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What To Expect

Expectations for an Ignatian Retreat

What can I expect on a weekend retreat?

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

The retreat begins with a social at 6:00 pm, dinner at 6:30 pm, followed by the first retreat talk and Eucharist. 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. Throughout the retreat, your 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 each day of the retreat, 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 specific dietary restrictions, please contact our office at least two weeks prior to your retreat at 847-381-1261 or Snacks, coffee, and filtered water are available throughout the retreat.  If you don't have a credit card, please bring single dollar bills if you would like to purchase pop during your retreat. 

The retreat concludes Sunday at 1:00 pm after lunch.

A full listing of retreats for this season is available here which includes retreats for just men, just women and 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 at 847-381-1261 or

What should I bring on a weekend retreat?

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

  • Bring all personal toiletries and medications
  • Watch
  • Journal
  • 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
  • You will have the opportunity to pray the rosary or walk the Stations of the Cross outdoors as a group. We have rosaries available for your use and some available for purchase, but you may wish to bring your own.

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, soup, 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?

We take great care in providing a comfortable, 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, bedside outlet for a CPAP. 

We offer individually wrapped 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, the original manor home library from which you can borrow books and CDs for use during your stay, and two Chapels in addition to the bedrooms on all three floors.  The 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. Suzi’s Garden, the St. Joseph Gazebo Shrine, the Mary Garden, and the Crucifix Chalice Garden are yours to enjoy throughout the weekend.

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 name plates that you can hand write your name on just outside of the Chapel.  In the Dining Room, you will write your name on a green sheet of paper and keep it with the napkin ring.

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 room. All common areas of the retreat house, including our grounds, are quiet, cell phone-free zones.

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 72 hours prior to the start of the retreat. If you give us this notice, we are able to refund your deposit or apply it to another retreat within the same retreat season. The deposit may be moved to a different retreat only once per season. If you choose not to attend a different retreat or receive a refund, you are welcome to leave your deposit as a tax-deductible gift to the retreat house.

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

Opportunities for Prayer & Reflection

Bellarmine offers opportunities on this retreat to invite you into an encounter with Christ, including Mass, confession, Eucharistic adoration and rosary. Spiritual directors are available to meet daily to 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 donate?

Please bring a check or credit card to purchase prayer resources, convenience items, make a gift to Bellarmine, and if you have not paid in full already, to complete your retreat contribution.  All contributions will be made at the end of the retreat.  

What options are there for the hearing impaired?

There are hearing devices outside of the Chapel for those that need them.

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 all 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.

Additional Questions? Contact Us!