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Retreat Center

You would be welcome to visit a quiet, prayerful place in which the Spirit of God can touch the heart and move the soul.  We are a full-service retreat center with excellent meeting/conference rooms, private direction rooms, overnight facilities, dining hall and a Chapel; please see schedule for Mass times.  Our comfortable facilities and hospitable environment are set in 154 acres of wooded area along a river teeming with wildlife, songbirds, hiking trails and an awesome night sky.

Consistent with our Jesuit tradition and Ignatian heritage, we offer individual 8-day and 30-day directed, silent retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. We also welcome individuals and groups for their own private retreats of any length and offer a variety of additional preached retreats and other programs throughout the year. Our mission is to support and foster an active prayer life, a deeper conversion and relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

As a department of Creighton University, we serve Creighton students, faculty/staff and alumni. We also welcome all others seeking a place of rest or retreat, including religious, parishes, school groups, organizations and private individuals.

Thank you for visiting this site and may the Lord bless you always. Please contact us if we may assist with your retreat plans, answer any questions or serve you in any way.

Hands folded in prayer

The Retreat Center is hidden in God's natural setting just outside of Griswold, Iowa. (Located between Des Moines, IA and Omaha, NE off Highway 92.) The Center is blessed with many kinds of trees and full of a variety of birds throughout the year.

Guests are welcome to enjoy prayer time in the St. Kateri Chapel, outdoor Stations of the Cross, Crucifix Garden, Mary's Garden, and outdoor Labyrinth and the new outside Last Supper setting. 157 acres are covered with all-natural trails leading to the Nishnabotna River and back.

We offer 4 private, efficiency apartments for retreatants that include kitchenettes. Generally guests are responsible for their own meals.  These are simple, comfortable apartments with an open kitchen, dining, living room area, separate sleeping area and private bathrooms.

Fr. Bob Dufford, S.J. and our new Retreat Center Director, Kathy Kemler are available by appointment for Spiritual Direction guided with the Exercises of St. Ignatius. 

The history of CURC stands on two legs; that of the O'Donnell Center in North Omaha and that of the Wakonda House of Prayer in Griswold, IA. Whereas the citizens of Griswold are familiar with Camp Wakonda, the folks at Creighton know of the O'Donnell Center. CURC continues the spiritual tradition, forged at the O'Donnell Center, in the more spacious facilities in the woods at Wakonda.

Father Lavern Wingert

Father Lavern Wingert, (1927-1999), a parish priest of the Des Moines Diocese, purchased Camp Wakonda in 1978 from the Boy Scouts to establish what he envisioned as a spiritual hospital for those who needed inner healing. Although the property came with the original scout lodge (built in 1948), and the caretakers residence, Fr. Wingert built the log-sided buildings over a period of 10 years, to house his ever expanding program.  Fr. Wingert rented these facilities to various groups to support the place financially.  In 1994, Fr. Wingert decided the center was too large for him to handle in his declining years, and was interested in having Creighton University purchase the property, assured that Creighton would continue to operate it as a retreat center. Fr. Wingert retained 57 acres for himself, on the far western quarter of the property, selling to Creighton the remaining 154 acres, and buildings. (Fr. Wingert's land is now owned in private hands.)

Creighton University modernized and remodeled most of the buildings to suit our needs.  The center now can sleep 103 people comfortably in beds, and the lodge can accommodate an additional 70 people in sleeping bags. Our dining room and kitchen staff offer delicious meals to our guests, and as many can attest, the food here is a main reason groups want to come back year after year. The wooded acres, natures trails, and prayer gardens offer our guests a quiet environment in which to pray, surrounded by the beauty of God's creation. Few places so close to Omaha or Des Moines are as beautiful, peaceful, and accommodating as CURC.

For those interested in reading more history you may want to refer to a couple articles: the first on the founding of the O'Donnell Center in North Omaha, and the second on the establishment of Camp Wakonda in Griswold by the Boy Scouts of America.  We invite anyone who would have photos of the O'Donnell Center and/or of the old Camp Wakonda to share them to complement this historical web page and would appreciate alerting us to the existence of any photos that may be use. Contact the Director of CURC

Mass Schedule

Mass is celebrated in the St. Kateri Chapel. 

Regular Mass Schedule


10:00 a.m.


9:00 a.m.


5:30 p.m.


9:00 a.m.

Friday (if we don't have a group)

9:00 a.m.

Chapel Sanctuary

Contact Us

Creighton University Retreat Center
16493 Contrail Ave.
Griswold, IA 51535

Phone: 712.778.2466

Private retreats can be scheduled with or without direction sessions.
Before your arrival, please review these details about the Creighton University Retreat Center.