Ruah Center at Villa de Matel is a ministry of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston, Texas. It is a place of silence, beauty, healing and hope, and is open to all who are seeking God.
What does Ruah mean?
Ruah cannot be translated by any single English word. It is a Hebrew word that sometimes indicates breath of life force, wind, the movement of air, or spirit. In Hebrew scripture “ruah elohim” is the creative wind of the Lord. We use circular shapes as symbols for Ruah. The circle was an ancient Christian symbol for God, community and the universe. Our circles are in motion, suggestive of T.S. Eliot's “still point in a turning world,” the silent center being God and the circular motion being our turning around and focusing on our creative center. In the east, the circle is a symbol of enlightenment.
For individuals and groups
Individuals who seek a few hours of prayer, a day of prayer, or a longer period of retreat are welcome. We encourage retreatants to meet with a spiritual director, especially if they do not have a regular director of their own. Groups who intend to give significant time to silent seeking and later sharing out of the silence are also welcome. We host many types of groups—Bible study groups, parish staffs, prayer/meditation groups, women's and men's groups,etc. Each member of a group will be expected to enter into solitude at intervals throughout the time at Ruah Center. Overnight facilities are available for both individuals and groups.
Each year Ruah offers two long (six- to eight-day) retreats. The flow of our retreats may vary a bit: some may include guidance in group gatherings, and others allow persons to visit daily with a spiritual director. Check our current online calendar for what we have coming up. We also offer two mini-retreats, beginning on Thursday at noon and ending after breakfast on Sunday. The mini-retreats are generally intended for those who are already receiving regular spiritual direction from someone on our staff. At times we may provide optional prayer opportunities such as art journaling, Tai Chi or yoga. Eucharist is celebrated daily at all retreats. Check our calendar link for 2013 retreats.
Centering Prayer Weekends
Regularly from Friday evening to Saturday evening, we host a Centering Prayer Weekend. Times of centering as a group are interspersed with free time in solitude, short conferences with directors and optional Eucharist. Call early to make your reservations! Check our calendar link for 2013 dates.
Ruah will offer Taizé several times a year in the Villa Chapel. The services begin at 7:30 on Friday evening, and are open to the public.
Visit our calendar for specific dates
Ruah Center sets no fee for our ministry. We ask that you apply 2 Corinthians 9:7, and give what you can.
“Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Words from our guests
“I would fly from anywhere for the prayerful silence you have created, nurtured and sustained in this place. Thank you for… space to enter deeply into the heart of Jesus.”
“We thank God for allowing us to be in His care and yours.”
“It is the place I am most a child…all rooms were alive with God's “magic.”
“The facility is everything one needs to renew a relationship with God.”
“Coming here is like stepping into another world—God's world!”
“Immediately when I entered this center I felt a peace and a freedom. I have never experienced such a beautiful day of quietly resting in the Lord.”
“I came in beyond bedraggled and left in peace and hope. Not bad for a 2 night stay! God is good and he works wonders at Ruah.”
“This is an amazing place where you can really feel God's love and presence all around. I am very teary-eyed to leave because I have felt so close to my Father. I have been a child sitting at my Father's feet, laughing, crying and learning.”
“I am leaving with a deeper sense of who God is and how He sees me. Thank you—you have blessed me with an eternal treasure!”
“Blessed are those who wait for Him, and blessed are those who provide a place to wait.”