What we do

Our Mission

STIR (Spiritual Transformation in Recovery) offers transformative spiritual retreats to people who are experiencing homelessness or living in transitional shelters and seeking recovery from addictions. We invite them to encounter God’s love, hope and healing through spiritual companionship that reshapes lives and relationships.

photo of women retreatants from Ignatian Spirituality Project in Canada

What do we offer?

The STIR model is grounded in the belief that despite the ongoing support of social services, healing and transitioning from poverty and addiction requires inner resources so that different life choices are possible. STIR weekend retreats and follow-up spiritual companionship are created from a blend of Ignatian and 12-Step spiritualities and provide those transitioning from the streets with care for their interior and spiritual lives. It is an opportunity to take time away to reflect on and deepen their relationship with the God of their understanding, to gently name the places inside that need healing, and to bond with others on the journey. The STIR retreat is designed to be a safe place of trust and mutual encounter where ‘a window of vulnerability’ opens each participant to the possibility of personal transformation.

The retreat is provided at no cost to the retreatant and is designed to cultivate community, hope, and inner freedom. Each retreat is held at a retreat centre some distance away from the city, where the physical space and natural beauty are conducive to reflection and meditation.

As retreatants share stories of their personal journeys in the context of a supportive group, they experience a movement from isolation to a sense of belonging, a sense of being home. There is no preaching on a retreat, nor distinction made between “retreatant” and “facilitator”. Instead, all participants are together on a spiritual journey.

Alumni, those who have already experienced a retreat, are invited to offer witness to new retreatants and, subsequently, help facilitate retreats and provide ongoing spiritual companionship. This process offers the dual benefits of giving hope to those who still struggle to maintain sobriety, as well as empowering those who are further along in their recovery journey to become leaders on our teams, in our organization and in the larger community.

Whom do we serve?

STIR programs are designed for men and women in recovery from homelessness and addiction, who are invited through local support agencies. STIR participants are generally 3+ months sober, i.e. abstinent from alcohol and illegal substances. Individuals in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) are welcomed on a case-by-case basis.

The people being served on STIR retreats reflects the diversity of those living on the streets. Retreatants range from young adults in their 20’s to older adults, and are from diverse communities, cultures and backgrounds. Some have experienced abuse and trauma and have turned to alcohol and drugs to numb their pain. Some have fallen victim to the sex trade and human trafficking. We offer them an opportunity to recognize and reclaim their giftedness which empowers them to take positive steps toward the future.