Silent Directed Retreat

This retreat has been adapted for January 2021 in the form of the Ignatian Journey Retreat

Seeking to grow your relationship with God? Escape the noise on the Silent Directed Retreat. This six-day retreat is based on the model offered by St. Ignatius of Loyola in the Spiritual Exercises. Along with daily meetings with a spiritual director to help process and guide the retreat, each individual will have freedom in forming the overall pattern of his or her retreat. As a silent, individual retreat, there are plenty of opportunities for personal prayer, reflection, rest, and time outdoors. Communal prayer and worship opportunities will also be available.

The Faber Center and Campus Ministry facilitate the Silent Directed Retreat as partners, making this the only retreat of the year that students, faculty, and staff attend together. The resulting intergenerational community is a highlight of this retreat.

The 2021 Silent Directed Retreat will have both retreat house and virtual options, subject to guidance from the health department and Marquette University, allowing participation by all and accommodating individual circumstances. In this most unusual of school years, the Silent Directed retreat is an ideal opportunity to take intentional steps forward in your relationship with God and reflect on what God’s invitations are for you right now. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why go on a silent retreat?

A silent retreat is a great way to reconnect with God. It is an opportunity outside of our everyday life that gives us time to rest in God’s love, to understand more deeply who we are, and who God is calling us to be.

If any of the following apply to you:

  • You’re experiencing or anticipating a transition in your life
  • You want to take the next step in  your relationship with God
  • You are looking for rest and quiet
  • You want to be connected to others in prayer

Then the Silent Directed retreat may be exactly what you need.

What happens on a silent retreat? Is it hard not to talk?

“I don’t think I could go for that long without talking!” Many people think this when they hear about a silent retreat. The reality is that it isn’t as hard as you think. Each day has a rhythm. There is time for quiet, for prayer, for walking outside and for daily conversation with your spiritual director. Retreatants gather for spoken and shared prayer, and, as always, there is conversation with God. We do not always realize how much of our life is filled with noise, thoughts, and busy-ness. Silence makes room for listening, for response, and for contemplation. Many retreatants find that silence is their favorite part of the retreat, and they are amazed at the community that forms in the midst of silence.

What is a spiritual director/spiritual direction?

A spiritual director is someone who is trained and able to offer guidance and companionship to someone who is seeking a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationship with God. Spiritual direction can help us to pay more attention to how God is speaking to us and how we are responding to God.

For more general and in-depth information about spiritual direction, please visit the Ignatian Spirituality website.

What precautions are being taken at the retreat house?


Jesuit Retreat House has been successfully running in-person retreats throughout the fall, without any spread of COVID-19. The full renovation of living spaces five years ago means that all rooms have individual ventilation and bathrooms. Meals are de-densified and masks are required when not in your room. Both in-person and online spiritual direction are available. All retreat sessions and gatherings will be online and can be accessed through the retreat house wi-fi.

Jesuit Retreat House provides a beautiful, quiet space for your retreat and an opportunity to leave your regular space and routine. It may be especially helpful this year.

In order to offer the retreat house option, we need to meet a minimum threshold of retreatants, so don’t delay in registering. If we are unable to meet the minimum threshold, the retreat will go entirely online and retreatants will have the option of cancelling or switching to virtual (at the lower price).

Is transportation to the retreat house provided?

For this year, retreatants are required to arrange their own transportation to and from the retreat house in order to minimize exposure between retreatants.

What does the virtual option of the retreat include?


Virtual participants will be matched with a spiritual director and meet with them daily online. The virtual option also includes all of the retreat programming offered, including group prayer, talks on different elements of Ignatian Spirituality, and streamed Mass.

What are some suggestions for a fruitful virtual retreat?

We recommend entering a new space, insofar as this is possible. You could consider using a different part of your house, or renting a space through AirBnb or other sites, even if only for a few days. If you have a friend or family member who is out of town or has a separate part of the house, you may be able to use that space for part or all of the retreat. If none of these options is available for you, consider how to change the elements of your room or house to foster a retreat atmosphere. You might place spiritual/religious items more prominently, cover or put away distracting items, or get a white noise app or machine to block out other household noise and conversation.

A fully silent retreat might or might not be possible depending on your individual circumstances, but you could set aside specific parts of the day, plan daily walks in a park or favorite neighborhood, or focus your energy on times of day when others aren’t at home or during the early morning or late evening. We would be happy to talk pre-retreat to brainstorm other ideas for your particular situation.


Open to:
Sophomore through senior students, graduate students, alumni, and Marquette faculty & staff. 

Jesuit Retreat House
4800 Fahrnwald Road
Oshkosh, WI 54902

Jesuit Retreat House is a gorgeous retreat center located on the shores of Lake Winnebago. It features comfortable single rooms with private bathroom, a paved walking trail, three chapels of various size and focus, several lounges and prayer spaces, an art room, an exercise room, and delicious and varied meals.

The retreat is scheduled in January during the last week of winter break. 

Retreatants using the retreat house option will meet at Jesuit Retreat House on Monday afternoon, typically around 4:00 p.m. The retreat concludes after lunch on Saturday.

The first online retreat gathering will take place at 5:00 p.m. on Monday for all retreatants. Virtual retreatants may meet with their spiritual directors once before this in order to prepare for the retreat. The final retreat gathering will take place on Saturday morning.


$150 for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff who choose the retreat house option

$30 for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff who choose the virtual option

$75 for alumni choosing the virtual option 

$600 for alumni who choose the retreat house option

The retreat fee covers food and lodging for the duration of the retreat for the retreat house option, and retreat programming and spiritual direction for all retreatants. Financial assistance is readily available, particularly this year which has hit many people especially hard; contact Sara or Michael if additional funding would help you take part in this year’s retreat.

Registration for the Silent Directed Retreat is closed.

Sara Knutson - Student contact
Campus Ministry, AMU 236
(414) 288-3689

Michael Dante - Faculty, Staff, and Alumni contact
Faber Center for Ignatian Spirituality, Schroeder Complex 111
(414) 288-4545