The Spiritual Exercises have changed the lives of millions.
Will you be next?
The Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (SEEL) Retreat
Do you sense that God is calling you into a deeper relationship? If so, we invite you to consider the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (SEEL) retreat designed for busy people like you.
Even people with families and who work full time can have this profoundly transformative experience because it takes place within the midst of everyday life from September to mid-May.
The Spiritual Exercises are a series of prayer, meditations, and reflections – incorporating thought, memory, and imagination – created by St. Ignatius of Loyola, the 16th century founder the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits.
The goal is the attainment of spiritual freedom; the power to act – not out of social pressure, personal compulsion or fear – but out of the promptings of the Holy Spirit in the deepest, truest core of your being – to act ultimately out of love.
The heart of the retreat is daily prayer, often starting with 30 minutes and gradually working up to an hour. It also includes weekly meetings with an experienced spiritual director, and monthly retreat evenings in which you learn about the Spiritual Exercises and have time for faith sharing with other retreatants in small groups.
There’s no cost to participate. St. Francis Xavier Parish subsidizes the cost of the retreat as part of our commitment to the spiritual life of the parish and community.
The application deadline is the end of August, and seats are limited, so please don’t wait to apply. Here is the online application link: SEEL Retreat Application.
What Retreatants have said About The SEEL Retreat
“I prayed about the SEEL retreat for months, but didn’t apply until the last minute because I thought I was too busy. Then I thought, “If not now, when?” I didn’t want to let another year go by without it.”
“I thought about making the SEEL retreat for years, each time finding a reason for not doing it. This year I just decided to do it. Through the retreat, I experienced the reality that, within a life that is busy and at times challenging, God’s love prevails.”
“I got to know Jesus through the retreat, which has changed everything. I finally feel at home in my own skin as a Christian and realize the immense freedom that lies in being the person God created me to be. I came away from the retreat with a spiritual toolkit that will last a lifetime.”
“My husband and I recently moved here to be near our kids and to retire. The Spirit led me to SEEL as a way to examine my calling in this next phase of life. My spiritual director helped me to discern God’s will and to put it into action.”
“I seized the opportunity to participate in SEEL. It was a transition time for me and I wondered, ‘What is God’s plan as I enter the next stage of my life?’ The discernment process of the Spiritual Exercises was invaluable in deciding to pursue an advanced degree.”
“I had felt adrift, as if the anchors that held my life in place had lost their hold. SEEL provided a framework to see my life in a new way, regain a sense of direction and meaning, and develop a deeper relationship with Christ. The goal of SEEL is not to increase head knowledge, but to change the heart. It did!”
“The SEEL retreat has been one of the most positive influences on my life. It has helped me feel more at peace by exploring my faith in creative, imaginative ways, and providing the structure to do so.”
“In the course of the Spiritual Exercises, I developed an intimate, trusting relationship with Jesus that I didn’t know I was missing. Imagining myself with Jesus, talking with Jesus, was a highlight of the retreat.”
“I wanted to make the SEEL retreat because I knew God wanted to take me to a new place spiritually and I wanted to be able to hear and respond to what God was offering me. Now I see God’s activity in my everyday life.”
“SEEL was a way to reconnect with my First Love. Through SEEL I found my best self. I also found a richer faith than I knew before. Making my spiritual life a priority helped me get other aspects of my life under control again.”
“I am so much closer to Jesus now than any other time in my life. I feel gratitude and joy in ways that I never imagined possible.”
“It took a while before the daily prayer periods began to flow naturally. But then coming to know that God is with me, and in me, and listening to me at all times has given me an immense amount of peace and calm, and a lot less fear.”
“This was what I had been searching for my whole life. It is difficult to feel like I belong in the Church as a single woman. I don’t fit into the usual categories or groups. I didn’t have a prayer life. And I had confined my relationship with God to a future ‘something’. Now I know that I have Christ’s love. It is not ‘someday’ or an ‘eventuality’. It is today.”
“SEEL was the perfect way to find companions in spirituality and reconnect with God. Now I crave prayer. At first I was thinking that my prayer should look a certain way. I soon learned, however, that prayer does not have one ‘right’ way.”
“As a result of the retreat, I no longer worry about the future, or the past. I trust my whole life to Jesus Christ. The SEEL retreat was a journey of a lifetime, one I will never forget. I doubt it will ever be ‘over’.”
“I wanted to enrich my relationship with God through prayer. I now turn to prayer more readily in times of frustration, gratitude, happiness, friendship and love. I recognize God’s presence in almost everything I do and everyone I see. This gives me great joy.”
“My favorite part of the SEEL retreat was meeting with my spiritual director. I have always talked to God – and I see Jesus in my family, friends, and my music ministry – but to be able to share completely about all of that with my retreat director was truly amazing.”
“I encourage anyone seeking a closer relationship with God to make the SEEL retreat. No one feels ready, but everyone ends the retreat feeling closer to God.”
“Someone once said, ‘If you give the Lord an hour a day He will knock your socks off.’ That was certainly true for me. If God is nudging you, I encourage you to step out in faith and apply. Just hold onto your socks!”
Grant Awarded to Spiritual Ministry!
The Foundation for the Diocese of Helena exists “to serve and strengthen the people, parishes, ministries and apostolic mission of the Diocese of Helena.” Over many years and in many ways the Foundation for the Diocese of Helena has provided financial support to parishes and ministries, St. Francis Xavier Parish among them. You are invited to learn more about the Foundation and its good works by reading the latest newsletter. In it you will find important information about the Foundation as well as a message from Daniel Thiess, the Executive Director.
The Challenge Program
Challenge is an adaptation of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola developed by Father Mark Link, S.J.
Participants pray with a short daily reflection, keep a journal of their prayer, and meet weekly with fellow retreatants for support and faith sharing.
There is no cost to participate.
If you have questions about Challenge, please do not hesitate to contact Bev at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Novena of Grace
The Novena of Grace takes place annually March 4 -12th at St. Francis Xavier Parish in honor of our patron, St. Francis Xavier.
The 2022 theme is ‘Let Your God Love You’ 2022 SFX Novena 16 page booklet
Weekday Novena at Noon & 6:00 pm and Weekend Novena at Noon. Live stream planned for Noon.
We are most fortunate to have two of “our own” as presenters for the Novena of Grace this year. Mary Ann Bigelow is a longtime parishioner and a founding member of our SEEL retreat program. Father John Guyol, S.J. is one of our associate pastors at St. Francis Xavier Parish. They have chosen Let Your God Love You as the theme of the Novena. How fitting! As the pandemic drags on, and nerves become more and more frayed, it is good to remind ourselves that God loved us first and lavishes all of God’s love on us, holding nothing back. That love is constant and unending. The only thing missing is our awareness of it and attention to it. So, during these nine days of prayer, reflection and retreat, we encourage you to do as the poet Edwina Gateley suggests and “Let your God look upon you with enormous love.”
May this Novena be a time of opening ourselves to the unconditional love of God and receiving the graces that rejuvenate and transform our lives.
C. Hightower, S.J.
Although the Novena of Grace is a Catholic prayer tradition in Jesuit communities, it is open to people of all faiths. It affords all who participate time to reflect, and to open one’s self to God’s Spirit and the healing grace that rejuvenates and transforms our lives.
Thank you for joining us.
History of the Novena
The Novena of Grace, which begins March 4th and ends on the 12th, the day of the canonization of St. Francis Xavier, owes its origin to the Saint himself. At. Naples, in December, 1633, Father Marcello Mastrilli, S.J. was at the point of death. The Saint appeared to him and, bidding him renew a vow he had made to labor in Japan, said:
PROMISE: “All those who implore my help daily for nine consecutive days, from the 4th to the 12th of March included, and worthily receive the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist on one of the nine days, will experience my protection and may hope with entire assurance to obtain from God any grace they ask for the good of their souls and the glory of God.”
The priest arose, instantly healed. So well has the Saint kept this promise that this devotion in his honor has universally known as the Novena of Grace.