(Latin: retrahere, to withdraw)

Withdrawal from the usual surroundings and business distractions to a place set apart for solitude, meditation, self-examination, and amendment of life. Under a competent director the retreatants follow certain spiritual exercises, like those of Saint Ignatius, which enable one to grasp more clearly the simple truths of religion about God and man's relations with Him, sin and its penalties, the following of Christ, and a rule of life, in order to rise above the thought of doing evil and to aim at a higher standard of life. Within the past 30 years a great number of places of retreat for men and women have been provided in every English-speaking country, some of them in religious houses, but for men mostly in houses set apart distinctly for this purpose. These retreats usually last only a few days, but those who have leisure may spend a longer time. Priests and religious usually make a retreat every year for a week or eight days.

New Catholic Dictionary

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