Welcome to Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat in Peoria, IL
Hi there. If you are on this site, you are probably looking for information about the Rachel’s Vineyard
Retreat held in central Illinois. The Catholic Diocese of Peoria sponsors two retreats each year which
are open to men and women of all faith backgrounds. I’m pretty sure that you are going to have a lot of
the same questions that I had about the retreat, retreat location, and the people who will make up your
retreat team members. First, I want to assure you that no matter how alone, isolated, unlovable, guilty,
and hurt you may feel right now, the people involved with Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat understand. Many have already walked a mile in your shoes, so to speak. Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat is solely a place of healing. There are no judgments.
The retreat is held at Nazareth House in Henry, IL. This large, single level sprawling center has private rooms with attached bathrooms for each retreat participant. While the rooms are not overly large, they are comfortable and provide all the privacy you need. The rooms accommodate individuals or married couples.
Most activities will be held in the central great room which features a brick fireplace and comfortable seating. Mass is held in the chapel. There will be time during the retreat to walk the grounds. There are beautiful views of the Illinois River from the library. The grounds also have a pond, numerous statues, and the Stations of the Cross.
Depending on the weather, it can be a bit chilly at Nazareth House. Bring a sweater or sweatshirt with you, just in case. Standard retreat clothing is as follows: jeans, T-shirts (long sleeved or short sleeved), a
sweatshirt or sweater for inside and jacket for outside, and one nicer set of pants and shirt for Sunday Mass. Also remember sleeping wear and your toiletries.
The sisters who run Nazareth House are a quiet bunch. Typically you will only see them at meals and Mass. The sisters recognize that you are on a personal retreat and leave you to yourself unless you initiate conversation. They are not without a sense of humor though. Coming to Nazareth House by way of Miami, Fl the sisters brought a few things with them… One pink flamingo for every sister and a crocodile!
Each of the retreat team members has felt a strong calling to help others heal from the damages caused
or associated with abortion. All team members are required to attend two retreats as participants prior to
serving on a retreat team. Some of the retreat team members have experienced abortion in their past and, therefore, know you in a profound way before you even step through the door. And all retreat team members are desirous of knowing you as a healed person.
Generally there is at least one priest present and another male team member who is not a priest. Yes, the men will also have attended the retreat previously as participants. Rachel's Vineyard retreats are open to both men and women for abortion healing.
As a female, it may be difficult to understand why men would be present at a retreat for abortion healing. Please understand that not all men are the same. There are men who truly love their children, wives, sisters, mothers, etc. They care and they have also suffered, in some way, due to abortion. There is a substantial amount of information specific to men and men’s healing from abortion on the Rachel’s Vineyard website page For Men.
I will not go into great detail about what actually occurs at a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat. You honestly have to experience the retreat to fully understand. What I will tell you is that you will feel anxious and nervous and kind of silly the first night. Everyone feels the same, even if no one will say so. The first night is primarily for settling in and meeting everyone, participants and team members alike. There will be opportunity for activities, discussion, and reflection time that serve to begin the healing process. The retreat will be one of the most profound times of your life.
Confidentiality is a big part of Rachel’s Vineyard. You need not fear that your picture or name will
appear for others to see. Your privacy, along with the privacy of the team members is strictly
maintained. There are no cameras at the retreat. On the Sunday of the retreat weekend you will be
given the opportunity to provide contact information so that those involved in your retreat may stay in
contact with you afterwards. It is your decision how much, if any, contact information you wish to
provide. Some give out their full name, address, phone number, and email. Others simply give their
name and email address. And some individuals choose to provide no information. All are perfectly
You may still be feeling a bit overwhelmed and concerned about participating in a Rachel’s Vineyard
Retreat. If that is true, please take the time to contact either Colleen or Steve, the retreat coordinators.
They will help guide you through the process and listen to you.
Of all the things I could tell you about Nazareth House and Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, the most
important is that if you have had an abortion or been a party to abortion, that type of action often leaves
an emotional trail of destruction in its wake. Please take the time to heal and stop beating yourself up.
You are not alone. Not then, not now, and not ever. If you know the poem “Footsteps on the Sand,”
then know that this is a time in your life where only one set appears...