4 Catholic retreats in Europe to recharge your soul

Mount St Joseph Abbey

Make a spiritual getaway to Europe and stay at an ancient monastery or retreat center.

Having a moment of solitude, an opportunity to recharge the soul, or a time apart to reflect and pray can go hand in hand with discovering a new destination. Europe has multiple options to enjoy a retreat and experience something completely different. Many of these opportunities happen in active monasteries, which adds an exciting and different element to the experience. 

Monasteries are particularly convenient for a retreat — some offer retreat activities and others only offer the space so you can create your own experience — because of the quiet and restful spaces that can be found here, which create the ideal environment to take a break, listen to God, pray and think. On top of this, several of these places are rich in history, which can inspire any visitor looking for a different perspective.

Europe is also a continent with a wealth of churches that travelers can visit during their time before or after the retreat. So a fully-rounded experience of prayer, contemplation and spirituality can be guaranteed in a trip like this one. 

Manresa, the Jesuit Centre of Spirituality

Located in Clontarf, Dublin, this place is close to Dublin’s city center, so visitors are only a few minutes away from restaurants, shops, parks, and other attractions. However, it’s far enough for it to be a sanctuary dedicated to tranquility. The center offers different retreat programs, including one-to-one opportunities for solo travelers. Among their activities you can find spiritual accompaniment and programs dedicated to deepen your faith, courses about spirituality in the workplace, and varied seminars. These retreats can be as long as 30 days or as short as one day. The one-day “Oasis Days” offer an incredible opportunity if you have planned a long trip through Europe and would like to have a quick spiritual getaway to recharge and reconnect through prayer.

Manresa Jesuit Centre of Spirituality
The labyrinth at Manresa

The community house where retreats happen is a destination in and of itself, since it is charged with history that goes back to the 19th century, when it was a house known as Granby Hall, and later as Baymount Castle. In 1948 the Archbishop of Dublin asked the Jesuits to establish a retreat house and this was the place they chose. Retreats began a year afterwards and continue today. Nowadays, the prayer room has an impressive stained glass window, and there is an outdoor labyrinth that visitors are free to use. These two special spaces are ideal for spending some time in solitude to reconnect with your thoughts and emotions, to slow down and to take advantage of the center, away from everyday distractions. 

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