Two types of retreats are defined by author James Michael Lee in
his book, The Shape of Religious Instruction:
The Closed Retreat.
This is "that period of prayer and spiritual reflection
conducted in an environment devoid of any contact with the outside,
temporal, everyday world." Such retreats are typically held in some
isolated place where one may withdraw from usual contacts.
The Open Retreat.
This is "the period of prayer and spiritual reflection conducted
in an environment in which there is contact with the outside world.
Retreats in such milieu watch television, read secular magazines --
all in addition to the regular "time" of prayer and spiritual
GOALS OF A RETREAT
To experience the enjoyment and mutual support of the religious
To work together to more fully understand oneself and God.
To identify personal changes needed to live
accordance with and in response to God's love.
To covenant with one another and with God to make one or more of
ELEMENTS OF A RETREAT
The following are six elements common to most retreats:
The first type is physical.
One literally withdraws from the
usual routines and demands of living at home, on the job, in school,
or in the barracks. There is also a separation of the whole person -
- body, soul, spirit -- from the pressures and cares of normal