What is this and why does it last nine months?
- The Bridges Retreat provides participants the opportunity to experience the full Spiritual Exercises without leaving their daily responsibilities. Developed in the 1500s by St. Ignatius, the Spiritual Exercises were offered either as a 30-day experience or over an extended period of time. St. Ignatius realized 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 Retreat in Everyday Life stretches the Four Weeks of the Thirty Day Retreat over nine months. It uses the same prayers, meditations and reflections as the 30-day retreat, paced to utilize one period of prayer each day.
Why would I want to do this?
- The most common reasons we hear for praying the SpEx are: to draw closer to God and Jesus, to develop a more disciplined and regular prayer life, and to receive help, tools and guidance for making important decisions.
What’s involved/what’s my commitment?
- In addition to the weekly or monthly group meetings and weekly meetings with a prayer companion, you should be prepared to spend about an hour in personal prayer every day. Your prayer companion will provide easy-to-follow materials to guide your times of daily prayer, and you will be introduced to different types of prayer as the retreat progresses.
How much does it cost?
- At Bridges, we operate on a “pay as you can” basis and never want financial considerations to get in the way of someone experiencing the Spiritual Exercises. We ask retreatants to consider and pray about what they can afford, and payment plans can be arranged. Bridges is blessed with an abundance of grants and donations that are used to subsidize any of the cost that you may not be able to pay. The cost to us to deliver the program is calculated to be $880. This pays for a weekly meeting with your prayer companion; regular group meetings with presenters; two weekend retreats; and, at the end of the program, a sending celebration and dinner.
Where are the locations for this year’s retreat and how can I learn more?
- This year, the retreat will be offered at four St. Louis area locations in addition to an online option. The sites are SLUH near Forest Park, Webster Groves Christian Church, Sacred Heart Parish in Valley Park, and St. Matthew the Apostle Parish in North City. Free information sessions will be held at all sites throughout the summer, and the dates and times of all those are listed on our website.
Is this just for Catholics?
- Although the spiritual exercises emerged out of Catholic and Jesuit traditions, they are available to all, and Christians from a diversity of faith traditions have experienced the Bridges retreat over the years, including quite a few ministers of other denominations. All are welcome, and the relationship between the retreatant and his or her prayer companion makes the retreat highly flexible and personalized, all while utilizing the wisdom and guidance of St. Ignatius.
When and how can I register?
- Registration begins May 1 and goes through mid-August. All the materials for registration (including a discernment prayer to help guide your decision about participating), are available on our website. The application process includes writing a brief “blessed history” that will help you reflect on your life of faith and prepare for the retreat, as well as assist us in selecting a prayer companion for you.