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Retreat Center

The Creighton University Retreat Center is a full-service retreat facility set on 150+ acres of wooded area, about 45 minutes east of Creighton's main campus in Omaha. We offer a variety of retreats for groups, as well as guided multi-day retreats for individuals. 

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, alumni, and faculty/staff.  We also welcome all others seeking a place of rest or retreat, including religious, parishes, school groups, organizations, and private individuals.

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 various 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. Over 150 acres are covered with all-natural trails leading to the East 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 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 caretaker's 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 150 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 of 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.

If you have any photos of the O'Donnell Center and/or of the old Camp Wakonda, please share them with us to complement this historical web page. We would also appreciate you alerting us to the existence of any photos that may be used. Contact the Director of CURC at

Mass Schedule

Mass is celebrated in the St. Kateri Chapel. The public is welcome to attend these masses. 


Regular Mass Schedule

MondayNo Mass
Tuesday9 a.m.
Wednesday5:30 p.m.
Thursday9 a.m.
Friday9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m
(Please call a day ahead to verify, this is due to retreat activity taking place on Fridays.)
SaturdayNo Mass
Sunday10 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.