Religious Retreats...

(37 Posts)
RubyGates Wed 23-Jan-13 14:24:10

Suggestions, recommendations or other advice please!

I'm a high-church Anglican married to a Catholic with more experience of the Catholic liturgy than the Anglican.

I have come to realise that I need a short absolute break from my life, and would prefer to do this in an environment where I can try and re-find my link to God.

So I'm looking for any and all of your experiences and recommendations if you've ever done a self-booked (rather than Church-booked) retreat at a Convent/Monatery.Retreat Centre.

I'm not averse to an ecumenical experience, but my preference is for a tambourine-free/non-happy-clappy environment. (If those things get you closer to God, then please don't take it as an insult that they do nothing for my spirituality.)

DandyDan Wed 23-Jan-13 14:58:48

Where are you in the UK, Ruby?

RubyGates Wed 23-Jan-13 15:25:44

I'm in London Dan, but prepared to travel!

Jojobump1986 Wed 23-Jan-13 15:30:50

They do retreats at Ashburnham near Battle. Never been there for a retreat but the grounds are beautiful & perfect for soul-searching strolls! smile

RubyGates Wed 23-Jan-13 15:32:23

Thank You JoJo, I shall do some research.

Tuo Wed 23-Jan-13 18:11:10

Mirfield is very peaceful, Anglo-Catholic, and you can join in worship with the Community of the Resurrection which is very much a tambourine-free zone.

No personal experience of retreats there, but I have done day courses there, and find the place wonderfully peaceful and spiritually nourishing.

RubyGates Wed 23-Jan-13 19:37:52

Thank You Tuo.
I think that sounds like the sort of thing I'm craving.

niminypiminy Wed 23-Jan-13 20:10:45

You might find The Retreat Association helpful. They have details of lots of retreat houses -- even some in London.

RubyGates Thu 24-Jan-13 08:20:12

A useful link Niminy! Which I'd absolutely failed to spot when I did a search blush
Thank you.

MadHairDay Thu 24-Jan-13 12:19:19

I met dh at Ashburnham! We both worked there way back when smile It does tend to be of the more evangelical persuasion, though I have to say I never saw a tambourine there and this was 20 years ago now grin (Not seen a tambourine anywhere since the 1970s in fact) - It has a separate 'Prayer Centre' which is the most peaceful, beautiful place - you can stay there, separate from the main house, so have complete quiet, and the grounds are stunning. Probably not for you if you are looking for somewhere with a regular rhythm of more catholic prayer though smile

sleepychunky Thu 24-Jan-13 15:45:36

I've been on a couple of retreats on Caldey Island off the coast of South Wales near Tenby. It's absolutely beautiful and a perfect spot in my opinion. I used to go with a group from my college at uni and we would spend the weekend in silent retreat (although the silence isn't compulsory, it's just how we did it). We would join in with the monks at the Abbey on the Island for prayer. Highly recommended!

RubyGates Fri 25-Jan-13 01:34:22

Thanks all!
I'm sorry if I sounded scathing about poor defensless tambourines.

DandyDan Fri 25-Jan-13 09:41:11

There's an insert in the Church Times today about retreats, with lots of recommendations and adverts. I'm in the north of England so really am only familiar with places there - Shepherd's Dene near Hexham, or Minsteracres near Consett (Durham) run reflective, quiet retreats, as does St Oswald's Pastoral Centre in Whitby: if you Google these you will find their programme and silent or quiet guided retreats will be among them.

If you were happy with a guided retreat, I would recommend Di Williams who is a labyrinth facilitator and who does very good quiet days on this (obviously usually (though not necessarily) located somewhere there is a labyrinth, which a lot of retreat centres now have). She is very often at Shepherd's Dene. For private retreat time, Gladstone's Library at St Deiniol's (just outside Chester) is a lovely quiet location just to hunker down with a few books and some contemplation.

Some places are more focused on silence than others, some more keen that you join in with the daily offices, some are Ignatian in style. I hope you find something that fits with your spirituality and your needs.

TigerseyeMum Fri 25-Jan-13 19:27:39

There's a place near Radstock in Somerset Called Ammerdown, Christian religious but also offers other things like mindfulness, poetry, they seem to have alsorts going on. Residential and the area is beautiful just outside of Bath.

There is also a place at Nuneham Courtney in South Oxfordshire. Not sure about the religious aspect as I'm not religious so can't help there.

RubyGates Sat 26-Jan-13 08:33:14

Danday, I'll ferrett out the insert when I go into work on Sunday thankyou!

Thank You all for your help and suggestions, I've got lots to work with now.

I was a bit apprehensive of going on my own rather than as part of a church group,

RubyGates Sat 26-Jan-13 08:42:33

Dandy even blush

Tuo Sat 26-Jan-13 11:24:08

DandyDan - I read that link with interest as our place is getting a labyrinth very soon [excited].

(Sorry for hijack Ruby...)

Cuddledup Sat 26-Jan-13 21:57:40

Ruby - here's my ha'penneth worth
1. Worth Abbey near Gatwick
2. St Beunos in North Wales (featured in the Big Silence tv prog a couple of years ago)
3. Quaker centre --- at Charney Basset, Oxfordshire, or Woodbrooke Study Centre...
I'm pretty certain all of the above are tambourine free zones! grin
There's a Catholic convent on Isle of Wight (don't know the name) but I think being on an island would be lovely.
I also fancy going on a retreat so I'd love to hear where you end up going to...
X

TigerseyeMum Sat 26-Jan-13 22:32:04

They're doing labyrinth days at Ammerdown too, I have no idea what they are though!

DandyDan Sat 26-Jan-13 22:59:57

Tuo - I'll PM you about the same subject.

DandyDan Sat 26-Jan-13 23:05:01

I was at a labyrinth day this autumn. I'll mention what we did sometime tomorrow when I have more time!

DandyDan Mon 28-Jan-13 11:03:05

What we did was to initially talk about what we knew about labyrinths and what we felt they might be for, might help with. The labyrinth facilitator gave a talk on the history and meaning of labyrinths, along with a powerpoint showing pictures of various labyrinths across the world of various types. She also talked about how they are used in various places - retreat centres certainly, but also hospices, educational establishments amongst others. We discussed how they might assist with reflection, health, creativity and spiritual development. We were invited to use finger labyrinths or to walk the labyrinth in the location where the labyrinth day was held but to do it in our own time, using it in whatever way we wished. Some folk find the "take something in, leave it at the centre, prepare to re-enter the world" format, a useful one to follow. But it was interesting to see how it was important not to "expect" something to happen on the labyrinth walk - to expect a sudden deep spiritual experience or something. Sometimes a walk is just a walk but it's helpful all the same. and a labyrinth focuses that.

I have seen children working with labyrinths and it slowing them down and helping them to think about things or be creative. Basically it's just another way of praying but it's also more than that. So it's not for everyone - but it's easy enough to do if there's one near you (or you can easily make one on a beach in the sand etc).

RubyGates Mon 28-Jan-13 19:43:44

Gosh! more comments. I'm really grateful for all your help and advice. Thank You!
Cuddledup, I know about Quarr Abey on the IOW, my ex came from there, but that's monks and not sisters... they use only to take male visitors. I've never been able to track down a female equivalent.

Dandy, the Labyrinth days sounds interesting. I've read about the use of mizmazes for spiritual/meditative purposes before. Aren't there some engraved into the floors of churches and cathedrals?

DandyDan Mon 28-Jan-13 23:48:38

Yes, as labyrinths (which have a single pathway - which is also the way out - and no dead ends, so is not a 'maze'), there are two or three labyrinths inside churches in the UK (laid in wood or stone) but there are also outdoor labyrinths in turf or paving around churches but also in hospices or retreat centres or educational establishments. You might be interested in labyrinthlocator.com/ and www.veriditas.org/. The most famous ancient church labyrinths are at Amiens and Chartres Cathedrals.

Sunnywithshowers Tue 29-Jan-13 23:08:20

There's a place in Sussex called St Cuthman's. I haven't been, but a friend loved it.

RubyGates Fri 01-Feb-13 15:17:19

Thank you for all your help.
Alas, OH's job was axed yesterday, so there will be no retreat for me until our finances are back on kilter.

Sunnywithshowers Sat 02-Feb-13 14:39:23

I'm sorry to hear that Ruby - I hope he finds a new role soon.

RubyGates Sat 02-Feb-13 16:55:53

Thank You Sunny

JourneyThroughLife Sat 02-Feb-13 17:18:39

I've been for several retreats at Wantage, outside Oxford....very beautiful and the sisters very welcoming. They are willing for visitors to quietly chill out or join in as much as they wish, including going to all the offices, some of which are at 4am (but you really don't have to, the choice is entirely yours!) You can also ask to have personal interviews with the sisters, they will assign someone to you if you wish and she will talk over anything which is troubling you. The place is Anglican but fairly high church, no tabourines!

aig Sun 03-Feb-13 07:23:31

My suggestions: Fairacres is an Anglican convent in Oxford: it is a silent order and they have a small guest house (~ 3 rooms) as well as two bungalows which book up early. This is their website www.slg.org.uk/

Alton Abbey: an Anglican male Benedictine order, not totally silent. www.altonabbey.org.uk/

I have stayed at both and like them both.

aig Sun 03-Feb-13 07:24:39

I forgot to say: both have lots of plainsong and a bit of incense. Probably never tambourines...

When you're ready to start planning your retreat again, if you want to know anything about Ampleforth Abbey and Monastery just PM me. They're Benedictine, it's beautiful, the monks are inspiring and fascinating and it's generally an incredible place.

jaynebxl Sun 03-Feb-13 08:09:52

I've been to Ashburnham and can recommend that.

Also if anyone is interested in finding out more about labyrinths I've done this online version just for my own reflection.
www.labyrinth.org.uk/onlinelabyrinthpage1.html

jaynebxl Sun 03-Feb-13 08:26:19

When I say I've done it, I mean I've followed it, not that I created it, just to clarify!

RubyGates Mon 04-Feb-13 11:30:43

This thread is such a useful resource. I'm really grateful for all your input, and I think I'll be needing my retreat even more by the time OH is back in employment.

You've all been so helpful. Thankyou smile

RuckAndRoll Wed 06-Feb-13 10:20:48

I'm coming to this thread a little late, but finances don't necessarily have to be a factor on retreats. one place I went charged nothing for room and food but were open as to how much it cost them to run the place a day. there was a tiny box hidden away for donations and no one knew how much or little you gave. they would rather you went than not.

the place I love is lindisfarne island, once the tide comes in and it's cut off it's so peaceful.

on a slight side, thanks for this thread, I'm looking for a retreat this year and it's given me some ideas. unfortunately our church one is in the middle of no where when i'll be 38wks pregnant!

frustratedashell Mon 11-Feb-13 00:45:57

Ive been to St Cuthmans, its in Coolham near Horsham in Sussex. Its quite reasonable, the food is great and its a lovely old house. They have optional prayers twice a day. You can join in or do your own thing.
Sorry to hear about your DH job. Hope you manage to get to a retreat.

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