is spent in personal reflection and prayer. The retreat may include a session of dialogue or faith-sharing. We offer shorter guided retreats during Advent and Lent and longer guided retreats in spring and mid-summer.​
  • ​​Preached Retreat ​​​– A retreat in which a presenter provides frequent input for a group on a particular theme. There is time between conferences for personal reflection and prayer. The retreat may be silent or may invite conversation among the participants. Most preached retreats are hosted events, arranged by other sponsoring groups.

Is it possible to come a day or two early for a group retreat or to extend my time after the retreat is concluded?
Yes, provided space is available, you’re welcome to come earlier or stay later to enhance your retreat experience.

Do you have silent retreats? If so, how silent do we have to be?
Some retreats are silent. During these times, talking is allowed only at the opening and closing meals. The silent time between is an opportunity to commune with God and reconnect with your spirit.

What do I do on a retreat?
The exact schedule of a retreat varies depending on what kind you are doing. If you’re part of a group or preached retreat, you may meet several times a day or a lecture or group discussion. On a directed retreat, you would meet once a day with your director. The rest of the time – or all of your time on a private retreat – is reserved for quiet prayer and reflection. You can take advantage of our two chapels, many outdoor reflection areas, and even walk our labyrinth or walking path if you choose. Some people study the Bible, read devotionals, pray the rosary, meditate, or engage in other peaceful activities according to their faith tradition. It is your time to do with as you please.

Do I have to be Catholic to go on a retreat at Mercy Center?
No. We welcome seekers from every path. While we are a Catholic retreat facility, we’ve hosted retreats with people from all faith traditions and backgrounds, and do our best to make everyone feel welcome.

What’s the difference between being commuter and a resident?
If you’re a commuter participant on a retreat, it means you go back home when the formal sessions end for the evening and return the next day. Meals are provided if arranged as part of your event. Tea, coffee, soda and snacks are available throughout the day.

If you’re a resident, you’ll have a room and stay at Mercy Center for the duration of your retreat. You’ll stay in a private or double room with a private or shared bath (please ask about availability of your preference at registration). There are no televisions or electronics in our rooms to distract from the retreat experience, but laundry facilities and an exercise room are available for free to all guests. Overnight guests also enjoy warm, nourishing meals. Resident fees are usually a little higher due to the cost of your room and additional meals.

How the guest rooms furnished?
Our rooms are simply furnished with single/double bed, comfortable chair, desk and chair. Some include a private or shared bath.

Is the facility handicapped accessible?
Yes. We have accessible entrances and elevator access to all levels.  There are two accessible public bathrooms on the lower level and one bedroom with an accessible bathroom and shower.

Are linens/bedding/towels provided?
Yes.  For retreats lasting more than three nights, additional towels and pillow covers are made available midway during the retreat.

Is your building air conditioned?
Yes. Our entire facility is air conditioned and has central heating for winter.  Bedrooms and meeting rooms have individual controls for air conditioning and heating.

What if I forget my toothbrush, notebook or other supplies? What if I get sick while I’m there?
Basic items are available in the business center.  Notebooks and pens/pencils may be requested from your retreat coordinator or the receptionist.  Our gift shop, located on the lower level, sells some journals, in addition to spiritual books, music and crafts. The gift shop is open whenever a Mercy Center Receptionist is on duty.  At the reception desk, and in each bedroom, there is information about the closest pharmacies, urgent care, and emergency room facilities.  All are within a short drive of the campus.  For liability reasons, staff members are not able to provide transport to hospital or urgent care locations.

Is Wifi available on campus?
Yes, but we encourage retreatants to refrain from using smart phones or other technology while on retreat. This is your time to reconnect with the small, silent voice inside and it’s harder to hear when you’re distracted by technology.

What kind of parking is available?
Parking is available in two lots. A smaller lot in front of the main entrance provides handicapped spots and some regular spaces. (We kindly request you don’t park in spaces reserved for the Sisters.) A second large lot just to the west of the main building provides ample additional parking.

Does your retreat center recycle?
Yes. Caring for the earth is a top priority of the Sisters of Mercy and of our retreat center. We recycle paper and plastic products and use as many compostable items as possible.

How much is the fee? And what if I can’t afford it?
The fee varies from retreat to retreat.  All information for preached retreats and days of reflection is published.  There is a scholarship fund available to help defray expenses for those who might not otherwise be able to afford participation.

Is there a number a friend/relative can reach me at in case of emergency while I’m on retreat?
In case of an emergency, the main number – 314.966.4686 – should be used.

How do I sign up for a retreat?
There are three ways:

  1. You can call us at 314.966-4686 to register.
  2. You can sign up online
  3. You can print a signup form and mail it to Mercy Center with your payment.

Whom do I contact if I would like my parish/organization/group/board to hold a retreat at Mercy Center?
You may contact Kathy Walden at 314.909.4653 or via email.