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:

  • 8 Day Silent Ignatian Retreat July 21-30, 2016  
  • Couples Retreat directed by Jesuit Father Larry Gillick is scheduled for February 3-5, 2017. 


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.


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 Acrea


West Des Moines, IA

Msgr. Steve Orr

Our Lady's Immaculate

Heart Parish

Ankeny, IA

Kathy Quinn

Des Moines, IA

Father John Bertogli

St. Ambrose Cathedral

Des Moines, IA 

Father David Smith, SJ

St. Mary/Our lady of Fatima Parish

Portsmouth, IA

Kathy Regan

St. Patrick Parish

Imogene, IA

Msgr. Frank Chiodo

St. Anthony Parish

Des Moines, IA

Sister Joyce Rupp, OSM

Des Moines, IA

Deb Richards

St. Mary of Nazareth


Des Moines, IA

Father Rober Dufford, SJ  Creighton University

Omaha, NE

Sister Virginia Jennings, OSF

SS John Paul Parish

Altoona, IA 

Cindy Shaw 

Emmaus House/

Holy Trinity Parish

Des Moines, IA

Father Wayne Gubbels

St. John Parish

Adel, IA

Barb Bennett

Our Lady's Immaculate Heart Parish

Ankeny, IA

Marcie Sheaff

Our Lady's Immaculate Heart Parish

Ankeny, IA

Father Raymond Higgins

All Saints Parish

Stuart, IA 

Amy Hoover

Creighton University Retreat Center/Our Lady of Grace Parish

Griswold, IA 

Mayra Udelhofen

Our Lady's Immaculate Heart Parish

Ankeny, IA

Father Daniel Krettek  

Emmause House/St. Mary

Holy Cross Parish

Elkhart, IA 

Eileen May

St. Thomas Aquinas Parish

Indianola, IA


Father John Ludwig

St. John the Apostle Parish

Norwalk, IA

Sue Oehlerking

St. Francis of Assisi Parish

West Des Moines, IA