Building work at Manresa
Renovation and building work in Manresa Jesuit Centre of Spirituality, Dollymount, Dublin is expected to begin in July 2022. It will include a new dining facility and the refurbishment of both the retreat house, castle buildings and the former tertianship buildings. As a result, the retreat house will cease activities on-site by the end of June 2022. The comprehensive work will take over a year to complete, seeing the Centre reopen in later 2023.
The first phase will see the preparation of the ground where the chalet is currently located. This will become the site of the new kitchen and dining room which, parallel to the 1960s retreat house building, will complete a quadrangle creating in future a ‘plaza’ rather than parking.
All the windows in the retreat house building itself will be replaced and the bedrooms refurbished, the roof of the Montserrat (conference) Room repaired and other internal rearrangements to enhance the guest experience.
At the same time, work will begin in the former tertianship building to prepare it for community/retreat team occupancy. The community will relocate to this building once the accommodation is finished, allowing work to begin on the vacated castle building.
It is hoped that the new kitchen and dining room for the guests and community will be ready in the autumn of 2023.
External works will include the provision of parking in front of the castle building, landscaping and the addition of a swale at the top of the labyrinth meadow.
Only a small number of on-site day retreats » are taking place in June 2022 due to the necessity of clearing the rooms in time for the renovation work. These include a Morning Retreat on 15 June, an Oasis Day on 18 June, and a Steps2Serenity One-Day Retreat on 25 June.
Build in Hope is an event taking place at Manresa from 9.30am to 5.30pm on Sunday 26 June 2022. This one-day retreat celebrating creation will be a time to relax, pray, reflect, and engage with nature and other participants. Click here for more information ».
People are also invited to participate in online retreats » in their own time. These include an 8-day retreat on the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus called A Heart for the World, a retreat on a selection of the Mysteries on the Rosary called At Home with Mary, and retreats on patterns of discipleship offered by a number of women in the Gospels called Great Faith I: Women in the Gospel and Great Faith II: Women in the Gospel.
Additional online retreats will shortly be made available on the link above.
Fr Piaras Jackson SJ has led the retreat team at Manresa over the last ten years. He will take some sabbatical time, while being based with the Peter Faber Community in Belfast, from later in the summer.
Reflecting on his time in Manresa, Piaras remarks:
“The time of lockdown was a particularly active time for me, involving a lot of figuring out, learning and practice in producing and enabling others in retreats with Zoom and video. It was great to remain in touch with and to serve people at such a time.
“It happened only because we had developed a responsive and imaginative approach before then. It was great to see Manresa flourish, to witness the blessings it can offer. The marvellous external setting speaks to visitors first; then people come to relax into and trust what God is doing – more wonderfully! – in them.”
Asked about the future of Manresa, Piaras says:
“When we remember that we are a field hospital – Pope Francis’s memorable image – and don’t see ourselves as specialist private consultants, Manresa’s place in the Irish church is assured.
“People will always respond to hospitality, respect and generosity, and Manresa is somewhere that can embody those qualities as it offers an open door, good listening and space for people to recognise how God is already active in their lives.”
Fr Ashley Evans SJ, a member of the team for the last year, will take over as temporary Director of the Spirituality Centre.
He will lead a Manresa planning team, separate from the retreat team, to create a draft version of a new vision, mission and strategy document for the Centre.