Retreat Program 2017/2018

young women in a field

Campus Ministry Retreats provide opportunities for students from all faith backgrounds to reflect on their spiritual values, step back from their regular routine, hear the faith stories of fellow students, and understand the Catholic and Augustinian values of the University. 

Contact Michelle Sherman with any questions.

Camping & Canoeing Retreats

September 1-3, 2017

This weekend involves a rafting trip down the Delaware River and camping out for two nights in Upper Bucks County.  We will explore and reflect upon the presence of God in nature and invite one another to become more attentive to creation.

The retreat is grounded in a Catholic, Augustinian tradition and is open to students of all faith backgrounds, as well as those who do not identify with any religious tradition.

Freshman Escape Retreat Weekend

October 27-29, 2017

February 2-4, 2018

April 13-15, 2018


Get away from campus for a weekend of discovering friendships, exploring your faith and values, and energizing yourself to make the most of your years at Villanova.

The retreat is grounded in a Christian and Augustinian tradition.  Yet, it is open to students of all faith backgrounds as well as those who do not identify with any religious tradition.

Escape is hosted by the Campus Ministry Interns and led by Sophomores and Juniors.

“Whenever you go out, walk together, and when you reach your destination, stay together.” —St. Augustine

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April 14 2018

The Student-Athlete Retreat is an opportunity for all student-athletes to take a break from their day-to-day schedules for an evening to reflect on where they find meaning in their athletic careers and to build stronger relationships with themselves and their fellow Villanovans. The retreat will look at how spiritual themes from Villanova's Augustinian tradition, like self-knowledge, friendship, humility, and servant leadership, show up in sports, and  will feature talks from former student-athletes, periods of personal reflection, small group discussions, and activities. The retreat will be at Dundale Mansion on West Campus and will conclude with a community meal. 

The retreat is grounded in a Christian and Augustinian tradition.  Yet, it is open to students of all faith backgrounds as well as those who do not identify with any religious tradition.

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March 16-17 (Friday-Saturday overnight)

This retreat offers a unique chance to learn firsthand about the beliefs and practices of different religious traditions, and to begin to develop skills in interfaith dialogue. We will attend Muslim Friday prayers, share a celebration with members of the local Baha’i community, participate in a Quaker silent meeting, and more!  Beginning after lunch on Friday, and concluding with dinner on Saturday following Spanish Mass on campus, we will stay overnight at the Pendle Hill Retreat Center in Wallingford, PA. Students of all faith backgrounds, as well as those who do not identify as religious but are interested in learning, are welcome to attend.

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November 10-12, 2017  

Registration Deadline Extended until November 1!  

Looking for a way to invite God into your decision making? Looking for some time to reflect on options before you? Perhaps you may be considering changing majors, doing a year of post-grad service, or looking at different job opportunities. The Life Awareness retreat will include presentations, group discussions, and prayer on the topic of how to hear and respond to these calls. The program will explore discernment as both a tool and way of life. It is designed to help you make a reflective choices and be attentive to the ways that God calls. A team of vowed religious and lay collaborators will conduct this weekend retreat program, which is open to college students and young adults up to age 24 in the Philadelphia area.

Sessions over the weekend will include: 

  • Discernment in Daily Life

  • Companions on a Journey- Discernment in Community

  • Panel on Decision Making

  • Scavenger Hunt

  • Prayer Practices: Examen, Art Journaling, Mass

  • Time for individual reflection and conversation with others!


Senior Retreat

January 19-21, 2018

A weekend for the Senior Class to listen and discern as they prepare to move forward into the future. The weekend is full of opportunities for prayer, conversation with peers and faculty/staff, and stories from people a little farther along on the journey of life.  This year's class is invited to a weekend at Maris Stella Retreat and Conference Center in Harvey Cedars, New Jersey.


Quiet Retreat

See "Christ's Breath: A Lenten Retreat with the Ignatian Schola" in the next column.


Amanda Osheim Picture

Holy Thursday Faculty-Staff Retreat

"Discerning Vulnerability with Christ"

with Amanda Osheim, Ph.D.

March 29| 10AM-1PM | E. Dougherty Lounge

Presentation 10-noon, lunch to follow

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Should Christians brace for vulnerability, or embrace vulnerability?  Join us during Holy Week for a time of discernment as we reflect together on Christ’s life and how we may be called to imitate his vulnerability.  Amanda Osheim, Ph.D. is Endowed Professor of the Breitbach Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program and Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Loras College in Dubuque, IA.  Her book, A Ministry of Discernment:  The Bishop and the Sense of the Faithful, encourages the development of spiritualities and structures of discernment within the local church in order to cooperate more fully with the Holy Spirit.  She blogs at and is a former campus minister at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. 

Employees, with approval from their supervisor, may attend this one half day with no loss of pay or charge to vacation time. If you have any questions about this, please contact Human Resources at x97900.


Poster with person with outstretched arms to sky and Encounter written across the sky

Saturday-Sunday, February 24-25, 2018: Overnight Retreat

ENCOUNTER: A Catholic Identity Retreat is a campus ministry retreat focused on developing a deeper relationship with Christ and witnessing to the diversity within the Catholic tradition. We invite you, wherever you are on your journey, to spend this weekend asking what it means to be a Catholic college student and what joys, struggles, and questions press upon your mind and heart. Pope Francis has encouraged us to be People of Encounter, to build a Culture of Encounter—what might this mean to you in your life?  You will be invited into this exploration through talks, liturgies, small group sharing, fellowship, and time for quiet reflection. We will leave campus on Saturday morning and return on Sunday afternoon. Space is limited. Cost for the weekend is $30. As with all Campus Ministry retreats, if you are unable to pay, we can make special arrangements. 

To Register:

One Day Hiking Retreat

April 28, 2018

A day of hiking, learning and reflection on creation and our local ecosystem will take place at Valley Forge National Park.  This day will combine spiritual practices of reflection with current environmental research of Villanova faculty.  We will leave campus by 9:30am and return by 5pm.  Participants will need bring their own lunch and snacks. $5 for the day will help cover the cost of ice cream. As with all retreats, if students are unable to pay, scholarships are available. This event is co-sponsored by Campus Ministry, the Office of Sustainability, and the Department of Geography and the Environment.  Space is limited.

Connections Retreat Weekend

June 22-24, 2018 - Registration Deadline: June 11, 2018

**The registration deadline for the Connections Retreat 2018 has passed and registration is now closed. When you arrive on campus in August, please reach out to the Campus Ministry Intern in your residence hall for information about Get Real Groups and First Year Escape Retreats. **

Connections is a three-day, two-night retreat for incoming freshmen that will be held during the summer at Villanova University from June 22-24.  It is an opportunity for first-year students to make “connections” with other first-year students, a team of sophomore and junior leaders, the campus of Villanova, and with our Catholic, Augustinian heritage. Students of all faith traditions, or none at all, are encouraged to join us.

For more information, including arrival and departure information, please download this General Information Sheet.

For further questions, please email


Augustinian Discernment Weekend

November 10-12, 2017 and February 2-4, 2018

Curious about the life of an Augustinian Friar?  Wondering if it might be for you? Join other young men discerning a vocation to the Augustinians for a weekend away with the Augustinians at St. Rita Cottage in Ocean City, N.J.

Triduum Retreat during Holy Week

March 29-April 1, 2018

For students who desire to deepen their experience of Holy Week, this retreat will offer unique liturgical experiences using the services on campus combined with other events to heighten your understanding of these Christian holy days and the liturgies that help us to celebrate them.  

One Day Decision Making Retreat

As we are all making difficult decisions everyday, come and explore the process of decision making while taking the time to reflect and gain a new perspective on a decision that you are currently facing.  To sign up or for more information, please email 

One in Mind and Heart: A Journey with Augustine

A weekend opportunity to experience the roots of the Augustinian traditions and values while reflecting on one's spiritual journey and struggles, as did St. Augustine.

What are retreats?

Campus Ministry retreats offer an excellent opportunity to get away from the hectic pace of life at Villanova University. The Retreat Program provides the setting to focus on different aspects of your life and encourages you to discover more about yourself and your deepest values through small and large group discussions, talks given by student leaders, meditation, games, fellowship, and prayer.

Why go on retreat?

    To relax and have fun
    To meet new people
    To share and grow in your spirituality
    To strengthen your relationships
    To explore and reflect on your life decisions
    To come to know yourself better
    To encounter God

Who is welcome on retreats and how do I know what retreat to attend?

In general, the Campus Ministry Retreat Program is open to the entire Villanova University community. Students of all faith traditions – or none at all – are welcome and encouraged to look into the retreat program.

We offer a variety of retreat experiences so members of the university community are able to choose the type of retreat they are most comfortable attending. Not every style of retreat works for everyone. Some retreats are quiet and include lots of alone time, while others might emphasize building community through sharing with each other and participating in group activities. The pace of retreats may also vary. Some retreats may be packed with activity while others may move at a more leisurely pace.

There are some retreats designed for specific types of students. For example, First Year Escape weekends are for first-year undergraduates only. If you are a student in your first year of college, we ask that you attend an Escape weekend (held three times throughout the year) before attending any of our other retreats.

For faculty and staff, we offer a one-day Faculty/Staff Retreat each semester.

How can I serve on a retreat team as a student leader?

Student leaders are an essential part of most retreats we do! If you have some experience in attending retreats in high school and/or college, contact Campus Ministry Retreat Coordinator Michelle Sherman.



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Discernment to Religious Life Retreat- February 2-4, 2018

Curious about the life of a religious sister, priest, or brother? Wondering if it might be for you? Join other young people discerning a vocation to religious life for a weekend away. This retreat will include presentations, group discussions, and prayer. Find out what it is like to be a vowed religious, explore whether you may have a calling to religious life, and learn how to respond to that calling. The program will explore the rewards and the obligations that go with consecrated life. It does not pressure anyone nor ask for any commitment. It is designed to help you make a reflective choice about your unique vocation. A team of religious and lay collaborators will conduct this weekend retreat program, which is open to college students and young adults up to age 45 in the Philadelphia area.

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November 13-16, 2017

Have you thought about what Augustinian spirituality might look like in your everyday life?  Students, staff, and faculty are invited to join us for 3 days of reflection.  Each day you will meet one-on-one with an Augustinian companion, chosen especially for you by Frs. Joe Murray, O.S.A. and Kevin DePrinzio O.S.A., for 30 minutes, and commit to another 30 minutes of prayer on your own.  Meetings will be based on your schedule. 

February 5-7, 2018

Want to make a retreat but don’t have time to go away for a weekend? Want to pay more attention to how life and spirituality go hand in hand? This Retreat in Everyday Life is all about learning to “find God in all things.” Join us for these 3 days of reflection.  Each day you will meet one-on-one with a spiritual companion from the Catholic tradition for 30 minutes, and commit to another 30 minutes of prayer on your own. The retreat is open to students, staff, and faculty.  Meetings will be based on your schedule.

Search Retreat Weekend

December 1-3, 2017

April 6-8, 2018

Search is an interactive, student-led retreat that gives Villanovans a time away from campus to reflect on their lives. The retreat is grounded in a Christian and Augustinian tradition; it is open to students of all faith backgrounds as well as those who do not identify with any religious tradition. Search meets each student where they are and seeks to help them to articulate their own experience of faith, spirituality, and identity.  The weekend is filled with talks, small group discussions, and group activities that encourage students to look at their relationship with self, others, and God. People who attend the retreat often form new friendships and return renewed, and refreshed.


Search 57 Application
Escape Retreat Leader