Retreat Ministry Provides Spiritual Rejuvenation

Rev. Terry Deffenbaugh, O.S.A.

When I am asked how I got into retreat ministry my usual answer is "God has a sense of humor." I was at John Stone Friary (Chicago, IL) and in my second year of theological study at Catholic Theological Union. One of the priests stationed with us did Confirmation retreats in the Chicago Archdiocese. I happened to have the day off of school on a day that he was to do a retreat at a parish. He got sick with the flu, called me in my room and told me I had to go cover the retreat for him. I told him he was crazy. He just said take my notes and you will not only do well, but you will also love it. He was right. I then started to do some retreats for the Archdiocese as my ministry field experience.

For my diaconate year, I was at St. Ansgar in Hanover Park, Illinois. Fr. Jerry Riordan was instrumental in teaching me what it means to be a Parish priest; it was a very good year. As I approached ordination, Fr. Ray Ryan, O.S.A., who was Provincial at the time, called me in for a meeting to decide where I would be stationed. He told me that he saw my interest in both parish life and retreat ministry with teens. I told him that if you want me to do youth retreats, give it to me now because it takes a lot of energy. After ordination, I was stationed at Tolentine Retreat Center (Olympia Fields, IL) focusing on Teen Retreats. 

At Tolentine I was part of a larger retreat team. Although most of my work was with teens, I also started to do part of the parish missions. We also did a lot of weekend retreats. The Tolentine Center team developed many programs in parish leadership training, and spirituality, which helped me expand my retreat focus.

I have been doing full time retreat work since I was ordained in 1975. The latest development in my ministry is that I have started writing, and I now have five books published. I am looking forward to being in the retreat program our province is offering to our extended Augustinian family.

St. Louis Retreat

June 29, 2013
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Rev. Terry Deffenbaugh, O.S.A. will be leading a retreat open to the family and friends of the Augustinians at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Missouri. There is no cost to attend. For more information, please contact Becky Schmitt at (773) 595-4008
or To schedule a retreat with Fr. Terry, please call him at (708) 748-4801.

Retreats are also scheduled for Saturday, September 21 at St. Jude Parish (New Lenox, Illinois) and Saturday, November 23 at St. Turibius Parish (Chicago, Illinois).