Marriage Retreats


Our Married Couples Retreats are a great opportunity for couples to break away from the daily struggles and tasks and spend time rejuvenating and enriching their marriage.


You and your spouse will spend time growing closer in your marriage through inspiring talks, private couple time, individual prayer time, Reconciliation, Eucharistic Adoration and the celebration of the Mass.

Through God’s grace, each couple may walk away with a renewed strength and a deeper commitment to each other and God.

Our retreats are not intended for deeply struggling marriages. If you need assistance in finding help in this area, please contact the Family Life Apostolate or please call us and we can help you in your search.



The Christian Life Retreat Center is located on the beautiful grounds of the St. Joseph Abbey right outside of Covington, La. Each couple will be given their own newly renovated Married Couples Suite, with more square feet per room, brand new queen size beds, expanded and updated bathrooms, and your own quiet and relaxing seating area for two!  

75376 River Rd, St Benedict, LA 70457

Cost of the Retreat

There are no fees for the Married Couples Retreat; this program operates through the donations of our guests. Those who are able to give more than the expenses involved, please do so. Those of more limited means may give whatever they can. Pre-registration deposit is $100. The deposit is refundable up until 72 hours before the start of the retreat. The total suggested donation for the retreat is $325 per couple ($100 Pre-registration deposit + $225 = the total $325 suggested donation). If you are coming from far away, or want to start your weekend early you can add Friday Night for an additional $75. 
For the June and July Two Night retreats, the deposit is $100 suggested donation and the full donation, including the $100 deposit, is $415 per couple. The deposit is refundable up until 72 hours before the start of the retreat.

You may send your deposits to:
Willwoods Married Retreats
3900 Howard Ave. New Orleans, LA 70125
Checks payable to: Willwoods Community

Early Arrival

If you are traveling a far distance or if you would just like to start your weekend getaway a little early, you can arrive on Friday evening. All that is requested is for you to make an additional donation of $75. A breakfast will be available at 8am. Please make this additional check out to Willwoods Community.

Retreat Dates

See a date that works for you but you’re not from the sponsoring parish? Join the waiting list of the retreat you’d like to attend and we will reach out to you six weeks in advance about availability.

  • February 4-5, 2023 - Black Catholic Married Couples Retreat Weekend
    • 02/04/2023 - 02/05/2023
    • St. Joseph Abbey Retreat Center
  • March 11-12,2023 - Sponsored by St. Catherine of Siena
    • 03/11/2023 - 03/12/2023
    • St. Joseph Abbey Retreat Center
  • March 18-19, 2023 Retreat - Sponsored by St Pius X in New Orleans
    • 03/18/2023 - 03/19/2023
    • St. Joseph Abbey Retreat Center
  • April 29-30, 2023 - Sponsored by St. John of the Cross, Lacombe
    • 04/29/2023 - 04/30/2023
    • St. Joseph Abbey Retreat Center
  • May 20-21, 2023 Retreat - Sponsored by Our Lady of the Lake
    • 05/20/2023 - 05/21/2023
    • St. Joseph Abbey Retreat Center
  • June 10-11, 2023 Retreat - Sponsored by St. Alphonsus
    • 06/10/2023 - 06/11/2023
    • St. Joseph Abbey Retreat Center
  • July 15-16, 2023 Retreat - Sponsored by Divine Mercy Parish
    • 07/15/2023 - 07/16/2023
    • St. Joseph Abbey Retreat Center
  • August 26-27, 2023 Retreat - Sponsored by Holy Family Parish, Luling
    • 08/26/2023 - 08/27/2023
    • St. Joseph Abbey Retreat Center
  • September 16-17, 2023 Retreat - Sponsored by St. George & Our Lady of Mount Carmel
    • 09/16/2023 - 09/17/2023
    • St. Joseph Abbey Retreat Center
  • October 14-15, 2023 Family Retreat
    • 10/14/2023 - 10/15/2023
    • St. Joseph Abbey Retreat Center
  • For more information contact Jason Angelette at

    How can our retreat program help your parish?

    Parish Sponsored Retreat:

    We invite every parish to announce and promote all of our Faith & Marriage Retreats in their bulletins. We also encourage parishes to consider reserving a weekend with us. At minimum, sponsoring a retreat means that you will be the first to invite as many couples from your parish as you can to a weekend of your choice. You can use our retreat as a way of offering a very powerful, effective and memorable opportunity for your couples and for your parish, with little work on your part.

    Benefits of Sponsoring a Retreat:

    • Couples are more encouraged to attend
    • Strengthens marriages & parish life at the same time
    • The expense to the parish is little to none
    • It can be as easy as, “You make announcements, we do everything else!”

    What couples are saying


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Will there be any group sharing?
    A retreat is not group therapy. We will not ask any couple to share their feelings, emotions or intimate thoughts with the group or any other couple on the retreat.

    What do we need to bring?
    Your private room with private bathroom will be fully stocked with pillows, sheets, extra blankets, and towels. You will need to bring your own toiletries, but if you forget we have some to handout.

    How should we come dressed?
    As far as dress code, the weekend is casual. We will have Mass on Saturday and on Sunday so if you wanted to dress a little nicer than casual you may. For those who normally find room temperatures to be a little cold, you might want to bring a little something extra to add on to your wardrobe during the retreat.

    Can we still attend the retreat even though we are unable to pay the suggested donation?
    There are no fees for the Married Couples Retreat; this program operates through the donations of our guests. A donation of $315 per couple is suggested to cover expenses that occur from the weekend. If a couple, for whatever reason, is unable to pay some or even all of the suggested amount, they are more than welcome to attend the retreat for free. Cost should not be the reason a couple is unable to attend. If you would like to make a donation to the Faith & Marriage Retreat program to help us continue this free invitation, please make checks out to “Willwoods Community” with an indication that you would like to support the “Faith & Marriage Retreat Program”.

    If we come early on Friday, what time do we need to get there?
    Whenever it is convenient for you. Just give us an estimate of when you think you might be able to arrive and we will make sure that you have access into the Christian Life Center.

    What if I am on a special diet?
    Please let us know if you have any special dietary needs. We have a professional cooking staff on site that can help make sure that everyone will have a delicious and healthy meal.

    What is a retreat?
    What is a retreat? It is a chance to be with God and be with your spouse in a real and powerful way. It is that time where our souls can find rest and become renewed in love and commitment to one another and to God.

    Analogy for the Guys: Down here in the south we love our football and if you have ever played the sport or followed it, you know that no matter how much a team is ahead or is down it is always good to go into the locker room for halftime to rest, to look at what is working and what is not working and to see how to improve. That is kind of like what a retreat is, a chance to get off the field for just a moment to spend time rejuvenating and reenergizing your love and commitment for one another and to deepen your faith in God.

    Analogy for the Ladies: What would happen if you spent hundreds maybe even thousands on a garden for your home. What if you bought the best plants, the best soil and the best mulch and after all was planted the only thing you did was water it or what if you did not do anything else to it, how long would the garden last? Marriage is very much like a garden, if it is not cared for properly, it will wither. A married couples retreat is just one key ingredient, one important step to a nourished and flourishing relationship with your spouse and with God.

    Going on a married couples retreat does not mean that your marriage is in jeopardy or that someone failed or is failing in their role as a husband or a wife. In fact, going on a retreat really means that you and your spouse are doing something amazing for each other and your marriage.

    It is of most importance to note that Jesus the Son of God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, made it a point, to spend time with the Father alone in prayer (cf. Luke 6:12). A retreat is not giving up or admitting defeat, it reveals Christ-like actions and it gives witness that apart from the relationship with the God we can do nothing!

    Do you have to be Catholic to attend?
    While this is a Catholic Married Couples Retreat, we welcome all married couples to come and experience a wonderful weekend that will surely bless your marriage and your faith!

    How often should we attend a married couples retreat?
    It is recommend that every couple attend one married couples retreat each year.

    Can we leave right after mass on Sunday?
    We hope that everyone can stay the whole time. If in the event you may need to leave earlier than 1pm on Sunday, you can either leave after our 11:15am Mass or you can attend the 7:15am Mass at the Abbey church and then rejoin the group for breakfast.

    pay remaining balance or make a donation

    Retreat Donations

    Please enter the same email you registered with, so we can be sure your payment is associated with your reservation. Thanks!
    If you still need to pay your deposit or the full or remaining balance of the retreat, please choose an option from the dropdown.
    Marriage Retreats are donation based, and we WANT you to attend. No fees are required. If you are unable to make the full donation, but would like to give a partial donation please enter the amount you feel comfortable with.
    If you would like to make an additional donation to the Faith and Marriage Apostolate please enter the amount you would like to give. Your generosity aids future couples to benefit from these retreats.
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