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 Saint Joseph Abbey 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
You may send your deposits to:
Willwoods Married Retreats
3900 Howard Ave. New Orleans, LA 70125
Checks payable to: Willwoods Community
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 $85. A breakfast will be available at 8am. Please make this additional check out to Willwoods Community.
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.
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.
• 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!”
Yes! When a retreat weekend is sponsored the couples from that parish will have 4-6 weeks to register. After that time, the retreat is opened to couples outside of the sponsoring parish.
Go to the weekend that you would like to attend and at the top you will see a place to join the waitlist for that particular weekend. If room is available we will reach out to the couples on the waitlist and begin filling the remaining available rooms.
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.
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 there are some available if needed.
The dress code for the weekend is casual. We will have Mass on Saturday and Sunday. So, if you want to dress a little nicer than casual, you may.
For those who normally find room temperatures to be a little cold, you may want to bring a sweater or jacket.
There are no fees for the Married Couples Retreat; this program operates through the donations of our guests. A donation is suggested to cover expenses for the weekend.
If a couple, for whatever reason, is unable to pay any or even all of the suggested amount, they are more than welcome to attend the retreat for free. Cost should not prevent a couple from attending a retreat.
If you would like to make a donation to the Faith & Marriage Retreat program to help us continue this free invitation, please make checks payable to “Willwoods Community” with an indication that you would like to support the “Faith & Marriage Retreat Program”. You can also make your donation online here (Please designate your gift to “Retreat”).
You may arrive any time between 5:00pm-9:30pm. If you arrive late Friday night we will make sure that you have access to your room.
Please let us know if you have any special dietary needs. We have a professional cooking staff onsite to ensure that everyone will enjoy a delicious and healthy meal.
We also have refrigerators if you need to keep anything refrigerated during the weekend.
A retreat is responding to the invitation from God to come to Him to find our rest and our strength.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Matthew 11:28-30
“God is our refuge and our strength” Psalm 46:2
A retreat is a following in the footsteps of our Lord who, many times during His public ministry, would go off to deserted places or the mountain tops to spend time with the Father in prayer (cf. Luke 5:16, 6:12, 9:28, & 22:39-41).
In Marriage, where the two have become one, couples have the opportunity to come as one to find rest and strength. Also, it is a place where couples can be renewed, refocused, and rejuvenated in their love and commitment to God and each other.
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 may be ahead or down on the scoreboard, it is always good to get out of the noise, go into the locker room for halftime to rest, look at what is working and what is not and then get back on the field to win the game. That is kind of like what a retreat is, a chance to get away from the noise of the daily grind for at least a night to spend quality time rejuvenating and reenergizing your love and commitment for God and each other.
Analogy for the Ladies:
What would happen if you spent hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars on a garden for your home? What if you bought the right type of plants, the best soil, and even the most expensive and environmentally friendly mulch, but, after all was planted you didn’t go back in the garden to care for 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 couple’s retreat is just one key ingredient, one important step, one great way to nourish and flourish your relationship with each other and with God.
While this is a Catholic Married Couple’s Retreat, we welcome all married couples to come and experience a wonderful weekend getaway that will surely bless you and your marriage!
It is recommended that every couple attend one married couples retreat a year.
We hope that everyone can stay the whole time. If in the event you may need to leave earlier than 1:00pm on Sunday, you can either leave after our 11:30am Mass, or you can attend the 7:15am Mass at the Abbey church, and then rejoin the group for as long as you can.
Unfortunately, we do not offer childcare services for our weekends. However, if you have a nursing baby please feel free to bring him or her with you on the retreat. Please bring with you all the things you will need to accommodate your baby’s sleeping needs. We do have space in the room for you to set up your pack n’ play for them.
If you need to cancel for any reason, please do so before 5:00pm on the Tuesday before the retreat to receive a full refund. After that point, we are charged a $100 late cancellation fee from the retreat center, but we are happy to refund any donations made in excess of your $100 deposit.
We do not offer marriage counseling on retreats. If you are in need of counseling, we have a great list of professional counselors. If you are looking for a retreat that is more designed for couples who are seriously hurting, please check out Retrouvaille (French for Rediscover).