The Meaning of a Silent Retreat

Welcome to the quiet of Loyola House. As you begin the silence of your retreat, you might be asking yourself what you are leaving behind and what you are beginning.

The answer is quite simple. You are leaving behind the many noises that come from the world you live in, and you are beginning an inner journey in which God will take the lead and will open your eyes so that you can see your deepest truth. This type of journey will allow you to discover the treasure that you are.

The call from God is very gentle, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). If you are not used to silence, it can at first seem intimidating, but once you have entered into it, God will touch you in a healing and loving way.

This experience may be compared to talking with a friend. When something comes up in the conversation that is really significant, you listen more attentively. It is like this on a retreat. The difference is that God is now the friend. So when God brings something into your awareness, you begin to talk with God about it. In doing this, you are learning both about God and yourself at the same time.

So how does this happen? It takes place in silence. It is silence that allows you to hear and talk with God about what God allows you to see. If you were in a noisy environment or were busy doing other things, you would not pay attention to what God is showing you. That is why we do our best to keep the environment at Loyola House quiet at all times.

The silence here at Loyola House is both of speech and action. It is created by people leaving behind the noises caused by work, computers, tablets, cell phones, newspapers, TV, radio, cooking, shopping and any other type of activity that keeps them concerned about other things. The silence of action applies to how you live here. We ask you to try to walk softly, close doors quietly, keep computers out of the lounge, run water at night gently, turn cell phones off and refrain from looking at emails or doing other types of electronic communication. By keeping silence you are giving yourself a gift and you are giving the same gift to all the other retreatants. Should you have come here with your spouse or a friend, the best thing you can do for each other is to allow yourselves space and solitude.

If you have any questions or concerns about silence, please ask your director. If you are on an undirected retreat and need more information about it or the house, please contact the chair of the retreat.