The Diocese of Des Moines


   In the words of our Holy Father Pope Francis “Those who live a retreat in an authentic way experience the attraction and fascination of God and return renewed and transfigured in their daily lives, their ministry, and their relationships.” Therefore it  is my pleasure to invite the people of the Diocese of Des Moines to explore the great  treasures that are our three retreat centers and the opportunities that they provide. As  we prepare to enter the season of Lent, I also present this list of our many well trained  priests and lay people who offer spiritual direction in our Diocese. Please consider  taking part in their precious and irreplaceable ministry as you embark on your Lenten  journey.


 Sincerely yours in Christ,

 The Most Reverend Richard E. Pates

 Bishop of Des Moines





The Creighton University Retreat Center fosters an  active  prayer  life, allowing for deeper conversion and relationship  with our  Lord   Jesus Christ. Consistent with our Jesuit tradition and Ignatian  heritage, we offer individual and group

     • Retreats and spiritual direction based on the Spiritual Exercises  of St. Ignatius

     • Five, eight or 30-day directed retreats, or private retreats

     • Weekend retreats for men, women and couples

     • Facilities for large or small conferences

     • Parish confirmation retreats



The Creighton University Retreat Center is a full- service center for all wishing to retreat.  It is set in 153 wooded acres teeming with wildlife, song birds, miles of hiking trails and an awesome night sky. In this quiet setting you can find yourself and God while communing with the wonders of nature. It is a place in which you can respond to the Lord’s invitation to “Come away and rest for a while.”

   • An assortment of private and double rooms with accommodations for more than 100 people

   • Several apartments and a guest house with cooking facilities

   • Spacious dining hall serving wonderful home-cooked meals

   • Beautiful and scenic chapel for private prayer and celebration of liturgies

   • Numerous prayer gardens and statues on the grounds


Upcoming Events at the Crighton University Retreat Center:

  • Circle of Life Retreat; Journey Through the Seasons directed by Sr. Joyce Rupp, OSM and Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB is scheduled for October 27-29. 2017.
    • Using the seasons as a backdrop for your prayer, Sr. Joyce Rupp, OSM & Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB will encourage you to find your personal stories hidden in the life-giving spirit of these four emerging transitions:  Spring, blossoming and new beginnings; Summer, fruitfulness and passion; Autumn, harvesting and fruitful dying; Winter, nurturing the seed in the holy darkness of your being.  The retreat begins with supper at 6pm on Friday, October 27 & end at 4pm on Sunday, October 29th.  

    • Website Link:


  • CURC Sponsored 8-Day Silent Ignatian Retreat directed by Fr. Bob Dufford, SJ and Amy Hoover is scheduled for September 28-October 7.
    • The 8-Day Directed Ignatian Retreat is based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola which has profoundly influenced the lives of countless people since the sixteenth century.  There are as many reasons to go on this retreat as there are people who attend it.  Some of the reasons others have made this retreat include: wanting to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ, desiring to spend quality time in prayer and reflection, wanting to learn more about your self in relationship to God and to others, preparing to make a significant decision, and responding to the movement of the Spirit. 

    • Retreat directors will be our staff, and if needed other directors from within the Creighton Community.  Once a year we try to offer an 8-Day retreat package that includes all meals. 

    • The packaged rate is $730 and we do ask for a non-refundable deposit of $50 to confirm your reservation. 

16493 Contrail Ave.~ Griswold, IA 51535-4296 ~ (712) 778-2466



The St. Thomas More Center serves the Diocese of Des Moines by offering retreats and a host facility for youth and young  adults.


We offer or host retreats for middle school, high school, and young adults as they grow to become joy-filled missionary disciples of    Christ.


New to this year we are introducing Charis Ministries which  presents short 12-24 hr. retreats for young adults.


As Christ habitually went up the mountain to pray before many of  His pivotal life events, we are called to regularly seek the Lord in silence and solitude.  Please visit our website to see all that the St Thomas More Center offers.


 “I think that if any good thing shall go forward, something must be adventured.” -St Thomas More


6177 Panorama Rd. ~ Panora, IA 50216 ~ (515) 309-1936



The Emmaus House is a place for silence and solitude, spiritual  renewal and prayer. It is located near downtown Des Moines, and offers  an oasis of quiet in the midst of the busyness of daily life.


The model for the ministry of Emmaus is the disciples’ encounter with the Risen Christ on the road to Emmaus in Saint Luke’s gospel.


Through  their personal conversation and discussion of the scriptures along the  way, and in the breaking of the bread at table, their eyes were opened  and they recognized him (Luke 24:32). The stillness of the house offers  the opportunity for prayer and reflection on our relationship with God.


Trained spiritual directors, Fr. Dan Krettek and Mrs. Cindy Shaw, are  available for spiritual direction, directed retreats and to serve as a  resource for days of reflection and renewal, both at the house and at other locations. Eucharist is celebrated at Emmaus House every Tuesday and Friday at noon, and all are welcome to participate.

Upcoming Events at the Emmaus House:

  • Ignatian Retreat in Everyday Life - Begins September 26, 2017 through May 8, 2018

    • Do you desire to know God? Not just know about God, but know God?  Many of us sense that something is missing in life; that we want more out of our faith.  We might work hard— participating in bible studies and faith formation groups, volunteering constantly, giving generously, etc, but oftentimes we don’t feel that connection between our faith life and our everyday, “rubber meets the road” life. We might not feel or experience God in a tangible way. Have you experienced these feelings or longings? If so, the Ignatian Retreat In Everyday Life (R.I.E.L.) might be the retreat for you!

    • This thirty-two week Retreat in Everyday Life offers the opportunity to see where and how God “breaks through” into our busy, daily lives so that we might  grow in knowledge of both ourself and God; grow in an intimate relationship with God. 

    • The retreat offers scriptures, reflections and questions to use in daily personal prayer to help us more readily recognize and hear the many ways that God personally communicates with us. In addition to committing to daily prayer (at least 30 minutes), the retreatants participate in a weekly group meeting and twice monthly private spiritual direction.

    • The fee for this thirty-two week retreat is $400, (with the option of 8 monthly payments) and a one time fee of $25 for books and materials. A limited number of partial scholarships are available to those who demonstrate  a need.

    • Spiritual Direction with a trained spiritual director is $60 a month, which covers both monthly direction sessions and is paid directly to your spiritual director.

    • If you feel that this is the right time for you to live this experience please contact Cindy Shaw at 515-282-4839.

  • Emmaus on the Road - for locations see below

    • Familiar with the story of  Emmaus?  Emmaus House (Spirituality Center) received its name from Luke's  story of the disciples' encounter with Jesus on the Road to Emmaus in the Gospel of Luke, (24:13-35). It was on this road, as they traveled to the town of Emmaus after Jesus' death, that  these travelers listened to "Jesus unaware", and noticed that  their "hearts burned within them" at this seemingly ordinary encounter with this seemingly ordinary man.

    • Emmaus House Spirituality Center has tweaked this a bit with even more opportunities to notice Jesus' unaware  as we  as we now offer Ignatian spirituality "On The Road"!  This past  spring we piloted our Emmaus On the Road  as we offered our Ignatian based Lenten prayer experience to various parishes in the central diocese of Des Moines. Because of the positive responses we are expanding these offerings  and are excited to announce that the Ignatian Retreat In Everyday Life, as well as upcoming Advent and Armchair Mystic prayer experiences, are going out to parishes throughout the central diocese!

    • Check below for  parishes currently scheduled to participate in various Emmaus On the Road offerings. We have included a link to the parish websites, but you can also check this Upcoming Events page and our Blog for more information. Let us know if your parish would like to be a part of Emmaus On the Road! 

      • Praying Advent, a four week prayer experience:

        • St. Kate's, (St. Catherine of Siena Parish and Student Center at Drake)

        • St. Mary Nazareth Parish in Des Moines

        • St. Francis Parish in West Des Moines

      • Easing Into Prayer, (Armchair Mystic), a five week prayer experience:

        • St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Indianola

1521 Center St. ~ Des Moines, IA 50314 ~ (515) 282-4839


Full brochure with the three retreat locations & spiritual directors in the Diocese of Des Moines click here. Upcoming retreat opportunities 2015 click here.


Spiritual Directors in the Diocese of Des Moines

Spiritual Direction is help given by one Christian to another, which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship. To speak with a Spiritual Director please contact John Gaffney, Director of the Department of Evangelization & Catechesis Office, at 515-237-5026 or


Father John O. Bertogli

St. Ambrose Cathedral

Des Moines, IA 

Sister Joyce Rupp, OSM

Des Moines, IA


Kathy Regan

Serving SW Iowa

St. Patrick Parish

Imogene, IA


Father Robert Dufford, SJ

Retreat.Center.Creighton University

Griswold, IA  (Priests Only)

Sue Oehlerking


West Des Moines, IA


Deb Richards

St. Mary of Nazareth    Parish

Des Moines, IA

Msgr. Steve Orr


Ankeny, IA

Father Wayne Gubbels


Harlan, IA


Cindy Shaw 

Emmaus House/

Spirituality Center

Des Moines, IA

Sister Virginia Jennings, OSF

SS John & Paul Parish

Altoona, IA 


Barb Bennett

Our Lady's Immaculate

Heart Parish

Ankeny, IA


Amy Hoover

Creighton Retreat Center

Our Lady of Grace Parish

Griswold, IA


Marcella (Marcie) Sheaff, MA


University/ St. Catherine of Siena

Des Moines, IA


Eileen May


Indianola, IA

Myrna Udelhofen

Our Lady's Immaculate

Heart Parish

Ankeny, IA


Father Daniel Krettek  

Emmaus House/St. Mary

Holy Cross Parish

Elkhart, IA