Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What about the silence?
A: Silence has always been a part of the Ignatian retreat tradition and we do ask all guests to observe this rule while on retreat with us. It makes the experience very peaceful and allows for great relaxation. Our first timer guests frequently end up listing this feature as their favorite part of the retreat experience! The silence goes into effect after the opening meal. We do offer an optional “fellowship hour” after dinner each night for those who wish to visit with friends, but those wishing to remain in silence can do so as well. If you need to talk, take a call, etc. that is completely ok. We simply ask that you step away to do so as to not disturb the experience of your fellow retreatants.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: White House has always operated on a free-will offering basis. There is no set fee or “suggested donation” amount. We require a non-refundable deposit to hold a space for you if you are not attending with one of the established parish groups. Beyond that, we simply ask retreatants to give what they feel they can as a donation at the conclusion of the retreat…and donation envelopes are collected anonymously on the final day. If you are unable to make a contribution, that is completely ok! We conduct various fundraisers throughout the year to help keep our doors open to all who wish to attend regardless of their financial situation. For your information only, our cost is approximately $375 per person for a 3-day retreat. Any amount given over $375 is tax-deductible.
Other events we host such as days of prayer do have modest set costs.
Q: What are the accommodations like?
A: Each retreatant receives a small, modest private bedroom in one of our dormitory buildings with their own sink, toilet and shower. Each room has a bed, desk and chair. All rooms are non-smoking. We have a snack machine and soda machines on site. Coffee, lemonade, water and ice are always available at no charge. You are welcome to bring snacks for yourself. We do have 1 refrigerator on site that is available for retreatants to use.
Q: What topics will be discussed?
A: All retreats at White House are based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. The director of your particular retreat will present a series of 10 talks over the 3 days, walking you thorough program in their own unique way. We do occasionally offer retreats for men and women in 12-step recovery programs as well as Military Veterans. These retreats do include more specific topics and might include small group break out sessions.
Q: What is the meal situation?
A: All meals are included. Meals are served family style at specific times in our dining room. Everybody gets the same thing. If you require a specific medical diet or have a food allergy we need to know about in advance so we can accommodate. Please call our office at least one week prior to your arrival to discuss. Beyond medically necessary diet requests, everyone receives the same meals, served family style. We are unable to make specific items based on likes & dislikes.
We do have a microwave and standard refrigerator available in the basement of Snyder Hall that the retreatants are free to use. If you will be bringing medication that needs to be refrigerated, this is where you can store it during yoru stay. We also have ice machines on site, coffee & tea. You are also welcome to bring any snacks that you’d like for yourself which can be stored in your room.
Q: Do I have to be Catholic to attend?
A: No. Everyone 18 and older is welcome to attend a retreat at White House.
Q: Do I have to attend with a group from my parish?
A: No. Some people like to attend with family or friends and others prefer to come when they don’t know anyone. You can attend anytime you’d like as long as we have space. If you are coming on your own and not with a parish group, we do simply require a $50 deposit. Call our office to check availability.
Q: Do you rent out your facility?
A: We do rent out our facility on occasion to area Catholic schools and parish groups. However we host our own retreats every weekend of the year from Thursday evening to Sunday afternoon. Any availability is typically Monday-Wednesday.
Q: Can I have my wedding/baptism at White House.
A: Unfortunately we cannot host weddings or Baptisms in our chapel.
Q: Do you provide any sort of transportation assistance for those traveling in from out of state?
A: Sorry, we do not.
Q: What if I have to cancel my reservation?
A: We understand that things come up at the last minute and plans change. We simply ask that you let our office know as soon as possible so that we can try to fill your spot. Often times we have people on a waiting list ready and waiting, so the more notice you can provide us, the better. If you paid a deposit, you can transfer your deposit to another retreat within 1 year as long as you cancelled in advance (all deposits are non-refundable). If you no-show, you forfeit your deposit.
Q: Can I just come and visit?
A: Our campus is open to visitors every Sunday from 3pm until sunset. You are welcome to walk the grounds, etc. during that time.
Q: Why is it called “White House”?
A: This is a very common question! The Jesuits purchased the property in the early 1920’s from the Christopher family (who the road we are located on is named after). They operated “White House Farms” on this property for years. There was a large white mansion on the property that was visible to the river traffic and the property just sort of became a landmark. When you said “White House” in this area, people knew the place you were talking about. When the Jesuits turned it into a retreat house they simply kept the name.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION is available on our Rules of Occupancy form. CLICK HERE.
If you have any additional questions, call our office Monday-Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm at 314-416-6400.