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The Ministry That’s Saving the Most Troubled Catholic Marriages


While the bishops’ synod in Rome continues to discuss issues related to marriage and family, many wonder how the Church can better serve married couples in the trenches—the people who struggle to stay together and make it through another year, month, day—the “poor families,” as Simcha Fisher called them in a recent piece for Aleteia.

Difficult marriages are nothing new, and neither are completely messed-up, on-the-brink-of-divorce marriages. But besides turning to therapy and prayer, most Catholics don’t know about a ministry that’s been helping to repair the most troubled Catholic marriages for more than forty years now: Retrouvaille.

Retrouvaille, a French word meaning “rediscovery” or “the finding again,” traces its roots to a married couple in Quebec named Guy and Jeannine Beland. In 1977 the Belands were a “presenting couple” at a World Wide Marriage Encounter retreat, a program designed to help nurture and strengthen Catholic marriages. They realized something more was needed for couples who were in serious trouble. They presented the first Retrouvaille weekend in Hull, Quebec, that same year, slightly revising the outline used by Marriage Encounter.

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