One of the additions at Bandel since the Salesians took charge of the place is the Retreat House. Bandel with its calm and serene surroundings and the hallowed presence of the Virgin has a quiet attraction for those looking for some moments of tranquillity and encounters in the realm of the Spirit. Even before the Retreat House was established groups of people used to come to Bandel to make their annual Retreats.
Organisation and animation of spiritual retreats, especially for young people is an important aspect of the apostolate of the Salesians. Finding Bandel such an agreeable ambient for retreats, the Salesians naturally thought of turning Bandel into a Retreat Centre. Their intentions were strengthened with XIX General Chapter of the Salesians exhorted them to promote Retreat Centres more earnestly.
Accordingly a decision was made by the Provincial Council of the Salesians of Calcutta to construct a Retreat House at Bandel. They received personal encouragement from the Rector Major of the Society, Rev. Fr. Aloysius Ricceri. The Rector Major himself visited Bandel and blessed the Retreat House on 14th November 1968.
The Retreat House stands at the back of the Church at Bandel. It is a three-storey building and can accommodate up to eighty people. It has a beautiful Chapel besides the church at the Shrine, an Auditorium and a Spacious dining hall. Audiovisual aids, especially slides, videocassettes and super 8 films on Religious themes are available. The sprawling and tree lined campus provides a pleasant ambient for meditation and quiet relaxation. Priests at the Shrine and the adjacent Seminary are available when ever needed for spiritual counselling and Confessions.
The marble tablet commemorating the blessing of the Retreat House has these words inscribed on it: “Come away by yourself and rest a while” (Mk.6, 31). In the garden in front of the Retreat House stands a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with arms outstretched inviting all to come and experience peace and rest under the loving gaze of his Mother the Lady of Happy Voyage.