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1-Night Working Retreat on the Grounds of Ignatius House

February 24 @ 12:45 pm - February 25 @ 12:00 pm

Directed by Maria Cressler, MTS and Rob McDowell, PG.


The beautiful grounds of Ignatius House are an integral part of the retreat experience.  Help us care for our common home and the “outdoor chapel” as together we lend a hand to improve these forested acres. Experience the deep satisfaction of digging into the Earth with your hands, making it healthy and beautiful on a 1-night, non-silent, working retreat.


Following check-in at 12:45pm, we will gather in the Chapel for an opening prayer reflection at 1pm.  Then enjoy a guided afternoon of working on the property, tending the grounds of Ignatius House.  Freshen up for a 5pm Vigil Mass followed by dinner, and an evening prayer reflection with optional sharing.  On Sunday morning, after breakfast and prayer, we will again work together outside in God’s garden and close the retreat with a delicious brunch.  


‘Praised be You my Lord through our Sister, Mother Earth who sustains and governs us, producing varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.’


Maria G. Cressler, MTS, is the Executive Director of Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center and has served in this role since September 2009. She received a B.A. in Sociology from Georgia State University and a Master of Theological Studies and Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Spring Hill College. Her heart for Ignatian Spirituality has broadened the ministries of Ignatius House during her tenure to include programs from Spring Hill College, Hispanic retreats, teen and young adult retreats, an expansion of the Ignatian Spirituality Project serving the homeless, and efforts to help people of all lifestyles know they are children of God. Maria believes deeply that none are excluded from God’s love, in the benefit of interfaith dialogue, and in activities that encourage mutual understanding. Prior to Ignatius House, she served in pastoral and parish roles to lead programs such as prison ministry, Emmaus, Cursillo, RCIA, and JustFaith. These experiences continue to shape her deep desire to help others encounter God. Maria and her husband, John, minister together at couples retreats as well as at interfaith events.

Dr. Rob McDowell is an Assistant Professor of geology and environmental science at Georgia State University.  A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Rob has been encountering God in nature for his entire adult life.  He was honored to serve as co-author of the Archdiocese of Atlanta’s Laudato Si’ Action Plan, now being used by the dioceses of New Orleans, Boston, San Francisco, and Savannah.  From 2015-2021, Rob served on the Ignatius House Board of Trustees.  He is a Cursillista, and currently a lector at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta.

There is no charge for this retreat in appreciation for your support of our outdoor needs.





February 24 @ 12:45 pm
February 25 @ 12:00 pm
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Ignatius House
6700 Riverside Dr.
Sandy Springs, GA 30328 United States
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