The Cenacle Sisters of England and Ireland

Open Door Retreat

Dag Hammerskjold wrote that an “un-reflected life is a wasted life.” We all need to give ourselves time and space to reflect on our lives, the people, and the experiences. Some people manage to get away to a retreat centre to take the time but this is not always possible, for a variety of reasons. An Open Door Retreat is one way of providing a tool for the essential reflection. 

The Open Door Retreat was designed in 1980 in response to a group of people who were desirous of a time of deepening their prayer and relationship with God and others.  Two sisters of the Cenacle responded to this desire and the retreat took its form.

Why is it called an Open Door Retreat?

The name is taken from the image in Revelation 3 vs. 20

What is involved in making the Open Door Retreat?

  • A two hour session once a week for nine consecutive weeks
  • An openness to sharing with others who will also be making it,
  • A commitment of 15 minutes each day for personal prayer

What are the benefits of making an Open Door Retreat?

  • It has been found to be important in deepening prayer.
  • It has been valuable in helping people to a greater awareness of God’s presence in the everyday events.
  • The sharing of experiences of prayer with others has been a source of new insight and inspiration. 

Where would an Open Door Retreat take place?

  • Anywhere were it is needed, e.g. someone’s home, a church hall etc.
  • The team are the ones who are willing to travel

What is the role of the Team?

  • A team of two. 
  • To be present at all the sessions.
  • A commitment to share from their own experience.
  • To prepare each session and texts which will help each one with their daily prayer?
  • To be available during the retreat so that they can be contacted.

Is there a charge?

Yes.  A contribution is asked from each one to help cover the cost of materials and the travel expenses of the team.

How do I know if this type of Retreat is for me?

The session in the first week is an introductory one and during the seven days which follow there is time to reflect on whether it is going to be helpful.

The purpose of the first week is to give everyone time to reflect in freedom and make a choice.

Personal Testimonies on the Open Door Retreat

“I found the Open Door Retreat a very moving and spiritual experience. I feel I now have a deeper understanding of God’s love for me, as I am and that he is with me always. The weekly exercises and the sharing of our weeks experiences made me look at my relationship with God and the people around me, both near and a far. My commitment to 15 minutes of daily prayer and finding some quiet time in my day is something I have tried to continue since the ODR.
I look forward to my next retreat.” Angela Penwarden

“The ODR has offered me the opportunity to connect with God in a new way. Using the Gospels, under the guidance of St Ignatius’ spiritual exercises; I found space in my ‘busy’ life to listen to God’s message with fresh insight. It has been a wonderful spiritual experience.” Maria Armitage

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