Days of Recollection

Fr. Nicholas Amato

Father Nicholas is a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and has been ordained 48 years. He has served over 20 of them as a pastor. Father is a graduate of the Shalem Institute and has done three-month sabbaticals in Rome, in Israel, and at Mepkin (Trappist) Abbey in South Carolina. He served as adjunct faculty at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington and also on the Spiritual Formation staff at St. Luke Institute in Silver Spring. He leads contemplative directed retreats at Mepkin Trappist Abbey in South Carolina, and was Executive Director of its Priest Wellness Program. In addition to his retreat ministry, he has published two books: Living in God’s Presence: Contemplative Prayer and Contemplative Action and this year, Moving from Stress to Joy. He has Masters degrees in Counseling and in Theology, and a Doctorate in Educational Management.


These are one day retreats given on select Saturdays. Each day runs from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM, costs $50 to attend and includes morning snacks, coffee and lunch.

The topics for each retreat follow:

Nurturing the Child Within Us - September 21, 2019

When we embody more of our real self and listen to the parts hidden deep within us rather than trying to eliminate these aspects of ourselves, our inner dialogues change spontaneously. The extreme voices within us calm down. They begin to feel good things: safer, lighter, freer, more open, more playful. When we listen to our parts rather than exiling or suppressing them, we do not have to work so hard and the parts are able to transform. On our day of recollection we will open ourselves to contemplative prayer as a way of achieving full awareness and inner calm to look at these hidden parts of ourselves and allow them to speak. This can be an energizing state affording us the grace, by the end of the day together, to feel connected to something much bigger than we are, namely, who we are in God.

Glimpsing God in Our Dark Nights - November 9, 2019

How and where do we sense the hidden work of God birthing love in the darkness? In the midst of confusion and unknowing, both at the personal and societal levels, what glimmers of star shine guide us? Psychiatrist and spiritual writer, Gerald May, reminds us that the “Dark Night” is a profoundly good thing — a place within where a deep transformation happens mysteriously and gives meaning to life. On our retreat, we will experience the thin veil between the worlds that allows the grace of the Spirit to touch us with hope and courage, when we feel afraid and alone. We will be invited to make or renew a commitment to contemplative grounding in the midst of the Dark Night. We gather to walk with each other in deep wonder and attentiveness to glimpses of the Divine.

Preparing for Holy Week - March 28, 2020

We have often heard that the Paschal Mystery draws us into the death and resurrection of Jesus. How can that reality, that promise, be part of our experience and not simply a part of our intellectual belief? Each day of Triduum is a different lens through which to experience the Paschal Mystery unfolding in our lives. Holy Thursday’s liturgy has us experience the power of memory. Good Friday, the portal of pain. Finally, Holy Saturday, opens the possibility for a new perspective of belief. Plan now to join us for this one-day retreat as the perfect preparation for the Sacred Triduum. It will not only contribute to a “holy week,” but may well be a personal transformation.

Emotions: Portals to the Real You - May 16, 2020

Our emotions are a great gift. Because they may differ from one person to another, and because it is precisely me who is feeling the emotion, they are unique states that put us in touch with who we are. They add zest and vitality to life and they can also cause us stress and inner turmoil. The all-important question becomes, “How do we maximize emotions that are life giving and how do we manage those that are not?” Understanding, owning, and managing our emotions can cause them to heal. In our day together we will experience the power that contemplative prayer can have in this managing, and learn the commonalities among people who heal from their emotional wounds and pain. Concrete reflections and tips, together with prayer, will offer participants opportunities to heal and experience a deeper sense of self.