How do I get there?

Visit the directions page for details.

What are the Retreat Center office hours?

Our office is open from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. The office is closed for lunch every weekday from 12:30 PM until 1:15 PM. The offices are closed on weekends, calls will be returned the following workday.

How do I register?

We encourage everyone to use our website for registration. Please go to the RETREATS tab and click on Retreat Calendar.

You may also contact Manresa by phone at 905-839-2864 during regular business hours. Please be sure to leave a message with your name, address, phone number and what retreat / date you are inquiring about.

You will receive confirmation of your retreat date if there is availability and other information via email. If the retreat is presently full, you will be added to the waiting list.

Many of our retreats are booked through our Volunteer Captains. If the retreat you are wanting to register for is one of these weekends, you will be provided with contact information for the Captain. You can then contact the Captain for registration.

Do I need to be Catholic?

The mission of Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Centre is to offer Ignatian Spirituality to adults of all denominations and walks of life. Many non-Catholic spiritual groups book the facility or participate in our weekend retreats.

What should I wear?

Casual clothing is appropriate at Manresa. Weather changes from season to season. Please dress accordingly. We recommend bringing layers for warm days and cool evenings along with a comfortable pair of shoes for walking. Of course, with our winters, dress warmly and have boots if you plan to enjoy our walking trails.

What should I bring?

We provide a Bible in each room for your convenience. In each room is a copy of the Jesuit book, “Hearts on Fire” Praying with the Jesuits of which you can enjoy during your stay. If you would like to purchase one, you may do so at our Book Store on Sunday morning.

Suggested items are your usual toiletries (we provide mini bars of soap only), a water bottle (we have filtered water available in the kitchenette) and some kind of alarm.

Pickering Town Centre is a 3 km drive away, located at Liverpool and Kingston Roads, in case you forget anything important like shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, shavers or shaving gel. There is also a convenience store a short 15 minute walk from the gate down Liverpool Road on your right.

What time should I arrive for weekend retreats?

Registration for our regularly scheduled weekend retreats takes place between 6:30 PM and 7:30 PM. The first conference is at 8:00 PM. We do NOT serve a dinner on Friday night. Please be sure to have something to eat before arrival.

When does the weekend retreat end?

Weekend retreats typically end with lunch on Sunday.

Who leads the weekend retreats?

Invited Directors with experience in the Ignatian tradition, assisted by trained counsellors and our Jesuit Retreat Team.

Does it include liturgies?

Manresa offers retreatants a time for personal reflection and growth. There are four input sessions focusing on a faith theme for personal meditation, individual one-on-one consultations if desired, reconciliation service and Eucharistic celebration.

Is it Ignatian?

Manresa offers three kinds of spiritual renewal programs, all in the Ignatian tradition of desiring, seeking and finding God in the reality of our daily lives.

Will there be an opportunity to talk with a spiritual director / counsellor?

Each weekend, our Retreat Team, are available for consultation. Retreatants who wish to take advantage of the opportunity are invited to reserve a 30 minute timeslot for themselves. Sign up sheets are posted in the retreat house on Friday evening. If additional time is required, it is usually possible to meet such a request, either during the retreat or later by appointment.

Is silence observed through the weekend?

Retreatants in great numbers affirm each year that the single most important part of their retreat is the silence, the serene and peaceful atmosphere at Manresa. The stillness provides an opportunity for retreatants to get in touch with their true self, to reflect on what is happening in their life, to renew their spirit.

For Ignatian Retreats: Silence begins on Friday evening and lasts until the closing circle then lunch on Sunday.

For 12 step retreats, silence is observed Saturday from 10:00 AM till lunch, Saturday afternoon from 3:30 PM till dinner and Sunday from 10:00 AM till lunch – approximately six hours total.

What is the suggested offering?

Retreatants are invited to consider the basic cost to Manresa for a weekend is $ 250. Those who can are invited to make a larger donation which will help those who are unable to meet the basic cost.

The basic offering for spiritual direction (not during a retreat weekend) ranges between $ 30.00 and $ 40.00 per session.

What about intimacy with God?

That’s what spiritual renewal is all about! It’s time out from the anxieties of daily living! It’s a graced period in our faith history where we reflect on what is important in our lives! It’s a time above all to develop our relationship with a God who loves us very much just as we are! It’s a time for spiritual growth!

What is the 12 Step renewal?

The 12 Step renewal for members of AA and other similar groups that use the 12 Step Program. The theme of the input sessions concentrates on the spirituality of the 12 Steps. The retreat begins on Friday evening at 8:30 PM and ends with lunch on Sunday.

What is the setting?

Manresa sits on 21 beautiful acres of land featuring open fields, cultivated gardens and forest areas that foster reflection and renewal. There are three outdoor sites: The Way of the Cross, Rosary Lane and the Manresa Labyrinth that provide an opportunity to quietly contemplate and pray while enjoying the sounds of the outdoors.

For indoor prayer and contemplation, there is our St. Ignatius of Loyola Chapel and Meditation Area.

What are the rooms like?

Our bedrooms are simple yet offer all one needs — approximately half of our retreat house rooms have a sink/toilet combination, others have a sink only. Public washrooms with showers are in each wing. We have a few rooms with two beds with shared full washrooms. All rooms have a desk with chair and small closet.

If you have special needs or preferences, please let us know when you register. We will make every effort to accommodate you. We have two floors to our retreat centre, please indicate at time of registration, if you cannot use stairs.

View Fleming Hall floor plan

What kind of meals do you serve?

We serve freshly prepared meals in our St. Ignatius of Loyola, Fireside and Montserrat Dining Rooms located in the Manor House. Meals are served buffet style.

Mealtimes on retreat: Breakfast 8:30AM, Lunch 12:30PM and Dinner 5:30PM.

Coffee, tea, and filtered water are available in the kitchenette of Fleming Hall.

Our Kitchen Staff prepare healthy delicious meals with some vegetarian and gluten free options. We do not offer specialty, vegan or gluten-free menus. Guests with specific dietary requirements are welcome to bring their own food to supplement what we have to offer at the Retreat Centre. If you require a fridge for storage, one is available in the kitchenette in Fleming Hall. Please store your items in a container with your name on it and date of retreat in fridge.

You may email our Kitchen Manager to discuss any questions or concerns you may have regarding meals at [email protected]

Smoking Policy

We have a Smoking Room located at the back of Fleming Hall West. Access through the stairwell by the Brebeuf Conference Room. There are two doors to get through to this room. You may also smoke outdoors. Otherwise, there is a strict no-smoking policy in all buildings.

Cell Phone Policy

We ask that all guests silence their cell phones during the retreat and ask that their use is for emergencies only. If a call is required, please do so away from other retreatants to respect the silence.

Is there a Bookstore?

Our bookstore offers a selection of books on spirituality and prayer as well dealing with addictions through faith. It is open on Sunday morning from 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM. Payment by cash, credit or debit card, no cheques.

What is an individual retreat?

An individually directed retreat offers a different approach to prayer. Retreatants meet individually with a director once daily. There is Eucharistic Celebration daily and private time for prayer and reflection. Reservations for these retreats are possible Monday to Friday depending on the availability of a private room and director at any given time.

An individual retreat without direction is also available. Please complete the registration form.

What are days of recollection?

Manresa offers a day of recollection for individuals and groups. These days are designed to offer an opportunity for reflection and renewal, to strengthen and deepen one’s personal experience of faith and prayer. There are available Monday to Friday, depending on availability of space.

What is a retreat?

The notion of a spiritual or religious retreat is about withdrawal from the cares and worries of the world. Although Jesus of Nazareth did not use the word retreat, he offers an example in the forty days he spent in the desert. Religious men and women (in established orders, such as the Jesuits, the Franciscans and so on) and clergy got into a habit of making an annual retreat of several days, usually either five or eight. The number of laywomen and men making annual retreats of a weekend or several days started to climb in the mid- to late-twentieth century. Almost all of the retreats organized at Manresa are weekend retreats, but there are occasional longer retreats and once people see the advantages of a regular retreat, they ask about having a longer directed retreat.

What is Spiritual Direction?

Men and women growing in their spiritual lives have found it helpful for many centuries to meet on a regular basis with a spiritual director. If you read the section on the history of St. Ignatius and his retreat work, you know how important he saw the need for a spiritual director for a retreat. He and others also saw the advantages of an occasional meeting with a spiritual director in their regular life.

Spiritual direction encourages you to explore a closer relationship with God. In the midst of a busy life, many people find it difficult to notice God’s action in their daily affairs. A conversation with a spiritual director can heighten that act of noticing. The role of a spiritual director is to journey with you as you deepen your relationship with God. Most spiritual directors have extensive training and are seasoned in the art of spiritual direction.

Director is really a misleading term. A person in direction is listened to and guided by a spiritual director. Directors don’t tell us how to pray. They are really guides. Some contemporary writers use the image of a midwife, meaning that the spiritual director is helping bring something to birth in her or his guidance of others.

What should I know before starting to meet with a qualified spiritual director?

Firstly, you need to be aware that you have a spiritual life and that spiritual direction will probably help you to grow in the relationship with God. Most people who meet with a spiritual director do so once a month or so, for about an hour each session. Direction is not therapy or psychological counselling; it deals with your spiritual life and is confidential. The question of fees always comes up. There is no easy answer. If your circumstances allow, a suitable financial offering can be made to your spiritual director. However, no one who needs a spiritual director and is on a limited budget is turned away. Speak to your director about the expectations. You usually meet with your spiritual director in her or his office or some appropriate setting.

Speak with one of the retreat staff if you think that spiritual direction would be helpful for you. Manresa has a request form that can be completed.

What is a Directed Retreat? Are Manresa’s weekend retreats directed?

On what is referred to as a directed retreat, the retreatant usually meets once a day with the spiritual director, for anywhere from 30-60 minutes each day. That is the case whether the retreat is 2 days or 30 days. It’s not a problem-solving time, but it is a time to grow in one’s own spiritual life. The most important quality for a spiritual director is listening, not just with the ears, but also with the heart.

The weekend retreats at Manresa are not directed. They are considered guided or preached retreats. The person facilitating the retreat is, in some senses, the spiritual director for all who have signed up for the weekend. In offering the weekend, he or she tries to be attentive to the ways in which God’s spirit is at work in the group. But the facilitator is unable to meet personally with all those who have come for retreat. A help is the availability of several experienced spiritual directors with whom retreatants can sign up for a brief session.

Some people take advantage of Manresa’s spirit of peace and quiet during the week, to sign up for several days of a directed retreat.

Can you tell me more about St. Ignatius Loyola?

St. Ignatius of Loyola lived from 1491 to 1556. He was born in the Basque region of northern Spain. He experienced a conversion in his personal life and after a pilgrimage, he retreated to a cave outside Manresa, Spain (just west of Barcelona) and spent several months going through an intense spiritual retreat. He eventually went on to start the Society of Jesus (better known as the Jesuits) in 1540. You can read more about him in the history above. Likewise, the Internet is awash in material about St. Ignatius, the Jesuits, Ignatian spirituality and ways of prayer, and so on.

Is this Manresa in Pickering named after the town in Spain where Ignatius stayed? What are the Spiritual Exercises?

Exactly! Many Jesuit retreat houses throughout the world are named after Manresa. The earlier brief history explains the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. It’s the methodology of prayer that has its roots in Ignatius’ personal experience in a cave in Manresa. It evolved through his further reflection and offering the tool to increasing numbers of women and men. The Exercises are basically an intense way of growing in personal intimacy with Christ.

I occasionally hear people refer to Annotations 18, 19 or 20. What are they and how are they related to the Spiritual Exercises?

At the start of the text, Ignatius offers introductory observations or annotations. Annotations eighteen, nineteen and twenty deal with the diverse ways of giving the Exercises. Annotation eighteen says that the Exercises should be “adapted to the condition of the one who is to engage in them, that is to his age, education, and talent. Thus exercises that he could not easily bear, or from which he would derive no profit, should not be given to one with little natural ability or of little physical strength.” Annotation nineteen deals with those who are educated or talented, but engaged in public affairs or necessary business. They should take just a short time each day for the Exercises. Annotation twenty deals with “one who is more disengaged, and desirous of making as much progress as possible.” This person is able to withdraw from their affairs, go into solitude or retreat, and progress through the full version of the Exercises. The weekend retreats at Manresa are a form of Annotation eighteen. There are spiritual directors at Manresa who are sometimes available for Annotation nineteen retreats. That experience is often referred to as the Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life.

How do I prepare for my retreat and what should I bring?

The presumption is that if you registered for a retreat, you are aware in your life of the desire for peace and prayer. The ideal is to come rested for a retreat. However, that is often unrealistic, given our full and busy lives. Spiritual attitudes to bring with you are openness and generosity – am I prepared to allow God to work with me this weekend? Manresa provides a simple but comfortable environment. Your bedding is provided. The best advice is to pack as you would for a weekend away. Appropriate toiletries are essential. Comfortable clothing is always helpful. As is appropriate clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Some people bring a hobby (such as knitting or drawing and so on). Others bring a book they are reading. Bibles are located in the room at Manresa, but you may prefer to bring the Bible that you are comfortable with. All three meals are provided each day and the food is plentiful and nutritious. The Captain for your retreat will have already checked about whether there are special dietary requirements. That’s not based on preference (likes or dislikes), but on allergies and so on.

What should I expect on a retreat?

You will receive the weekend schedule when you register for the retreat on the opening evening. Our retreats typically have several input presentations from an experienced guide throughout the course of the weekend. They are usually between 30 and 45 minutes and usually end with suggestions for how you could use the quiet time. As well, the schedule will include celebrations of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and other devotional activities. All organized activities are optional. Most people choose to take advantage of all or most. But if your personal situation means that a nap or quiet time in front of the fireplace is preferred to attending a talk, so be it. It is your retreat and no one is taking attendance.

What is the difference between an Ignatian weekend retreat and a 12-Step weekend retreat?

The most common forms of weekend retreats at Manresa are classified as either Ignatian or Twelve-step. If they are Ignatian, they are based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. The presenter is usually quite familiar with that tool and is able to offer its methods and ideas, sometimes without having to quote directly from St. Ignatius. Some people have the advantage of taking a longer time for a spiritual retreat, but a weekend retreat offers some taste of that gift. Twelve-step retreats are facilitated by a woman or man who is intimately familiar with the spirituality of Twelve-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, or one of the many other expressions of this spiritual path that has been a huge benefit to many people dealing with addictions.

Who is Fleming Hall named for?

If you read the brief history recounted above, you read about Fr. James Fleming, S.J. and the major role he played in Manresa’s history. We continue to benefit from his wisdom, hard work and foresight.

Fr. Philip Shano, S.J. prepared this brief history of Manresa and the Frequently Asked Questions. It is an excerpt of a detailed history of the spirituality centres of the English-Canadian Jesuits, with the material on Manresa expanded. The longer history is published as The Birth and Growth of the Spiritual Exercises, by Philip Shano, S.J. and appears as Chapter 1 in Conscience of a Nation: Jesuits in English Canada 1842-2016. That was published by Novalis in 2017 and is Volume 3 of a detailed look at the ministry of the Jesuits in English Canada.

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