Our Lady Immaculate Church (SSPX), Oak Park, IL
I have just returned from my week-long retreat at the SSPX Our Lady of Sorrows Retreat Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The time was one of great consolation and some of the greatest graces that I have yet received.
The retreat took place from February 6 - 11th although most of us arrived on Sunday evening prior. Starting Monday morning we were fed three excellent meals a day and we lived in humble, though still very comfortable conditions. The 80 degree weather certainly helped the experience (since I'm always a fan of escaping the 30 degree weather in Chicago).
Each day consisted of rising at 6:15 with optional Prime at 6:45. Morning prayers followed at 7:00 AM and Mass was usually said at 7:30 (except for a special High Mass Wednesday evening said after each of us made our general Confessions in the morning). The day consisted of approximately 5 - 6 conferences using the St. Ignatian model. Each conference helped explain the mysteries of the Ignatian Spiritual exercises, and we then meditated on the mysteries for 20 minutes. There was a daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament as well. Compline was prayed together each evening at 8:30 PM and then all returned to their rooms.
The time was kept in prayerful silence and each of us maintained a contemplative and prayerful state of soul. Yet even in the silence, one could feel the charity towards our neighbor. Truly, this is how traditional communities like the Benedictines in Silver City live! With the Spiritual Exercises and frequent prayers - along with daily reception of the Most Holy Sacrament - it was one of the greatest sources of graces in my life. In our general confessions, as we confessed all of the sins of our lives, I could not help but feel unbelievably sorrowful and humble in the presence of Almighty God. Our Lord has given us through His Incarnation, Life, Passion, and Death an inexpressable and unrepayable model and source of grace. I have updated my 2012 Catholic Resolutions in light of my retreat.
If you have never attended an Ignatian Retreat, you simply must attend one of these. You can be certain that the Sacraments of the SSPX are licit and valid (unlike those in the Novus Ordo) and you can also be certain that they maintain true doctrine (unlike so-called "indult" Traditional Masses that still teach religious liberty, ecumenism, and other false doctrines).
And I must also mention that Bishop Fellay even joined us for lunch on Monday. He was in town for Confirmations the previous day. What an example of grace! Just his very presence was a source of hope for the Church. The Church is in Her passion. She is suffering even to this day unlike anything She has ever suffered and few remain faithful to her. Yet, just like our Lord in His Passion, those around us don't see the divinity in the suffering. Few people on Calvary saw in the Dying Savior the Divinity of the Second Person of the Godhead. And few today see through the modernist Church and her sins to the Catholic Church founded by Christ and still keeping the True Faith and the True Mass.
Deo Gratias for the SSPX.ORG! Sign up for a retreat and/or please get a copy of "Christian Warfare." This was the copy of the book that we used for all the prayers and Spiritual Exercises for the week.