Come Away and Rest for a While

by Joe Bernal, Spiritual Director

Jesus said to his disciples, “Come away to some secluded place all by yourselves and rest for a while”. (Mark 6:31).

How often do we say to ourselves, “I wish I had some time to go to a secluded place and get away for a while?” Just like Jesus invited his disciples to “come away,” he also invites us to come and rest for a while.
Just a short three-hour drive away, Our Lady of the Oaks Jesuit Retreat house is a well kept secret. Head south on I-49 towards Lafayette and take exit 11 to find the 80-year old Spanish style house situated on the grounds of the Jesuit communities in the small town of Grand Coteau.

Our Lady of the Oaks was dedicated to the Greater Glory of God and the honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The facility features a library, reading room, chapel, private visit chapel, enclosed courtyard, dining room, gazebos, beautiful landscaping and 51 rooms for occupancy. The grounds surrounding the retreat house are spacious and magnificent, with many grand old oaks, azalea-lined walkways and quiet places for reflection.
Since 1938, the Retreat House has offered thousands of men, women, and married couples a place to relax, time to reflect and time to pray. Anyone seeking peace and a closer relationship with God is welcome to attend.

A retreat at the Oaks offers:

“Time to relax … The refreshing thing about a retreat is our release from the daily grind. We get away from business problems and family worries. The quiet and peaceful atmosphere of the Retreat house will slow our pace and gradually draw our thoughts from daily demands. Doing this allows us to reflect on our life and the direction it is taking.

Time to reflect … We will be free to think without interruptions in the silence of the weekend. Free to get a fresh start on our lives and on our relationships with family, friends and God.
Time to pray … In the quiet of the chapel, in the peacefulness of the courtyard with the water flowing in the fountain, or in the beauty of the tree-lined paths, we will find the atmosphere for praying to God … to thank Him, to praise Him, to ask for His guidance.”1

The Preached Weekend Retreat is an adaptation of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. The retreat is a process of prayer, reflection and discernment that helps bring a person to freedom in order to hear God’s call and to respond in faith.

The Preached Weekend Retreat also offers the mature disciple, a person with a strong desire to mature in Christ, a time of silence and quiet, some instruction, daily Mass and opportunities for reconciliation and communion. Also available are traditional forms of piety including recitation of the rosary and the Stations of the Cross. During the retreat, Jesuit priests are available for confession and counseling.
For more information and to schedule a retreat at Our Lady of the Oaks in Grand Coteau, LA, visit their website at, or contact the office by telephone (337) 662-5410 or e-mail:  •

Joe Bernal is a parishioner at St. Paschal Parish in West Monroe, a spiritual director for the Diocese of Shreveport and a retreat director at Our Lady of the Oaks.

1 Used with permission from Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House.

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