Anne Luther, director of Retreats International, a nonprofit organization representing more than 350 largely Catholic retreat centers, sees retreats as a starting point for a pursuit of peace and contentment. Even the smallest yearning for meaning is appealing to some kind of hunger in people.Spiritual seeking is all about listening to that hunger," she says.
"They told me they prayed and read the Bible every day and, when they needed to talk to God, He was there." Thomas joined a centering prayer group and found that sitting with others also trying to open themselves to God gave her support and inspiration.
More than 50 percent said they were looking to enhance spirituality, while 23 percent were seeking personal growth, and 6 percent were hoping to improve their appreciation of the outdoors or to express themselves artistically.
Retreats require that we set aside only the deadlines and obligations that besiege our daily lives.
A 55-foot labyrinth is one of Bon Secours's more striking features.
The focal point of a one-acre "sacred space," its stonework is laid in a pattern based on the design of the famed Chartres labyrinth set on the floor of the Chartres Cathedral around 1220.
The variety can be a bit bewildering to newcomers, but it is helpful to loosely categorize retreats as faith-based, nonreligious, or meditation-oriented.