FAQ’s

Why are we in Racine in July 2017?

We love our usual retreat space in Mundeline at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary.  We have been there every other month for almost 4 years.  They just couldn’t accomodate us in July 2017 so we went off on a search for other places.  If you know us, we are picky – we want spaces that point you to God, spacious, lots of creation, quiet, tranquil, inviting.  We found Sienna, took a road trip and fell in love.  We think you will too!   It’s a bit further to drive but worth it since your retreat fee includes an overnight room for you!

What’s different about the July Retreat besides the location?

Our retreat in July will have a similar feel to our usual day long retreats just in a new location.  Unless you are a commuter, you will arrive the night before the retreat and get settled on your own in your private room/bath.  We suggest stopping on the way into town for dinner.  Once you are checked in at the front desk, you are welcome to rest or enjoy the retreat center on your own.  If it’s still light out, step out the back door and take a walk along the beach.

Then the next morning, enjoy breakfast on your own in the dining room before we begin our day of guided retreat together in our meeting room.

So I’m not a commuter and my retreat is on Friday – when do I have a room available to me?  And when does my guided retreat start?

If you sign up for the Friday retreat 7/21, you will arrive on Thursday 7/20 anytime after 3 and check into your room. There is no content or food for you on that Thursday night – just a lovely new room to stay in.   Your retreat will begin the next morning on Friday.

If you sign up for the Saturday retreat 7/22, you will arrive on Friday 7/21 and check into your room. There is no content or food for you on that Friday night – just a lovely new room to stay in.   Your retreat will begin the next morning on Saturday.

Can I just commute for July?

This option is now available on the retreat page for $119 per day or $99 earlybird.

Is there a limit of how many people for the July retreat?

Yes, there is a strict limit this time.  SO when the private rooms are gone, we will only take commuters after that.   We suggest you sign up early.  And Siena actually needs their final counts 2 weeks before the retreat weekend so decide sooner rather than later.

Will we be back at St. Mary’s in the fall?  

Yes, all the other retreats for the rest of the 2017 are at St. Mary’s.  If this July retreat goes well, we may do them at Siena once a year or at times when we can’t get in St. Mary.  All the retreat dates for the next year are on the Calendar page on the website!

What can I expect during a typical retreat day?

Our retreat in July will have a similar feel to our usual day long retreats just in a new location.  If you are not a commuter, you will arrive the night before the retreat and get settled on your own in your private room/bath.  We suggest stopping on the way into town for dinner.  Once you are checked in at the front desk, you are welcome to rest or enjoy the retreat center on your own.  If it’s still light out, step out the back door and take a walk along the beach.

Then the next morning, enjoy breakfast on your own in the dining room before we begin our day of guided retreat together in our meeting room.

We begin the day in community with an explanation of solitude options, prayer and slowing, a brief teaching related to the content for the day and scripture meditation.  Then you will have the rest of the morning and after lunch on your own – either following one of the guided solitude experiences we will provide or following your own prompting from God for rest, a walk in creation or conversation and prayer with Him.  We will end the day in community in a time of reflection regarding what God has done and what you experienced.

Do I need to bring my own food?

Nope…lunch, beverages (coffee, tea, soda, water) and snacks are provided through out the day.  The meals at Sienna are very simple.  Remember it’s a retreat center.   If you have any accomodations that need to be made for food, please let us know.  Snacks always include fruit, trail mix, crackers, breakfast bars and a little afternoon chocolate.

Will we eat lunch in silence?

I need to verify how this works with Sienna – I”ll update this later friends!  But this is what usually happens.

Lunch will be available from 12:00-12:30 pm.  Our main conference room will remain in silence.  The lunch room down the hall will be available for those who would like to leave the silence for a bit and gather with others over lunch in discussion. We always just tell people, decide before lunch what makes sense for you on that day.

Where can I go on campus?

Our main meeting room in the Retreat Center (on the main floor take a left as you come in and it’s at the end of the hall on the right. ) It will be available all day and you are welcome to come and go from there and leave your belongings in that room.  We also have access to the chapel, library, creative room, dining hall, prayer room.  And of course you can walk the grounds, walk the labyrinth or the shores of Lake Michigan or the woods beside the retreat center.

Who else is on campus?

The retreat center does host other retreats.  There will be some going on while we are there as well as the Sisters from Sienna and their staff.

Will I have access to my private room during the day?

We are hoping you can have access to your room until noon.

 What else should I consider bringing?

The basics we mentioned:  bible, journal, ewater bottle and comfortable walking shoes and weather appropriate outerwear in case you want to take a walk on the beautiful property (and I think most of you will!)   You may also want to bring an outdoor chair or blanket in case you want to find a spot outside to rest for a while.  Of course that will all depend on the weather.  If you would like some music on your iPod for your walk, be sure to bring your earbuds.

What should I NOT bring?

  • Technology:  which would include laptops, iPads, cell phones (except for using them as a clock or camera to capture noticings of God!)
  • Work related items (this is not catch up time)
  • The large stack of books next to your bedside
  • Your children or pets 

Is this for men and women?  

This is for anyone, male or female, young or old, red, yellow, black or white, who loves Jesus and craves dedicated time away from the busyness and weariness of life to have a conversation with the Father.

What can I do to prepare myself?

You really just need to show up with an open heart, mind and body and expect God to show up.  We always recommend that people begin the slowing and detachment process the minute they leave their home.  Maybe turn off the car radio and cell phone as you drive.  Begin to clear your mind and surrender your cares and to do list to God.

Is it hard to find?

Good question!  Nope, just follow your GPS on your phone or car.  Give yourself plenty of time dealing with traffic out of Chicago.  And realize that part of the day is exploring and sometimes that means losing your way a bit.

Should I register right away?

YES!  We love knowing who is coming as soon as you know you can make it. Once you register we begin praying for your time. So there are advantages for registering early beyond just saving your spot.

Are there discounts ever available?

We always offer an EARLYBIRD rate of $20 off the registration fee if you register 3 weeks before the retreat day.

Can I buy a gift certificate for someone else?

Of course, what a great idea.   Just email us and we will send you the link to be able to do that and gift certificate you can print out for them.  OR you can go directly to the link here.  We’ll then send you the gift certificate after the fact that you can print.  Then once the person decides their date, they just email info@mylifeissacred.com so we can add them to the list.

What if I need to cancel?  Can I get my money back?

Full refund will be given for cancellations made 3 weeks prior to the event.   Refunds within this three week window must be requested via email and include your mailing address.

How does silence in community work?

We believe doing silence in community is a beautiful hidden secret of doing solitude.  There’s something about knowing you are not alone and others are also spending time with God that day.   We always say let the others you run into during the day be literal physical “Jesus with skin on” reminders of God’s presence.

I’ve got some questions about if God will meet me in this space.  Is that normal?

That is perfectly normal to wonder will God show up, what if nothing happens, how will I be able to make it through a whole day, how will I ever be able to make up for the lost time?   We always say we know 2 things:  God is here and you are loved.  We don’t need to pray God there.  He’s been there preparing the way and he will be there with you before, during and after.  And we know he wants you to experience in a fresh way just how loved and beloved you are to him.   Be expectant of those 2 things and anything else that happens is sheer gift and grace. We know that the fruit of the day will go far beyond the retreat day.

Should I do spiritual direction?

That is a personal choice.  If you have not experienced it, this might be a good way to give it a try.  If you are wondering what it is, then check out the “Spiritual Direction” tab on the website.

What do you mean by “solitude?”

Dallas Willard says that practicing solitude with silence are the most important spiritual disciplines for people today. In our busy, noisy world we need to “unhook” and get away in order to be alone and be ourselves with our Lord.  Solitude and silence make space — space in our souls and space in our lives — for God to do a deep work within us and through us in our relationships with others. The normal way to practice solitude and silence is get alone with God and to be silent in a quiet place for some hours or days. Perhaps you take a walk on a nature trail or sit beside a lake or a creek. Or a quiet spot in a park or your backyard may work well. Even a secluded chair inside — as long as all your communication and media devices are turned off!

The point of your time in solitude and silence is to spend time in conversation with God and not try to make anything happen.  In solitude and silence you’re learning to stop doing, stop producing, stop pleasing people, stop entertaining yourself, stop obsessing and let God come alongside you and fill you with his thoughts and fill you with his abundant life.

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