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Semi Silent Retreats

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What can I expect on a semi-silent weekend retreat?

For a weekend retreat, arrive between 4:00 pm and 5:30 pm to check into your room and receive your retreat materials.

The retreat begins with the option for the Sacrament of reconciliation at 5:30, a social at 6:00 pm, dinner at 6:30 pm, followed by the first retreat talk and Mass.

As is traditional in Ignatian retreats, silence begins after the first retreat talk.

All parts of the retreat are optional, however, we ask that everyone is quiet to allow everyone to find the peace and quiet they are seeking.

A Retreat Leader will give six or seven talks centered on a particular theme and incorporating St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises.

You will have the opportunity to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and/or to have a private consultation with a spiritual director.

Meals are served daily in our dining room. Breakfast is served at 7:45 am, lunch at 12:45 pm, and dinner at 6:00 pm. If you have not yet advised us of your specific dietary needs, please contact our office at least two weeks prior to your retreat (847-381-1261, You are welcome to bring your own food. A refrigerator and microwave are available for your use.

Snacks, coffee, and filtered water are available throughout the retreat. We offer various canned sodas available for purchase. They can be found in the lower level kitchenette in the lower level near the Conference Center entrance. Please plan to bring single dollar bills if you plan to purchase these canned beverages during your retreat.

Full weekend retreats conclude Sunday at 1:00 pm after lunch.

Should you need to change your reservation, please notify the office as soon as possible, at least four days in advance of your retreat. Given that notice, we can apply your non-refundable deposit to another retreat within the same retreat season. A full listing of retreats for this season is available here which includes retreats just for men, just for women, and for all adults. Retreats that are open for both men and women have separate floors for each gender.

If you have a medical need requiring a special room accommodation, please advise our office at least two weeks before the retreat (847-381-1261,

What should I pack?

You are welcome to wear casual, comfortable clothes during your retreat, and we also encourage you to dress in layers. Other items to pack:

  • All toiletries and medications
  • Robe and slippers to get to and from shared bathrooms
  • Travel mug and/or water bottle
  • Walking shoes and/or hiking boots to enjoy our trails
  • Sunblock and/or bug spray depending on the season

What meals are included? What types of meals are offered?

All meals are included on your retreat from Friday night dinner through Sunday lunch. Lunches and dinners include beverages, salad, an entrée, and a dessert. Breakfasts include hot options such as pancakes or French toast and eggs, as well as continental breakfast options. Please notify us in advance if you have food allergies or any special dietary requests.

What are retreat accommodations like?

Simple, clean, and comfortable. We take great care in providing a private bedroom for each guest. We pre-assign each room and have all the bed linens, pillows, and towels you will need. Please notify us if you need a handicap-accessible room, or bedside outlet for a CPAP.

We offer cookies, water, coffee, tea, soda, and a convenience pantry with basic toiletries should you forget something.

The main retreat house is home to the kitchen and dining room, office, several lounges, two libraries, and two Chapels in addition to bedrooms on all three floors. A fitness center can be found in the Coach House. You are welcome to spend time in any open area of the retreat house that calls you into God’s presence.

Outdoors you will have 80 acres of nature to explore with prairie walks, a wooded trail, several gardens, Stations of the Cross and a Crucifix Chalice Garden.

Opportunities for Prayer & Reflection

Bellarmine offers opportunities on this retreat to invite you into an encounter with Christ, including daily Mass, confession, Eucharistic adoration and rosary. Spiritual directors are available to meet and assist you in listening to God’s presence on your retreat. Please listen to the Spirit guiding your personal journey and do not feel obligated to attend every activity on the retreat schedule.

When and how do I pay for my contributions, payments, and make a donation?

If you have not already paid in full to complete your retreat contribution, wish to make a gift to Bellarmine, or are purchasing items from our Resource Center or convenience area, please bring a check or credit card.

Can I bring my cell phone, laptop, and other electronic devices?

We encourage you to leave electronics behind or silence them and leave them in your car or room. All common areas of the retreat house, including our grounds, are quiet, cell phone-free zones.

Can I come on retreat if I am not Catholic?

Absolutely! We welcome all men and women of faith to come and experience a silent, Ignatian retreat. You are welcome to participate in the retreat activities as fully as you wish. If you have questions about Catholic liturgy and the extent to which you can participate in the Eucharist and other sacraments, please ask a member of the ministry team on your retreat. The prayer book located at each seat in the Chapel offers more information on retreat activities, Ignatian Spirituality, and Catholic traditions.

Can I reserve a seat in the Chapel and/or Dining Room?

If you prefer to sit in the same seat in the Chapel or Dining Room, there are cards that you can hand write your name on just outside of the Chapel and place on the ledge of your kneeler. In the Dining Room, you will write your name on a slip of paper and keep it at your place during the retreat.

How can I be reached in case of an emergency?

Tell a friend or family member that, in the event of an emergency during your retreat, you can be reached by calling our main number: 847-381-1261. The voicemail will have specific instructions for emergency situations.

What if I need to cancel my reservation?

In the event of a cancellation, please notify the office at least four days prior to the start of the retreat. If you give us this notice, we are able to move your non-refundable deposit to another retreat within the same retreat season. Your deposit may be moved to a different retreat only once per season.

What if I am going to be late for my retreat?

If you need to arrive later than 6:00 pm, please call our main office. We will leave your room assignment and schedule on the table in the Welcome Room. Please sign into our Guest Book by your room number before joining the retreat. If the retreat silence has already begun, please be mindful of others as you settle into your room.

What if I need to access Bellarmine after hours?

Our doors are locked between 10 pm until 7 am. When you arrive, you will receive a 4-digit code on the top of your weekend schedule. This code will allow you to enter through the garden door, which is across from the check-in room.

What options are there for the hearing impaired?

There are hearing assistance devices available, located outside of the Chapel.