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The Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos: Connecting with God through Silence and Beauty

May 9, 2014 — Understanding that finding God is more achievable in a quiet, stress-free environment, the Jesuits have run The Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos - El Retiro San Iñigo in California since 1925.

When the California Province Jesuits decided to found a new retreat house in the early 1920s, they bought the property — a private home in Los Altos — on first sight. The first change: converting the billiards room into the chapel, where the first Mass was celebrated on March 15, 1925.

After World War II, 22 more acres were acquired, and today the Jesuit Retreat Center continues to offer prayerful solitude to retreatants on its 38 acres in the foothills above Los Altos.

“We have a very satisfying ministry here,” said Jesuit Father Bernie Bush, who has led retreats at the center for the past 20 years. “We have a very organized spirituality. We teach people to do what we do — help people find God.”

Los AltosThe center’s 84 rooms accommodate up to 101 guests, and a wide range of individuals and groups gather here with the same goal: to escape the pressures of everyday life and reconnect with God.

“It’s one of the very few places you can go where it’s so quiet,” said Dr. Tom Powers, the center’s executive director.

In recent years, the center has expanded its offerings to touch on modern issues and attract new participants, with retreats such as “God Gave Us the Computer, and Smartphone, and ….” and “GPS to Heaven.”

“People are dying for something significant in their lives,” Fr. Bush said.

With its beautiful grounds and scenic views, the retreat center’s life-enriching benefits are not taken for granted by the Jesuits.

“The physical beauty of the place is wonderful,” Jesuit Father Kevin Ballard said. “It’s hard to stay grumpy here.”  [Sources: The Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos, Los Altos Online





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