Spiritual Retreats for Married Couples


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New, revised edition of our Manual

Posted by marriageretreats on July 10, 2010 at 5:16 PM Comments comments (0)

We announce that the new, revised edition of our book is available – for a new, lower price (and for now, it is eligible for FREE Summer Shipping from Lulu.com).

It has also a new title:


“Spiritual Exercises for Married Couples: Finding Our Way Together: a Retreat for Companions”.


Here is the link to the book:



Or, you can get to it by visiting our “Store front”:






Lenten meditation: Health care as basic human right

Posted by marriageretreats on March 14, 2010 at 5:44 PM Comments comments (0)



(In the picture: Christ heals the man with paralysed hand. Byzantine mosaic in the Cathedral of Monreale, Sicily, Italy)



Good and fruitful Lenten preparations to all of you!


We propose for your Lenten meditations the following essay of Fr. Myles Sheehan, SJ, a doctor and provincial for the Jesuits' New England Province, "Health Care: A basic human right" for the Winter 2009-10 issue of Company magazine:



Fr. Sheehan has several important insights that provide good points of reference to look at the ongoing discussion and understand some of suffering of many for lack of health care (although the remark that he does not support the "single payer" form of health care seems like to run against his first assuption about health care being basic human right. Real universal health care that is based simply on the right of each person cannot be provided otherwise. Every other system creates unjust rationing. Health care should be provided on the analogy of public education.)


Peace and graces.

Our Lady of Lourdes and the World day of Sick

Posted by marriageretreats on January 16, 2010 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

We celebrate a Healing Novena every year, as the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes is approaching and in our prayers during this time remember not only the intentions of those who asked our prayers for healing but include the general theme of the World day of the Sick of each year.


This year this theme is to honor all health care workers, especially thos in the health pastoral care.


The eighteenth World Day of the Sick is to be celebrated in the Vatican Basilica on 11 February 2010, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. This year the World Day of the Sick coincides with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care.

In his Message for the celebration the Holy Father points out that this coincidence will give occasion “to thank God for the ground covered so far in the sector of the pastoral care of health”. Benedict XVI then expresses the hope that “this event will be an opportunity to give a more generous apostolic impetus to the service of the sick and of those who look after them”.


“With the annual World Day of the Sick, the Church intends to carry out a far-reaching operation, raising the ecclesial community's awareness to the importance of pastoral service in the vast world of health care.”


The service of the health care workers follows and stems from that of Christ: “This service is an integral part of the Church's role since it is engraved in Christ's saving mission itself. He, the divine Doctor, "went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil" (Acts 10: 38)”.

The Pope expresses his heartfelt thanks toward all health care workers: “I warmly thank those who, every day, "serve the sick and the suffering", so that "the apostolate of God's mercy may ever more effectively respond to people's expectations and needs" (cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, Art. 152).”

“Lastly,” he adds in conclusion, “I address you, dear sick people and I ask you to pray and to offer your suffering up for priests, so that they may continue to be faithful to their vocation and that their ministry may be rich in spiritual fruits for the benefit of the whole Church."

Read the entire text of the Message here


Happy New Year - from Benedict XVI

Posted by marriageretreats on December 31, 2009 at 4:39 PM Comments comments (0)

At the end of the usual Wednesday papal audience Pope Benedict XVi expressed his best wishes - which we make ours - for the new year:

Cari amici siamo giunti alla fine di questo anno e alle porte dell’anno nuovo. Vi auguro che l’amicizia di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo vi accompagni ogni giorno di questo anno che sta per iniziare. Possa questa amicizia di Cristo essere nostra luce e guida, aiutandoci ad essere uomini di pace, della sua pace. Buon anno a tutti voi!

Dear friends, we have reached the end of this year and stand at the threshold of the New Year. My wish is that the friendship of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, will accompany you each day of this new year. May friendship with Christ be our light and guide, helping us to to be people of peace, of his peace. Happy New Year to all!

The entire text of the cahechesis is to be found here.

Happy New Year t all!

The Case for God

Posted by marriageretreats on November 8, 2009 at 5:13 PM Comments comments (0)

I would recommend for those who are interested in the debate on the new atheism - and more broadly in the complex relationship between human existence and the transcendent nature of God - the very intelligent book of Karen Armstrong, titled "The Case for God"

Karen Armstrong (a British scholar and author on comparative religion and a former religious sister who won the 2008 TED prize for her interfaith initiative *) wrote this work as as a direct challenge to books like Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion', Sam Harris' "Letter to a Christian Nation", and Christopher Hitchens' "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything". She says for example:

"Like all religious fundamentalists, the new athesists believe that they alone are in possession of the truth; like Christian fundamentalists they read scripture in an entirely literal manner and seem to never have heard of the long tradition of allegoric or Talmudic interpretation... Harris seems to imagine that biblical inspiration means that the Bible was actually "written by God." Hitchens assumes that faith is entirely dependent on a literal reading of the Bible, and that, for example, the discrepancies in the gospel infancy narratives prove the falseness of Christianity: "Either the gospels are in some sense literal truth, or the whole thing is a fraud and perhaps a moral one at that." Like Protestant fundamentalists, Dawkins has a simplistic view of the moral teaching of the Bible, taking it for granted that its chief purpose is to issue clear rules of conduct and provide us with "role models," which, not surprisingly, he finds lamentably inadequate. He also presumes that since the Bible claims to be inspired by God it must also provide scientific information. Dawkins' only point of disagreement with the Protestant fundamentalists is that he finds the Bible unreliable about science while they do not."

This might be a work that really brings a new gives well researched study on the relationship between faith and reason.



* Her "wish" at the occasion of winning the TED prize is: 

“I wish that you would help with the creation, launch and propagation of a Charter for Compassion, crafted by a group of leading inspirational thinkers from the three Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and based on the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect.” (http://www.tedprize.org/karen-armstrong/)

Health Care Reform - where are we now?

Posted by marriageretreats on September 16, 2009 at 4:28 PM Comments comments (1)


There is a good overview of the current health care debate on the Plain Views (an e-newsletter for chaplains and spiritual care providers) web site: 

Health Care Reform: A Compendium of Key Issues for Religious Leaders.

On September 10th, following on the President's address to the joint session of the Congress, HealthCare Chaplaincy's President and CEO, The Rev. Walter J. Smith, S.J., Ph.D., had the opportunity to deliver this document to the Partnership of Faith, a gathering of New York City religious leaders. Click here to read. We hope you find it useful.

The author's conclusion about the outcome of this debate is expressed in what he calls his Crystal Ball Prediction:

Some consensus will emerge and I think some legislation will pass and be signed into law, but it may turn out to be more of an engine tune-up than an engine overhaul. Nonetheless, I think we?ll have the biggest health care legislation since 1965, but I don?t think it will be as sweeping as earlier Congressional efforts seemed to predict.

Faith and Reason

Posted by marriageretreats on September 15, 2009 at 5:51 PM Comments comments (0)

Here is our old Blog Faith and Reason - now in archived format because Geocities canceled the blog service in last July. Still, you can access some of the postings for reading and find some interesting ones. If so, comment here about it.

Have a good browsing time!

The wrong issue to pursue

Posted by marriageretreats on August 20, 2009 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (1)


The question of federal funding of abortion is the wrong issue taken up by pro-life activists and it is the wrong issue to pursue.

The very crowd that wants to drive people into the private insurance companies' hands are driving them into private insurance policies that do cover abortion. An abortion cost $300, giving birth costs $3,000. Which procedure would the insurance companies prefer to pay for? And the costs of medical care for the woman and child post birth can cost tens of thousands of dollars over the next few years.

Why all the worry about subsidies funding abortion when nearly all citizens that pay insurance companies for insurance fund abortions! That includes Catholic Orders, Catholic institutions, Catholic business men, and Catholics who work for health insurance companies. The federal funding abortion question seems to me to be mainly an obstruction to divert people into the private funding of abortion and its huge profit potentials!

While there is a hope that the administration sincerely wants to reduce the number of abortions - and doctors of the public health care might advice pregnant mothers about the possibilities to get help to raise their child, private insurers by the very nature of their enterprise are driven with the intention to make their bottom line better, that is to increase the profits and to decrease the expenses - the money which is paid for care - so they are motivated much more to fund abortions that are 100 times less expensive then births (not to speak about the health cost of raising a child).

Open Thread

Posted by marriageretreats on August 8, 2009 at 5:39 PM Comments comments (0)

This posting is an invitation for comments with whichyou want to contribute to this blog

Feel free to place here your thoughts that you think are appropriate for this discussion or simply put your questions that arise after visiting the site.


Today is St. Joachim and Anne

Posted by marriageretreats on July 27, 2009 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (2)


Giotto's fresco "The Kiss at the Gate" (Arena Chapel)

 Today is the feast day of St. Joachim and Anne, who are usually mentioned as patrons of grandparents - since being the parents of the Virgin Mary they are the grandparents of Jesus.

 Yet, they are known in the tradition first of all for their strong and great love for each other. According to the "Gospel of James" - an apocrif writing from the second century that narrates the birth of Mary - they loved each other very much and over the years  their love only grew stronger. Unfortunately, after twenty years of marriage Ann and Joachim had no children. They prayed and prayed, and even vowed to dedicate to God any child they would have. Year after year they entered the Temple to plead with God for help. But no child came. Then one day an angel of God appeared to Joachim who was tending his flock outside of Jerusalem and promised him a child, and as a "sign" sent him to to city, to the Temple where he will encounter his wife. Meanwhile an angel sent also Anne to the Temple after promising her that she will conceive.

 The encounter of Joachim and Anne at the Golden Gate and their tender kiss is depicted in many icons (we have placed one on our page  "Tools for a Retreat" . Their story of love and devotion to each other and their life of prayer and service of God in my opinion renders them an example and patron for married couples, who are called to holiness in living in ordinary circumstances in every way except their love for each other. This love renders extraordinary the daily life of married couples in the customary routin what they are doing for each other, for their children and for their extended family and community. This love renders the often banal acts of everyday life a service of God (liturgy) in the original sense, since they are acts of love, and God is Love.

 So, I think it is appropriate to begin this Blog on the feast of St. Joachim and Anne and trust the retreats and other activities of this site on their intercession, too.