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What is Men's Rites of Passage (MROP)?

Almost 20 years ago, Richard Rohr, Stephen Gambill, along with others created a retreat experience in the wilderness that came to be known as the Men’s Rites of Passage (MROP).  Tapping deeply into universal truths and practices, the MROP is now regularly offered in Australia, Germany, Great Britain, The Czech Republic, all over the United States, and new countries are being added.  Thousands of men have gone through this deeply transformative experience already, and the movement is growing.

Originally rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the MROP now also draws on poetry, stories, and wisdom teachings from all over the world.  Reflecting on practices men from many cultures have used for thousands of years to help men become better fathers, sons, elders, brothers, and lovers, the MROP draws a diverse group of men, who are united in their desire to be more authentic, more alive, and more connected.  At an MROP you’ll find liberals and conservatives, young and old, rich and poor, highly educated and those whose teachers were not found in books…you’ll find men from all over the country, from all manner of families, from all manner of spiritual and faith traditions.  You’ll find classic macho men and bookworms, pacifists and members of the military…in short…you’ll find an amazing cross section of society, all drawn by a sense of something more, some desire to go deeper and farther, some restless itch that wants more than what they’ve been given.

Speaking from the heart and listening from the heart are the two most important prerequisites in practicing the Way of Council. Being aware of how we communicate is also crucial. It helps to remember that 55% of what we convey in talking to another is determined by body language (posture, gesture, and eye contact), 38% by tone of voice, and only 7% by the actual content of what we say. We therefore need to listen for more than the words. That means paying careful attention to the other person, not trying to think of how we’ll respond. We have to avoid “rehearsing” while the other person is still speaking.


If we do this with focused attention and spontaneity, then anything we share, coming from the heart, can be profoundly healing. Once a Hindu master was asked by his disciples to summarize the truth he had been teaching through the years. “All I’ve done all my life,” he replied, “is to sit on the bank of the river, selling river water.” His gift was to invite people to see the value and wonder in what they too easily dismiss as commonplace in their lives. His stories were able to turn into mystery what everyone else took for granted. The most moving stories are taken from everyday life. In receiving them, we don’t have to stay in our heads, analyzing their content. Jack Shea, the Catholic theologian and storyteller, says that our first question on hearing a story shouldn’t be “What does it mean?” but “What am I feeling?”

The Men’s Rites of Passage (MROP) is an experience that awakens men to the adventure and mystery of their own belovedness, their masculinity, their deep spirituality, their potential for leadership, and the process of transformation. Over the course of 5 days of soulful experiences, men go through classic steps of male initiation through simple and moving rituals and teaching.  You’ll have plenty of time by yourself, out in nature, you’ll have time with a small group of brothers, and time with the larger overall group.

Men are asked to come with a willingness to participate from beginning to end and not as an observer.  Trust that this process, which has served others so well, will also meet you wherever it is you are in life, and help you move into wherever it is you need to go.  Most of the men who come, have little idea about what to expect, and have come based on a trusted friend’s recommendation that “you should really really do this.”  Others come because they are seeking for a transformative experience, and either through Richard Rohr or other people, stumble upon this event. 


Whatever drew you… you are welcome here.

Man Walking in Fields
The MROP is...
  • A personal discover about the masculine journey, especially for those in or entering their second half of life;

  • A time to savor the healing and awesome power of nature;

  • A process to address issues of loss, grief, and brokenness;

  • An opportunity to examine life's priorities and ask courageous questions about your next step;

  • An invitation to listen to the quiet voice of God;

  • A chance to return to life with a renewed energy and commitment to sharing your gifts;

  • Open to ALL men.

The MROP isn't...
  • A traditional, lecture-based retreat;

  • An informational workshop about men's spirituality;

  • A place where you'll be asked to buy a bill of goods or change your beliefs;

  • A threatening process that requires participatns to engage in anything unsafe, strange, secret, etc.;

  • A test of physical stamina.

The MROP is a program developed by Fr. Richard Rohr.

Illuman has been entrusted with maintaining the integrity and expansion of this work.

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