Directed, Themed and Private Retreats

Mercy by the Sea through the Catherine McAuley Institute of Spiritual Formation offers a variety of silent retreats throughout the year.  Please find the retreats and their descriptions below. 

While some of the retreats below have direct online registration, the directed retreats are by request only, and these will be taken by e-mail and telephone from 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. Please email Sr. Ann McGovern or call (203) 245-0401.

Download a complete listing of our 2021 retreat offerings here.


Themed Retreats

Becoming A Compassionate Presence with Cynthia Bauer, OP and Madeleine Tacy, OP 
$400 Single Occupancy; $325.00 Double Occupancy
Thursday, June 3 – Sunday, June 6

This retreat invites participants to enter into a process facilitating more compassionate living, both personal and professional. It is designed for professional caregivers, doctors, nurses, other health professionals, social workers and chaplains, or simply for anyone who wants to deepen their spiritual growth to re-enter the world with a more compassionate way of being. The retreat will include presentations, small group discussions, music with rituals, prayer and silence. The overall retreat experience is meant to create an atmosphere in which relationships can develop and thrive so that “circles of compassion” can emerge in various locales and communities. Click here to register online.

Catherine McAuley’s Suscipe: Prayer of a Social Mystic with Mary Pat Garvin, RSM, Saturday,  July 3 – Saturday, July 10                          $710 Single Occupancy only  

Catherine McAuley, Founder of the Sisters of Mercy, was a social mystic, a woman whose relationship with Jesus had direct social implications for the people of her day. As followers of Jesus in the tradition of Catherine, we too are social mystics—Sisters of Mercy, Associates and Companions in Mercy—whose relationship with Jesus has direct social implications for those we serve in our various ministries.

During this guided retreat, we will explore Catherine’s Suscipe, listening attentively with the “ear of our hearts” to the fresh and encouraging words she wishes to share with us. Renewed and refreshed in Mercy, we will go forth to face the issues of our own time with Catherine’s depth of imagination and courage. Click here to register online.

Summer Sabbath with Andrea Minelli and Carol Villaggio
Week I: Tuesday, August 3 – Tuesday, August 10     $750.00 Click here to register online. 
Week II: Tuesday August 10 – Saturday, August 14    $600.00 Click here to register online ($1,350.00 both weeks)

Come to the water to renew your connection with life’s animating Spirit and recover your potential for joy and peace. Sabbath time can be as unplanned and open as you seek. Time to gather for reflection and prayer will be offered during the week, and spiritual direction is offered by request, not on a daily basis.

Interfaith ZEN retreat with Roshi Robert E. Kennedy, SJ (registrations will not open until the week of February 15)
Sunday, August 15 – Saturday, August 21
Single Occupancy $750.00; Double Occupancy $650.00; Commuter $80.00 daily 

This is a week-long silent retreat (Zen sesshin) during which participants practice seated meditation (zazen) together—about twelve 25-minute periods per day—as a supportive community, or sangha. Roshi Kennedy and other Zen teachers will provide daily talks (teishos) to share Zen insights and to encourage sitting practice, as well as opportunities to meet privately with them (daisan) throughout the days.

Silence is observed at all times throughout day in order to deepen experience. Following the final sitting each evening, the liturgy will be offered for all who wish to participate. This is a warm, wholehearted practice of being with ourselves as we are, with things as they occur. The support of devoted teachers and one another encourages the quieting of our minds, the lessening of struggle, and the movement from self-centeredness to life-centeredness.  Through this process, we taste the richness of human life and become of true benefit to others and the world.

Entering the Chaos with Nancy Sylvester, IHM, Margaret Galiardi, OP and Dr. Vernice Solimar, PhD
Thursday, August 26 – Sunday, August 29
Single Occupancy $500.00; Double Occupancy $450.00; Commuter $390.00  

Amid the chaos, impasse and growing divisions, we are a society in search of its soul. Join us by the healing waters of Mercy by the Sea for an important program offered in co-sponsorship with the Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue (ICCD). 

This program is designed to deepen our interior lives through contemplative processes and to integrate the skills learned in order to engage persons with different experiences and worldviews. Our intention is to heal the polarization and impasse we are experiencing. While this offering is more workshop than retreat, it is grounded in the contemplative and it is timely. For additional information and to register, click here.

Directed Retreats for 2021

Directed retreats are by request only, and these will be taken by e-mail and telephone from 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. Please email Sr. Ann McGovern or call (203) 245-0401.

Retreats, especially silent directed retreats, allow us to withdraw from the busyness of life and to reflect on and deepen our relationship with God. Directed retreats offer an experience grounded in solitude, silence, prayer and daily meetings with a spiritual director. Directed silent retreats call for receptivity to the movements of the spirit and are adapted to the needs of each individual. Mercy by the Sea, located on the shores of Long Island Sound with 33 acres of grounds, offers a safe sacred space in which to explore who we are and who God is.

Retreat check-in is between 4:00-5:00 p.m. with a light supper served at 5:30 p.m. The silent retreat will open with a gathering at 7:00 p.m. and end with breakfast on the last day. Check-out is 10:00 a.m. Mass will not be available onsite except for those retreats where there is a priest on the retreat team. However, a schedule of area masses and church services is available.

A $250.00 non-refundable deposit will be required once we confirm your reservation. Final payment is due 30 days prior to arrival date. Please note the cancellation policy on your registration form sent by Guest Services.

Mercy For All funds provide financial assistance to those who would otherwise not be able to afford the full fee to come to Mercy by the Sea for retreat, thanks to our generous donors. Additional money comes through a ministry grant from the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. To inquire about assistance, please email Sr. Ann McGovern.

Directed Retreats

7-day Directed Retreat
Sunday, February 7 – Sunday, February 14     $675.00 (Winter rates apply)
Carol Villaggio (retreat director, just added) and Janet Weber, RSCJ (fully booked)

Holy Week Directed Retreat: Palm Sunday – Holy Thursday     $400
Sunday, March 28 – Thursday, April 1
Claire Rusowicz

Triduum: Holy Thursday – Easter Sunday     Price and theme to be determined
Thursday, April 1 – Sunday, April 4

6-day Directed Retreat
Saturday, May 29 – Thursday, June 3      $600.00
JoAnn Bourquard
Marge Milanese
Andrea Minelli
Gail O’Donnell, RSCJ 

4-day Directed Retreat
Sunday, June 13 – Thursday, June 17     $400.00
Shirley Agnew, RSM
Judy Fortune, RSM
Pat Mensing, SSJ
Sue Wiecznyski, RSM

7-day Directed Retreat
Sunday, June 20 – Sunday, June 27     $700.00   SOLD OUT! WAITLIST
Margaret Galiardi, OP
Sue LaVoie
Mary Trainer, RSM
Fran Repka, RSM

7-day Directed Retreat
Sunday, July 18 – Sunday July 25     $700.00.   SOLD OUT! WAITLIST
Maureen Christensen, RSM
Roberta Cote
Kathleen Geelan
Judy Fortune, RSM
Fr. Terry Moran 

7-day Directed Retreat
Monday, July 26 – Monday, August 2     $700.00.   ALMOST FULL!
Nan Bouche
Patricia Cook, RSM
Julia Grey, OP
Honora Nicholson, RSM
Jan Webb

4-day Directed Retreat
Sunday, August 22 – Thursday, August 26     $400.00
Carol Conly, RSM
Joannie Cassidy, SSJ
Gail DeMaria, CSJP
Lisa Irish 

7-day Directed Retreat
Sunday, August 29 – Sunday, September 5     $700.00
Mary Costello, RSM
Ann Duhaime, RSM
Connie Messitt, CSJ
Cathy Murtha, DW
Fr. Tom Sievel

4-day Directed Retreat
Monday, October 11 – Thursday, October 15     $400.00
with Patricia Cook, RSM

7-day Directed Retreat
Monday, October 11 – Monday, October 18     $700.00
Janet Weber, RSCJ
Kathleen McAlpin, RSM

7-day Directed Retreat
Sunday, December 12 – Sunday, December 19     $675.00 (Winter rate applies)
Judy Fortune, RSM
Carol Villaggio  

Individual Directed and Personal Retreats

If you cannot participate in one of our scheduled directed retreats, you are invited to come at your convenience and stay for up to a week; spiritual direction is included. To discuss how we can serve your needs with regard to this retreat, email Diane Kopin or call her at (203) 245-0401 ext. 103.

Recognizing that not everyone desires a directed retreat experience, we occasionally designate time for individuals who desire a private retreat.  While the retreat center may not be in silence, you can still benefit from our prayerful and peaceful setting. If you desire silence during meals, you are free to use the upper dining room. For information and to register, please email Diane Kopin in Guest Services or call her at 203.245.0401, ext. 103.