Individually Guided & Accompanied Retreats

What is an IGR or Individually Guided Retreat?

The difference between an Individually Guided Retreat and a Themed Retreat is that there is no specific input for the IGR. Retreatants are responsible for their own retreat, and the retreat guide is a companion. Together they try to listen to what the Spirit is saying within the retreatant and to discern the spiritual direction the retreatant is being called into. We suggest a minimum of 2 or 3 complete days (plus arrival and departure day) for an Individually Guided Retreat.

The background of the individually guided retreat is silence: silence to enable retreatants to listen to what God is saying to them. Apart from the daily meeting, for the rest of the day retreatants pray, reflect and generally organise the day so that they can listen deeply to what is going on. This is the ‘subject matter’ of the next day’s meeting with the retreat guide.

The Retreat Guide

The retreat guide is available for about 45 minutes each day of the retreat, and during this time the role of the guide is to listen to what the retreatant has to share about what is going on within. Very often this may mean things that are occupying mind and heart from ordinary life experience. It is not primarily about sharing holy thoughts and ideas, though this may of course be part of it. Nor is the role of the guide to advise or tell the retreatant what to do.

Tips for the Retreatant

  • On beginning your Individually Guided Retreat, try to relax and enjoy the experience of having this period for God and yourself. Notice what comes into your mind.
  • We recommend that retreatants do not bring work to do or books to read, as these are well-known ways to escape from hearing the Word within.
  • Contemplative activities can be very helpful e.g. gardening, walking, drawing, painting, sewing or knitting.
  • During the Individually Guided Retreat pay attention to your feelings. Write down simply in a notebook anything that seems interesting or important to you.

Doing an Individually Guided Retreat at Dowry House


Our next opportunity for an individually guided retreat takes place …  TBC