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The First Fifty Years
Founded in 1959, Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House has been continuously administered by the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus. The non-profit corporation has a Board of Members consisting of three Jesuits from the New Orleans Province. The Board of Members appoints the Board of Trustees which includes lay persons and consecrated religious. The Trustees cooperate with the Director of Montserrat to shape policies and practices according to the Mission Statement. Trustees also help manage business and financial affairs.
Since 1959, during a half-century of change in Church and world, Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House has maintained its charter as a place of silent prayer . From the beginning, Montserrat has set out to find and enable lay people eager to continue their own spiritual formation and to help others in their spiritual life. Through the years, over 90,000 persons have walked and learned and prayed and found their way to God at Montserrat.
Growth, of course, means change and of that, there has been plenty during the past fifty years. Only men came at first, then, quickly, women as well. Only Catholics came at first; then, after Vatican II, other Christians. Only the weekend retreat at first; now, groups come for days of prayer and individuals come for quiet. Only the Ignatian Exercises at first; now, in addition, many other exercises as ignatian spirituality inspires other formats. Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House, however, keeps its core competency: passing on to the local Church, particularly to the laity, the spirituality for the home and marketplace that comes from the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola.