Bridges Foundation Retreat
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The Bridges Foundation Retreat

If you have been experiencing the desire for a deeper relationship with God, then you are invited to receive the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius through the Bridges Retreat.


The Bridges Foundation offers the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola each year at various sites throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. This program, known as the Bridges Foundation Retreat, provides those seeking a deeper relationship with God the opportunity to experience the full Spiritual Exercises, developed in the 1500s by St. Ignatius of Loyola. For centuries, the Spiritual Exercises were offered over the course of 30 days, with the person devoting that period to silence, solitude and prayer, accompanied and guided by a Spiritual Director. This format continues in use today, often by members of religious orders such as the order founded by St. Ignatius known as the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).

Ignatius realized, however, that not everyone could leave the responsibilities of their daily lives to devote themselves to the 30-day format, so he provided an alternative. The Bridges Foundation Retreat offers this alternative format, known as the “19th Annotation” or “Retreat in Everyday Life”. Throughout this retreat, you will be given Scripture passages and meditations designed by St. Ignatius to help you reflect on God’s creative love and purpose in your life.

The Bridges Foundation Retreat begins each year in September and continues until May. During this 8-month period, you will make a commitment to private prayer for an hour each day using prayers, meditations and reflections set forth in the Spiritual Exercises. In addition, you will meet weekly with a trained, experienced Prayer Companion who serves, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to journey with you through the Spiritual Exercises based upon your experiences during your prayer time. The retreat experience also includes a community aspect with weekly/monthly group meetings that include speakers, presentations and opportunities for group sharing.

Since the inception of the Bridges Foundation Retreat in 1989, over one thousand participants have received the graces of the Spiritual Exercises in the St. Louis area. Interest continues to increase, due in large part to Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope, whose own experience with the Spiritual Exercises is reflected in his words, actions and spirituality.

The Spiritual Exercises you will go through during the Bridges Foundation Retreat involve four stages or “weeks” and proceed in an order and format that lead you to receive various graces, insights and understandings. The first phase includes an examination of our nature, our choices and their consequences, and reflections on God’s mercy and love. The second phase invites you to spend time with Jesus through his life and ministry and, through imaginative prayer techniques come to a more intimate understanding and love of Jesus, leading to a desire to follow and serve Him. The third phase has you experiencing the Passion and Crucifixion with Jesus. The fourth and final phase is the joyous celebration of the Resurrection and Ascension, after which you are sent forth, transformed through the graces of the Spiritual Exercises.


What is the Next Step?

If you are interested in participating in the Bridges Foundation Retreat you are encouraged to view these testimonials from recent retreatants and prayer companions who summarize their experience and the graces they received.




Free Information Sessions are offered in the summer throughout the St. Louis area. At the Information Session, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you might have about the Bridges Retreat and the application process.

If you are unable to attend one of the information sessions, you may contact Cheryl Rauschenbach, Executive Director at 636-225-8433.

Should you decide to make the Retreat, you will need to complete a registration form

Once the registration form is received, an application will be mailed to you. After your application is received, an interview will be arranged (in September) to help you discern your readiness for the Bridges Foundation Retreat and the commitment called for by the program. After you are accepted into the program, you will be introduced to a group of Prayer Companions from various backgrounds and experiences and matched with a compatible Prayer Companion at a site that is most convenient for you.

Bridges welcomes adult Christians of all denominations.