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:

  • Tongues as of Fire Retreat directed by Fr. Bob Dufford, S.J. scheduled for May 19-20, 2017
    • St. Ignatius of Loyola invites us to use our imagination while praying with Holy Scripture, to picture a particular biblical scene as if we were standing right there; what do I see, hear, smell, etc.? During this retreat, based on spiritual exercises from St. Ignatius, Fr. Bob will use specially composed instrumental music and text to help retreatants enter into moments of the life of Jesus.  Please bring your iPod, iPad, MP3 player or computer and earphones or earbuds.  This retreat is open to all however space is limited; register soon.   

    • Website Link:


  • 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:

  • Armchair Mystic: Five Week Prayer Experience - Begins July from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

    • 5-Week prayer experience using the book Armchair Mystic by Mark Thibodeaux, S.J. Fr. Thibodeaux incorporates many forms of prayer, meditation and reflection to take us though stages of maturing in prayer as we participate in daily exercises and reflections that provide us with opportunities to grow deeper in our relationship with God.

    • Participants commit to daily prayer and meeting together as a group on Wednesdays, July 12th, through August 9th from 6 to 7:30 pm. Cost: $40, which includes all materials. On-line registration at and click on Upcoming Events. Registration is limited to ten in each group. For more information please call Cindy Shaw at 515-282-4839.

  • Ignatioan Retreat Day - "“Renewing Your Life’s Passion: A New Approach to Magis in the Spiritual Exercises” - directed by Tom Elliott - July 15 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

  • Godly Responses to Ungodly Situations - Sunday, July 16 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

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