In its simplest form ‘Retreat’, means ‘to withdraw, to drawback.’ Throughout the ages, the Christian tradition has understood Retreat to be an important part of spiritual formation. That is, time consciously set aside for God, a change of focus, a deliberate act of stepping outside of normal routine by withdrawing (not running away) from the noise and pressures; the immediate and insistent claims of our social, domestic and workaday responsibilities in order to be in a quiet place where all our senses are open and ready to listen to God.
Retreat is also about prayer, not in terms of petition or intercession, but prayer understood as developing a sacramental awareness of God in all of life. The goal of our retreat is to be as fully present as we can be to God, ourselves, and the moment – not elsewhere, so that in ‘keeping company with God’ we take the opportunity to give quality time to re-collect, re-member, re-examine – that which is important and central, so like ‘humpty-dumpty’, we can be ‘put back together again’
Most people go on retreat to seek God through time apart which is why it’s important to provide a context and framework for retreat – solitude, stillness, time for prayer and reflection, time for God, time to stop, and time to talk and share, things that are not always possible in the demands of normal everyday life.