Directed & Themed 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.  You can also download and print a PDF of the full 2018 calendar of retreats.

Themed Retreats

While primarily silent, these retreats offer guided prayer and meditations related to the retreat theme, input from the directors and an opportunity to share with other retreatants. Spiritual direction is not routinely offered. For 2018, we offered several themed retreats including In Communion with Our Biblical Sisters; Journey into Stillness: A Contemplative Weekend and  Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit: An Interfaith Retreat with Roshi Robert E. Kennedy, SJ.

Directed Retreats

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.

The directed retreat schedule for 2019 will be issued in January and retreat requests will begin to be taken around the second week in January. This page is updated periodically as spiritual directors and the retreats fill. If the retreat is filled, you can put your name on a waiting list; retreatants sometimes cancel. To reserve a place or put your name on a waiting list, please call Ann McGovern, RSM, at 203.245.0401, ext. 111, or email her at

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

2018 Directed Retreats    

Sunday, November 11 - Thursday, November 15   $400
with Patricia Cook, RSM FILLED  (waiting list open)

Sunday, December 2 - Sunday, December 9       $610
with Suzanne LaVoie FILLED  (waiting list open)
Connie Messitt, CSJ FILLED  (waiting list open)
Claire Rusowicz  FILLED  (waiting list open)

Sunday, February 10, - Sunday, February 17, 2019   $605
with Janet Weber, RSCJ  FILLED  (waiting list open)

Summer Sabbath

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 wish. Time to gather for reflection and prayer will be offered during the week, and spiritual direction is offered by request, although not on a daily basis.

Dates for 2019 will be posted in January 2019.

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, contact Rosemary Jones at (203) 245-0401 ext. 114 or via email:

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. To check availability, please call Rosemary Jones in Guest Services at 203.245.0401, ext. 114, or email her: