The Catholic University of America

 Silent Retreat

"And he said, "Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD." And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. And when Eli'jah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave."
                                                                                                                 -1 Kings 19: 11-13

Information

Where are we going?
 
We are spending the weekend at the Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, VA. Bordering the Shenandoah river and in the heart of Virginia’s mountains, the property is composed of rolling hills and farmland all owned by the monks. Feel free to explore the premises! The abbey is run by Trappist monks who live a monastic way of life. In other words, they have dedicated themselves to a life of work and prayer in service of the Lord. They maintain strict silence for much of the day, and they are very observant of their scheduled prayer.
 
What are “the rules?”
 
It is simple: be silent! You are not really supposed to talk to anyone, fellow retreatants or friends. Turn off your phones, and DO NOT look at them for the entire weekend. You will have an opportunity to sign up for spiritual direction on Saturday, and you can always go into the gift shop on the property and chat with the monk at the register (he’s a really nice guy!). But otherwise, you are to maintain the discipline of silence. Allow God to speak. Or simply just allow Him to nourish you through the silence and the peace. 
 
What am I supposed to do?
 
This is time for you and God! Bundle up and take a walk; the property is gorgeous! Sit in silence in the chapel. Pull your chair up to the window in your room, put your feet on the warm heater, and just read a book. Journal. Take a nap. Rest. There are no expectations. Just allow yourself to BE.
 
How do I know when to pray or eat?
 
You will have an information card that provides the details regarding meals as well as prayer times. You are expected to be at all the hours of prayer with the monks except for Vigils (the prayer held at 3:30am!). Meals are also mandatory, though I am sure I don’t have to say that (their food is actually very good!). Meals are taken in silence.
 
Weekdays
Vigils 3:30 (not required)
Lauds, Eucharist 7:00
Mid-Day Prayer 2:00
Vespers 5:30
Compline 7:30
 
Sundays
Vigils 3:30 (not required)
Lauds 7:00
Eucharist 11:00
Vespers, Benediction 5:30
Compline 7:30
 
To sign up, please contact Luke Hlavin, the associate campus minister for men's ministry and retreats, at hlavinl@cua.edu.