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Retreat and Counseling Centers


Retreats were close to the heart of St. Ignatius. Today, California Province Jesuits strive to maintain retreat facilities with a peaceful environment where men and women, through the experience of prayer, can discover and deepen their relationship with God.

Retreat Facilities

El Retiro retreatThe Province’s three California retreat locations, staffed by Jesuit and lay professionals, offer distinctive experiences.

Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos offers individually directed and group retreats that examine various themes related to the Gospel, Ignatian spirituality, healing, grief, or recovery. Some retreats encourage silence; others are semi-silent, allowing limited discussion. The center also hosts privately directed group retreats for legal and medical professionals, married couples, people in recovery, and other parties.

Jesuit Retreat Center of the Sierra does not offer planned retreats but provides a perfect venue for groups to conduct their own meetings. Nestled in the foothills of California’s historic Gold Country next to the village of Applegate, the Center provides a tranquil environment for rest, reflection, and spiritual renewal. The extensively remodeled facilities include lodging quarters, conference rooms, a chapel, and a cafeteria. For more information about the Center, including a locator map and photos of the grounds and facilities, click here.

Loyola Institute for Spirituality in Orange leads weekend and longer retreats on request from groups and organizations. Unlike a residential retreat center, it focuses on bringing Ignatian spirituality into the community, particularly to Spanish-speakers and other immigrant groups. A major emphasis of LIS is the development of laity as spiritual leaders and ministers who serve in this capacity.

Weekend programs

Priest speaking to woman outsideAt the Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos, group retreatants typically gather on a Friday evening and have dinner together. Over the next day and a half, people spend time alone, in conference with a spiritual director, listening to presentations, and praying. In addition to guided group retreats that follow a particular theme, individually directed retreats are available by reservation. On such retreats, individuals spend each day in silence and prayer, meeting with a spiritual director at least once daily.

At the Loyola Institute for Spirituality, retreats offer considerable time to individual and communal prayer, one or more liturgies, opportunities to share reflections, and personal conversation and/or reconciliation with retreat directors.

30-day retreats

Priest sitting on a park bench Participants often include people who are planning to work as spiritual directors. The retreat begins with four days of preparation, including talks, prayer, and discussion. Over the next 30 days, they spend time in meditation, contemplation, vocal and silent prayer, devotions, related spiritual activities, and guided reflections.  The retreat concludes with three days of “decompression” and follow-up. The Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos hosts one of the largest 30-day programs in the world.

Through the Loyola Institute for Spirituality, Jesuits and affiliated laity lead groups in spiritual formation through several long-term programs. The supervising judge of family law for the Superior Court of California for Orange County, the Honorable Francisco Firmat, facilitates small groups that meet weekly for 35 weeks to reflect on the Spiritual Exercises.

Counseling centers

Founded in 1977, the Jesuit Institute for Family Life International Network is comprised of 54 centers in the United States, Mexico, Asia, Europe, and West Africa. The centers offer professional counseling and therapy for children, adolescents, married couples, individuals and families of all faiths and walks of life. Institute staff members are licensed, trained, and experienced in their fields. For more information, visit


"The virtue of solidarity is not a private feeling of empathy or friendship with people whom we know well or the poor person we happen to meet on our life's journey... It relaizes that the quality of our lives is instrinsically linked with the quality of the lives of others..."
Paul Locatelli, S.J.