The Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Centre in Pickering, Ont. Photo courtesy of the Jesuits of Canada

Jesuits planning to close Manresa

  • February 23, 2024

The Jesuits Of Canada are planning to close the Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Centre in Pickering, Ont., after nearly 80 years of service to the community. 

In a release, the Jesuits state the decision was reached in late January on the back of recommendations of the spirituality commission of the Jesuit province and with the advice of the province consultors. The Jesuits announced their decision Feb. 22.

“This decision was made with a heavy heart and after much discernment, reflecting the Jesuits of Canada’s commitment to the responsible stewardship of the resources entrusted to us. It marks a step towards ensuring the sustainability and fruitfulness of our mission in the long term,” said Fr. Gilles Mongeau in the release. 

As a result of the impending closure, the Catholic retreat centre will no longer have access to the 21-acre property on Liverpool Road, effectively ending all weekend and day retreats for spiritual healing, as well as focused retreats for members of the Al-anon and Alcoholics Anonymous communities at the Pickering location.

The Jesuits say that Manresa is dedicated to continuing its ministry of preached retreats, while “carefully planning the transition of this vital work to Loyola House in Guelph over the next two-three years,” the same duration of time that Manresa Pickering will wind down operations. Currently, there is no further information available on the transition process from Pickering to Guelph.

There had been speculation of plans to move the retreat site earlier in the month. One group that caught wind before the announcement was Mundiregina Resources Canada, a company that has donated funds to many different Jesuit groups over the years, including a $250,000 donation to Regis College in 2010 for a Martin Royackers Lecture as well as upwards of $75,000 to the Martin Royackers Medical Clinic in Africa. 

Mundiregina CEO Jerry McCullough told The Catholic Register his group plans to raise money to acquire the property to continue what the Jesuits started, due in large part to his admiration for Manresa. 

“My dad was in AA in Toronto, so we went to Manresa back in the ’70s and ’80s because they would hold a lot of AA meetings on the weekends. Our family's been going there for a long time,” McCullough said. “I'm certain the Catholic community of the Toronto (area) needs to have a retreat centre, a place to pray, reflect, listen to the Gospel and have those two or three days of reflection.”

McCullough pointed to the example of the Villa Maria Guadalupe Retreat Center in Connecticut, a centre that was purchased by the Knights of Columbus and leased to the Sisters of Life, as a possible solution for saving Manresa. McCullough is hopeful that something can be done in the two-three year window that Manresa is using to pivot its operations. 

“If you've been to Manresa in the main hall you'll see all along the walls from the ’80s and ’90s plaques with different people, their names and where they're from. There's been a lot of people who've gone to Manresa for retreats, it's really been important for the community,” he implored.

Mongeau thanked the community of which Manresa was a staple, saying: “As we navigate through this period of transition, we feel a profound sense of sadness but also immense gratitude for the vibrant community that you have helped to build and sustain at Manresa. Your dedication, prayers and generosity have been the lifeblood of this sacred space.” 

Those looking to ask questions, voice concerns or share thoughts and memories can reach out to José Sanchez, at

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.