The silence of a silent retreat is not an end in itself and is not intended as an ascetical practice or as a penance but to enable you to get in touch with God and what is deepest within you.
As Christians we believe that God speaks to the heart of each individual, but we probably will not hear God's 'still small voice' if we fill our days with the noise and busy-ness. We can try to fill the emptiness within by the busyness without.
Therefore we encourage those on retreat to leave e-mails behind for a week and to switch off mobile phones. The silence gives you time to change and be different.
Most retreats are conducted in a prayerful silence both during the day apart from the daily meeting with your retreat guide. Most meals are in silence usually with some music. Participants are expected to remain silent around the house and respect the silence of others. This enables participants to move deeper into prayer and meditation. You may well find the silence a liberation and get very used to it after a couple of days.
You can let your relatives or friends know where you are and give them our contact number, and if there is a real emergency you will be contacted.