Jesuit retreat center high on the bluffs of the Mississippi River in St. Louis, MO.  Since 1922, thousands of people from around the world make annual three-day silent, guided retreats here to relax, reconnect with God and strengthen their spirituality.  A true gem in the Midwest!  Call 314-416-6400 or 1-800-643-1003.  Email reservations@whretreat.org  7400 Christopher Rd.  St. Louis, MO 63129

Both men's and women's retreats are offered as well as recovery retreats.

Take Spirituality to the Next Level!

Weekend Reflections for 4/20/18

The Good Shepherd

The Scripture readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter stress how blessed we are for believing in and knowing and being known by Jesus Christ. He is our friend, brother and constant companion. We are never alone nor abandoned to our own defenses. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles Peter proclaims that in Jesus we have been saved from the darkness and destruction of sin.

In the First Letter of St. John we are reminded that we are the Father’s beloved children. Jesus revealed that God is our loving and merciful Parent who always looks on us with infinite compassion and love. Through our Baptism we have been promised and are destined to see the Lord face-to-face and be like and with him forever. How blessed we are!

In the Gospel according to John Jesus says to us, “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” The welfare of each sheep is the shepherd’s main concern and focus and so we are to our Lord. He guides and protects us, always listening for our call and responding. When we are challenged by life and its inevitable pains, we remember how Jesus suffered for love of us and are strengthened and blessed with his gift of Easter peace. Alleluia!

Fr. Ralph Huse, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 4/13/18

Jesus, our Advocate

In Sunday’s Gospel from Luke we have another appearance of Jesus to his confused and frightened followers. He again greets them with his gift of Peace and shows them his wounds. They still fear that he is a ghost and so he asks for something to eat to show them that he is truly real and alive. “Then Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” He wants them and us to understand that his death was his ultimate act of love to free all of the human family from slavery to self and sin. In his death he reveals his Father to be forgiving love that conquers even and especially death.

In the second reading from the first letter of John, we hear that “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.” An advocate is a defense attorney, one who argues on our behalf. Jesus intercedes for us and that is what we experience when we celebrate God’s mercy in the sacrament of Reconciliation. A crippling weight is lifted and we know his Easter gift of Peace. As the weather warms and the flowers bloom, let us be witnesses that Jesus has risen and is truly alive. Alleluia!

Fr. Ralph Huse, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 4/6/18

Doubting Thomas

The Risen Jesus comes to console his apostles, his friends, on the evening of Easter Sunday. They are scared to death that the authorities will come and arrest them and crucify them as they did Jesus and so they have locked themselves in the room of the last supper. He doesn’t challenge or accuse them, doesn’t ask where they were on Friday as he hung on the cross. He simply greets them, “Peace be with you.” His love and compassion for them was overwhelming and they were filled with joy. They knew it was Jesus.

For some reason Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus appeared. When the other apostles told him that Jesus was truly alive, he doubts and puts conditions on his faith: “Unless I see the marks of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” His doubt earned him a personal appearance; Jesus came back a week later just for Thomas. He extended his hands and said Here, go ahead and fulfill your conditions. The Gospel doesn’t tell us whether Thomas put his finger in the wounds but I don’t think he needed that. Jesus was treating Thomas the way he always had, putting himself at Thomas’ disposal, as he had when he washed his feet. No one else treated him this way. It had to be Jesus and he acknowledges, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus is speaking to his apostles and to us when he says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Jesus treats us as he did his friends. He can challenge us but he never accuses or shames. He comes when we ask and invite him and always looks on us with infinite compassion and love. Peace be with you.

Fr. Ralph Huse, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 3/30/18


When praying the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius has us look at the risen Lord and “consider the office of consoler that Christ our Lord exercises, and compare it to the way in which friends are wont to console each other”.  Jesus appears to his friends who are hurting in various ways and consoles them with his loving presence and reassurance. He takes them in their pain and sorrow and then gently and patiently strengthens them with his love and eternal life.

Mary Magdalene spent Saturday alone at home. It was the Sabbath and she was forbidden to travel to Jesus’ tomb to properly prepare his body for burial. She is filled with grief and sorrow at the loss of her loved one. She rises early on Sunday to go to the tomb and finds it empty. Later Jesus appears to her but she doesn’t recognize him at first because her eyes are clouded with tears. Then he calls her by name and her eyes are opened and she falls at his feet filled with joy.

When we are grieving the losses in our lives, we can look for and expect our friend to appear and console us. Sometimes he comes in answer to our prayers, sometimes in the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist and sometimes in the person of a friend or a family member or even a stranger. Then we know that the Lord is truly risen, he is alive! Alleluia!

Fr. Ralph Huse, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 3/22/18

  Palm Sunday

     "He humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death."  These words encapsulate the entire meaning of Palm Sunday.  Even what might look like temporary triumph for Jesus is girded with a heavy dose of humility.  It is not enough for Jesus to ride in on a simple ass, an animal smaller and less regal than a horse; he comes on the foal of an ass. Likely he would have looked awkward, with his feet almost touching the ground.

     In Sunday's Gospel of the Passion according to Mark, Jesus humbly gives his own flesh for his disciples to eat, another awkward experience for him, all done in obedience to the Father.  In Gethsemane, we witness more humility...he falls to the ground in great anguish surrendering his will to the Father: "...not what I will but what you will."  Jesus lets himself be apprehended by dark forces, falsely accused before Pilate, scourged, stripped, and crucified. 

     "Behold the man!"  Indeed, behold the humble one...whose humility points directly to the Father. This was his purpose in life, to bring glory to his Father. It is our purpose also, to praise, reverence and serve God, says St. Ignatius. The service of God is effectively done only in humility, pointing always beyond ourselves, imitating our Master.


Fr. Anthony Wieck, S.J. 





April 16-19



April 23-26 with Fr. Joe Tetlow, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 3/16/18

The Paradox of Glory

     In John's Gospel this Sunday, Jesus reminds us that his moment of greatest glory will be the moment of his self-surrender in death.  He has been preparing for this.  He will perform this ultimate act of love on the cross. 

     Then he offers this curious analogy: "Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat."  On the farm where I grew up, when we planted wheat, a small percentage of the kernels would actually be dead, with no life in them.  And they would only decompose in the soil once placed there.  But all the other kernels would have to die to their exterior form and break open and unleash their power to break through the soil and turn from one seed to possibly a hundred--a full head of wheat. 

     The best things in life, then, have to be turned inside out.  Like popcorn (a staple of Jesuits here at White House).

     You and I to have to die to our exterior form in this world.  In Jesus' terms, "Whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life."  That is, no clinging is to be allowed to our worldly way of doing things, focusing on self-preservation.  Rather we are to focus on self-gift, letting ourselves be turned inside out as was Jesus.  For he tells us, "Whoever serves me must follow [my example]..."

Fr. Anthony Wieck, S.J. 







March 19-22 with Fr. Anthony Wieck, S.J.



April 23-26 with Fr. Joe Tetlow, S.J.



Limited space remains on each.  Call 314-416-6400 to register.

Weekend Reflections for 3/9/18

     John 3:16.  Everyone has seen it, whether at a football game or elsewhere.  It is a pivotal passage of Scripture, and part of this Sunday's gospel: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son."  Mind-boggling!  Instead of letting us pay the price for our own sin, God the Father and God the Son took it upon themselves.  For what father would not find it excruciating to see his only-begotten son be crucified without cause?  And what special son would choose to let it happen to himself for the sake of guilty sinners?  Imagine yourself serving life in prison, by choice, for someone else so that they could go free.  

     But salvation is not just a simple exchange to where God pays the debt on the cross and I go free.  No, there is something required of me also--the gaze of faith.  The bronze serpent in the desert had absolutely no power of itself to cure the bitten, but only the gaze of faith.  So too we are not saved willy-nilly by God's self-gift on the cross, but only by the gaze of faith.
     "God so loved the world...so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."  Let us look upon the crucifix during this Lent with a new gaze of faith.  Let us sign ourselves in wonder with the sign of our salvation.

Fr. Anthony Wieck, S.J. 




March 19-22 with Fr. Anthony Wieck, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 3/2/18

     "Zeal for his Father's house consumes him." This statement pretty much defines the dramatic cleansing of the temple scene in Sunday's Gospel. 

     Jesus is not okay with exorbitant exchange rates for foreigners who need to exchange their Roman coins for Jewish coins so as to pay the temple tax and offer the cleansing sacrifice for sin.  These rates obstruct to the point where the worshippers can no longer enter the temple. 

     Jesus also is not okay with people believing only in his signs, his miracles. He knows human nature only too well. 

     But zeal he does recognize. And those who filled with this holy zest of love toward God will recognize Jesus as his Son.  It is a shared experience, inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Jesus always recognizes his Holy Spirit moving in others.

     We pray for the grace to be filled with holy zeal, such that fervent love becomes the source of our spiritual practices this Lent.


-Fr. Anthony Wieck, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 2/16/18

Jesus Begins His Public Ministry

What happens when Jesus makes the crucial decision to begin preaching about the kingdom of God.  He leaves his lifelong home at Nazareth, and goes to meet John the Baptist. Jesus is baptized and is consoled to hear his Father confirms that he is indeed proceeding in the right way.  In different ways the Scriptures also indicate that Jesus after his baptism spent some time with John and his disciples. When you think about it, there was so much for him to learn: how to gather disciples, how to preach and deal with those who come to listen to you, how to support this kind of ministry.

But as today’s gospel tells us, the Spirit of God eventually leads Jesus to the desert— Mark actually says “drives” him to the desert, where he can be alone, reflect and pray.  He needs to consider and plan so many things:  what he is about to do, how and when he’s going to do it. And it is in in the midst of this very important, crucial and difficult time that the spirit of evil interrupts trying to subvert, confuse and misdirect him in all of this.

We see how much Jesus, except for sin, is like us in all things, even in being tempted. For me it is important to notice when this occurs. He has just received John’s baptism, His Father spoken to him in a special way approving of his manner of proceeding, and now he is spending much time in fasting and prayer. It is then that the enemy interrupts and tries to turn him away from the manner in which God has been leading him. 

How often in moments which I thought should be most sacred and holy has the “unholy” tried to break in, upset my peace, turn me aside from the way in which God has been leading me.  Sometimes just having such thoughts causes one to reflect what a terrible and worthless person I am. How disgusting of me to have such thoughts or perhaps how presumptuous am I to have such aspirations or plans. On such occasions it is often very important to review all of this with a spiritual director or companion/guide.


Weekend Reflections for 2/9/18

Eat Everything They Put Out

In the first reading for this Friday's Mass (Is. 58, 1-9), the prophet castigates the people for their manner of fasting.  After telling them what is so mean-spirited and woefully inappropriate in their behavior he says:

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.....

......Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

For many Christians it's often a challenge to determine what they should be doing special or different during Lent in appreciation of our Lord's passion and in preparation for the Sacred Triduum at Lent's conclusion .  A very learned and good teacher of mine, Richard Smith, S.J.  addressed this matter in one of his retreats to Jesuit seminarians.  In his retreats he included a question and answer session. In this retreat he was asked what kind of Lenten penance/sacrifice he would recommend. His response was, "Oh that's easy. Just eat everything that is put out on the table and don't complain."  How simple, and for us, so practical. But I can assure you that it was for many young Jesuits a very challenging recommendation to put into practice.

So what is the appropriate Lenten penance or sacrifice? I suspect there are thousands of good answers, but I suggest one general guideline. Consider what it is that's going on in your life right now that is hindering your relationship with the Lord and perhaps separating you from the Lord, or a person or persons who need your care and concern. If it is something you can address in a practical and simple manner, as was the case with Dick Smith's suggestion, then I recommend you consider the challenge of doing it.

-Fr. Jim Blumeyer, S.J.






March 5-8 with Fr. Francis Ryan, S.J.

March 19-22 with Fr. Anthony Wieck, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 2/2/18

How has God called and prepared me to proclaim the Good News?

How did God prepare Jesus to serve his people, to bring about his Kingdom? It begins with growing up and spending the first 30 or so years of his life in the little town of Nazareth (estimated now at roughly 300 to 500 people). It was here living with his family and the people of his village, working with them and for them that he learned how to be a good Israelite, how to live and practice his faith.  He learned and memorized and prayed over many of the Jewish Scriptures.  He learned and practiced a profession with Joseph, he became acquainted with the strengths and weaknesses of his religious and political leaders, their right and wrong practices.

Then one day, probably to the surprise of almost everyone, he leaves Nazareth, goes to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist.  Then for a period of time he joins John’s disciples. Eventually he realized it was time for him to set out on his own and proclaim on his own what he knew of God and God’s plan for the Jewish nation.

In the various gospel scenes for this week we hear of the different ways in which Jesus accomplished this: journeying to the villages of Galilee and beyond, teaching, healing and on a few occasions even feeding the large crowd that was gathered around him, some to hear him others, to be healed.

It is most noteworthy that her did do this alone, but from the beginning gathered disciples to assist him.  He continues to do this with you and me.

We too at times should reflect upon how God has been preparing us to be ministers of the Good News, how we are to proclaim the kingdom of God in our own lives.  It is helpful to appreciate how we have been imbued with our faith. It is salutary to recall gratefully the people who helped and guided us in our faith journey.

So how now am I being called to take on, or to continue take on, this marvelous responsibility of being ministers of the Gospel with and for the people in my life world?

-Fr. Jim Blumeyer, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 1/26/18

Our prophetic mission

As Pope Francis stresses, we Christians ARE a mission, we don’t simply HAVE a mission. This Sunday’s bible readings specify the prophetic dimension of Jesus’ mission and our own.

We probably have a variety of images of prophets: angry preachers, wonderworkers, frenzied lunatics, magicians, seers, visionaries, mediators, martyrs. Many people asked Jesus "are you the prophet?" and he was ambivalent about answering this question directly. What is the essence of Jesus’s prophetic mission? He kept on pointing to his deeds, and people learned who he was more by what he did than by anything he said. He was, then, a new kind of prophet, one whose words became deeds. He spoke with power, authority to change things. Biblical scholar Eduard Schweizer put it this way: "In Jesus' word heaven breaks in and hell is destroyed. His word is deed. God's rule is at hand, evil has no ultimate power."

But even Jesus' words are not so magical that they coerce or force. His miracles do not cause faith, but call us to faith. His words/deeds are invitations to faith, hope, love – service. We witness this prophetic vocation in prophetic witnesses in our world: Martin Luther King, Archbishop Romero, Dorothy Day, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, our American Bishops' prophetic teachings about peace and justice, challenging people with words which must not be just words, but become deeds, as Jesus's prophetic words did. They invite commitment, they still demand faith, the kind of performative faith we are called to develop through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius at White House.

What about us? How often are our words out of sync with our deeds? Does our retreat experience flow into prophetic deeds as we cross that exit and “enter into the mission field,” or just words, words and more words? We too are called to a prophetic mission. May our words become deeds with the grace of God in Jesus and the help of St. Ignatius’s First Principle and Foundation that “love shows itself more in deeds than in words.”

Fr. Edward B.  “Ted” Arroyo, SJ.

Weekend Reflections for 1/19/18

We ARE a fishy mission.

Pope Francis often reminds us that we Christians don’t have a mission, we are a mission. This is what he is doing right now in his journey to South America. And this weekend’s bible readings are about mission.

The prophet Jonah thought that God could not possibly care for Ninevite Gentiles. He ran from his mission, but the story of Jonah in the belly of the great fish represents Yahweh’s refusal to let the prophet run away from mission. He was rescued at sea to fulfill his mission. Jesus used Jonah’s mission as a type of his own, but claimed that with him something greater was present, namely, the fulfillment of the kingdom mission by repentance and belief in the gospel (Mk 1:15).


Just as Jonah had to drop his aversion to the stranger gentile, Jesus’s call to his first disciples, and to us, challenges us to drop our entangling nets and simply let his mission become our own.

During our spiritual exercises such as the examen, can we ask for the grace to deepen our mission awareness, fishy as it may be? How are we to care for the strangers among us? Where we are called to conversion? What nets of entanglement do we have to drop to be the kingdom mission?

Just as in the case of Jonah, such conversion is more God's doing than our own. It is a matter of grace, to be changed into God's mission present in this world, to be changed into God's good news, welcoming the stranger, even our enemies, and inviting all to drop their nets and participate in the building of the kingdom.

May the grace of God’s call drag us along in our fishy mission!

Edward B. “Ted” Arroyo, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 1/12/18

Have a Divine New Year!

As the New Year sinks in, or we may seem to sink into it, it is good to follow the Ignatian practice of reflecting back on what we have celebrated in this past Christmas season. While in Lent and the Easter season we usually focus on God’s self emptying “kenosis” into this world and our humanity (Phil 2: 6-11), this current season focuses on the divinizing of humanity in the Incarnation.

This divinization of humanity is not, however, an erasing of or escaping from our human nature, as if we are to empty ourselves of humanity to let the divine in. No, it is a New Year’s celebration of the divine incarnate within each and every one of us.

The theological implications of this doctrine of divinization have been speculated upon since at least the second century, when St. Athanasius (150-215) taught “God became human so that humans might become God.” This is not some bizarre, minority opinion held by heretics. This doctrine is also central to the Second Vatican Council’s teaching and the theology of 20th Century Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner.[i] 

What does this mean for us? Beyond the subtleties of theological speculation in this new year it invites us to:

•          Praise of God become one of us within our very selves.

•          Reverence and service for God in all of creation, especially those “least” whom Jesus went out to at the margins of society.

•          A commitment to seeking the Ignatian grace of finding God in All things, as we again and again let his Spiritual Exercises invite us to participate in the divine.


Have a Divine New Year!

-Edward B. “Ted” Arroyo, S.J.


[i] For a series of essays tracing this theology of divinization from its roots to the present, see the book “Called to be the Children of God: The Catholic Theology of Human Deification,” edited in 2016 by SLU theologian and White House Retreat director David Meconi, S.J. and Carl E. Olson.

[1] For a series of essays tracing this theology of divinization from its roots to the present, see the book “Called to be the Children of God: The Catholic Theology of Human Deification,” edited in 2016 by SLU theologian and White House Retreat director David Meconi, S.J. and Carl E. Olson.

Weekend Reflections for 1/5/18

New Years Choosing to be Chosen

Once again we enter the season of New Years Resolutions. Or have you already forgotten, given up, on those choices you made on New Year’s Eve? One of the fundamental graces of our faith is that we are not the ultimate choice makers, God is. And the Christmas season is full of examples of God’s choosing in quite surprising ways, for example, in choosing Mary to be the Mother of God, the feast we celebrate at the start of the New Year.

We busy people like to think that with rational planning, gathering all the facts, projecting out to the future, we can make the right choices in our secular lives. But our Christian faith history shows us again and again that we aren’t the ultimate choosers, God is. Our role is less rational in many ways, not to be the master planners we would like to be in controlling our lives and our world. No, our role, as Ignatius shows us again and again in the Spiritual Exercises, is to ask for the gift, the grace, not so much to choose, but to be chosen. That grace is exemplified over and over again in the scriptures, the faith history of the “chosen” Mother of God, the faith history of the chosen People of God.

Our mentor St. Ignatius gives us a model of how we can move along in this New Year beyond our broken or forgotten “resolutions,” move along in our daily lives, choosing to be chosen. This he does inviting us to the regular prayer of the Awareness Examen. Perhaps this can be the most important “resolution” for all our coming years. You will find a version of this in pages 43 and following of our White House prayer booklet; or by searching the internet for “Awareness Examen” you can find many, many examples of how busy people can grow in finding God in all the things awaiting us in the coming New Year. As Jesus grew older he grew in wisdom and stature, and in grace before God and people (Luke 2:52), daily in discerning God’s gracious calling, choosing to be chosen. He calls us now to choose to be chosen in our daily lives.

Edward B. “Ted” Arroyo, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 12/29/17

Jesus Ordinary Life

In the last sentence of today's gospel, 17 words in all, we have an incredibly vague synopsis of what we know about Jesus life after his birth:  he lives with his family in Nazareth where he grew and increased in grace, wisdom, and knowledge. 

But it was growing up and living in Nazareth that He learned what human living, our life, was all about.  He shared in the joys, sorrows, travails and triumph of family life and love in a small, remote village.  He came to know his people, their traditions their heritage, their customs, their hopes and expectations, their dreams of a messiah.  He learned of the suffering and oppression of his people, their hatred of the Romans; their prejudice against foreigners, or non-Jews, especially the Samaritans.  And we should remember that it was a genuine family life in which Jesus grew up with brothers and sisters. Both the Gospels of Mark and Matthew indicate this and even give us his brothers' names: James, Joses (or Joseph), Jude and Simon. The sisters go unnamed.  

He learned almost all of this from Mary and Joseph, and also his relatives and friends and perhaps a local rabbi or priest. From Joseph he acquired a trade and worked at it quietly and unobtrusively most of his teenage and adult life. It seems that he suffered the loss and sorrow of Joseph's death, then he along with his brothers and sisters and Mary they took care of each other.

So this is the manner in which God brings Christ to the work of the Kingdom, living, learning and working with his family and villagers in Nazareth.  It is through his living and learning here that he comes to know of our joys and celebrations but also our human suffering and injustices, the strengths and weaknesses of his Jewish political and religious leaders.

I have had the privilege of talking with many people about their faith journey.  Some at times protest that they are just too ordinary to be holy.  They see the journey of their life far from the extraordinary life of Jesus. And so they sadly speak of what they called their "just" lives.  I'm just a mom.  I'm just an aunt. I'm just a business person. I am just a grandparent.  But for most of his life Jesus was "just" a carpenter in a little backwater town of Nazareth.  One scripture scholar describes his life up to now as "insufferably ordinary."

That is why his townspeople, family and friends were so shocked when he began his public ministry. And so they exclaimed, "Is this not the son of the carpenter?"

But in living his life in this manner Jesus reveals to us the inestimable value of ordinary time. During his time in Nazareth God fashioned him into "the instrument needed for the salvation of the world." In Nazareth Jesus speaks to the meaning and worth of our ordinary lives.

May we fully appreciate the importance and value of the ordinary lives God has given us.

-Fr. Jim Blumeyer, S.J.