January 3-7, 2024

The Diocese of Erie invites all young adults (ages 19-35) to attend a life changing 5-Day Silent Directed Retreat.

The following frequently asked questions and answers may help you decide if this retreat is for you.

Any young adults (ages 19-35) may participate in the the retreat. If you have already made the retreat, you may make it again ONLY if there is space available.

In short, you want to live a meaningful, God-centered life. You have your own questions you want to bring to Jesus and follow his voice. Some of the reasons young adults have made this retreat include: wanting to learn more about yourself in relationship to God and to others, preparing to make a significant decision, wanting to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ, desiring to spend quality time in prayer and reflection, and responding to the movement of the Spirit.1

1 https://jcu.edu/eight-day-silent-retreat

This retreat calls us to “be” rather than “do”. You will spend time each day in prayer and reflection, individual leisure time (music, art, exercise), and you will meet with your spiritual director for an hour. Eucharistic liturgy is offered each day along with a short talk by a spiritual director, and there will be opportunities for the sacrament of Reconciliation.

While each person is assigned a particular spiritual director, God is “directing” your retreat. A spiritual director is someone who has a personal relationship with God through committed prayer, and has training and experience with spirituality and scripture. When you meet with your director, they will listen to your story and reflections, and ask questions to detect and illuminate God’s presence in your life. He or she might offer scripture passages or other materials for your prayer and reflection. You will meet with your spiritual director each day for approximately an hour.

You will be silent and also talk every day. You will be speaking with your director at daily meetings and also have the opportunity to pray aloud at daily liturgy. Silence allows for a fruitful retreat, and while it may be hard at first many retreatants wish they could stay in silence at the end of their five days. We set aside the noise and distractions of our regular routines in order to more intentionally focus on our relationship with God. Ultimately, “the silence and solitude is not a withdrawal from, but an opening to; we are not leaving the world but allowing ourselves to be present to it, to be touched by it, and thus better come to realize our place in the world and the ways in which we can serve.”2

2 https://jcu.edu/eight-day-silent-retreat

Please apply for the retreat here. We have limited spots for the retreat, so we cannot guarantee because you apply you will be on. We will follow up within a month of the deadline to let you know if you will be joining us in January.

The retreat costs a total of $222.80 per retreatant. The Diocese subsidizes the cost to make it more affordable at $150 per retreatant. A $100 deposit is required upon invitation to the retreat. We have scholarships available. Please contact Jillian Zaczyk at jzaczyk@eriercd.org for more information.

The retreat is held at Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center (VMESC). VMESC is located between New Castle, Pennsylvania and Youngstown, Ohio on the picturesque grounds of Villa Maria Community Center, home of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary. The woodlands, meadows, pond, outdoor shrines, nature walkways, herb garden, working farm, and the lived faith of the resident sisters provide a setting where the whole person, body-mind-spirit, can be nourished.