Deepening the Contemplative Dimension of Life
This retreat will explore St. John of the Cross’ concepts of the Dark Night of the Senses and the Dark Night of the Spirit. Together these have come to be known as The Dark Night of the Soul. God is present and active in these spiritual experiences offering us freedom to deepen the contemplative dimension of our lives.
We will also explore the difference between the spiritual experience of the Dark Night and Clinical Depression. An opportunity will be included for personal sharing of Dark Night experiences and exploring questions about the retreat topic.
The winter retreat takes place at the beautiful Portiuncula Center for Prayer in St. Francis Woods, Frankfort, Illinois. According to its mission statement, “the Port” is “rooted in the Franciscan tradition, a sacred space of welcome for those seeking peace of mind, body, and spirit.” The two nearest rail stations to the Port are Hickory Creek (Rock Island Line) and Matteson (Metra Electric Line).
What can I expect on this retreat?
Registration and room check-in at the Port begin at 4 PM on Friday, February 5. Dinner is served at 6. The retreat begins at 7PM Friday and concludes after lunch on Sunday, February 7.
This is primarily a silent communal retreat punctuated with several conferences and some time for optional sharing. The conference sessions will be clear and simple presentations of St. John’s thinking, with handouts and reflection questions to ponder between sessions. It is not assumed that participants will know anything about St. John or have read anything by him before attending. It is hoped that the retreat will inspire you to go out and explore (or re-explore) his writings with a good foundation to do so.
The weekend will include extended periods of Centering Prayer. Saturday meals will be in silence. Mass is available on-site on Sunday morning with our hosts, the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart, across from the Port. Sunday will conclude with a communal healing liturgy and a retreat evaluation.
Each Lodger (see “Two ways to register,” below) will have a private room with a desk, sink, bed, comfortable chair and closet. The showers and toilets are located off the hallways. Commuters will have the many quiet spaces and comfortable lounge chairs spread throughout the Port. St. Francis Woods, the property surrounding the retreat center, has many walking trails both paved and unpaved, in an attractive park. and an inviting forest and creek.
What do I need to bring?
You may wish to bring your personal copy of the scriptures, although all rooms in the Port have a copy of the scriptures in them. Other useful items: (1) an alarm clock, (2) a journal, if you want to use one, and (3) if you normally use something other than a chair for your centering prayer periods, then bring what you use so that your prayer periods will be physically comfortable.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
Who is the guide for the retreat?
The Rev. Dr. Shawn Kafader, D. Min., LCPC is an ordained non-denominational minister and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Shawn enjoys offering contemplative retreats and workshops in the Chicago area as well as nationally and is a commissioned workshop presenter for Contemplative Outreach. Shawn is a Conversi lay Cistercian at New Melleray Abbey, Peosta, Iowa. Currently Shawn ministers on the Chaplain staff of Friendship Village of Schaumburg, Schaumburg, IL.
Please have a regular practice of centering prayer before registering for this retreat.
You may register as a “lodger,” including six meals and two nights lodging at the Port (total cost $220 single/$200 double) or you may register as a “commuter,” including six meals and use of the common spaces and grounds (total cost $125).
If you wish to register as a lodger in a private, single room, you may use the secure online registration form, below.
If you prefer, or if you are going to share a room or to participate as a commuter, please print this registration form and send it in soon!
PLEASE NOTE: Lodging is now full, and therefore online booking for the Retreat is closed. If you wish to be placed on a waiting list for lodging, please contact Alan Krema at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, to register as a commuter, please download the mail-in form and send it in by February 2.
This event is fully booked.