Retrouvaille aids troubled marriages - Catholic Courier

Retrouvaille aids troubled marriages

Retrouvaille, a program designed to help troubled marriages, will be presented in Rochester from 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, through 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22.

Retrouvaille — which means “rediscovery” — was begun in Quebec in 1977 and has since spread throughout the world. The program, which is open to couples of all faiths, emphasizes helping couples communicate and gain an awareness of themselves and of their relationship.

During a Retrouvaille weekend, three married couples and a priest give a series of in-depth presentations, with each one focusing on a specific area of a marriage relationship. Husbands and wives then reflect on and discuss each presentation by themselves in complete privacy.

“The weekend is not a spiritual retreat, not a sensitivity group, not a seminar, nor is it a social gathering,” notes the Retrouvaille Web site at “You will, however, be encouraged to put the past behind you and start ‘rediscovering’ one another again. The weekend is not a ‘miracle cure,’ therefore, post-weekend sessions have been designed to continue the marriage renewal begun on the weekend. These follow-ups review earlier concepts in greater depth, present new ones and help you apply these concepts to your own marriage.”

Eileen Cichello, who attends St. Joseph Church in Weedsport, credited Retrouvaille with helping her and her husband, Sam, heal their marriage. The couple are now presenters for Retrouvaille weekends, she added. Ten years ago, however, she said they were living as “married singles.”

“There were walls between us,” she said.

After participating in a Retrouvaille weekend, however, the couple found hope for their future, she said.

“We learned how to communicate with each other in ways we didn’t do before,” she said.

The couple renewed their vows to each other last year, she added, crediting the process begun by Retrouvaille for inspiring them to work harder on their marriage. Her marriage wouldn’t be the same without Retrouvaille, she said.

“We may have still been together, but I don’t think we would have been interested in renewing our vows,” she said.

Among the insights she gleaned through Retrouvaille were the lessons that loving and trusting one’s spouse were not feelings but decisions. She added that she also learned that “I can’t change my spouse. I can only change myself.”

The Retrouvaille Web site contains a number of similar success stories from couples who tried the program instead of giving up and separating or divorcing.

“We came to Retrouvaille thinking nothing would work, but it was the first time we really faced our problem as a couple and began to work on our marriage together,” one couple wrote. “We have been given another chance.”

In addition to the weekend, Retrouvaille consists of six four-hour follow-up sessions with Retrouvaille presenter couples, Cichello said, noting the sessions generally take place on Sundays.

For information on the location and cost of the upcoming program, call 800/470-2230 or 585/293-1552, or visit or All conversations are kept confidential. Financial assistance is available for any couple needing it to attend the weekend, and no couple is turned away for financial reasons, Cichello said.

Tags: Catholic Marriage
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