2018 Retreat Program

A $100 deposit is required for all registrations. You can charge the deposit during registration or send a check to the Episcopal House of Prayer, PO Box 5888, Collegeville, MN 56321. When mailing a check to register, please send the name of the retreat, your name, mailing address information and e-mail address.

To register online, click on the retreat title link that interests you and you will be directed to make a deposit in registration for the retreat.  You can register for multiple retreats with a single credit card transaction or electric funds transfer from your checking account. 



2018 Retreats

NOTE: All programs begin with dinner at 6 p.m. on the first day and end with lunch on the final day, unless otherwise noted. Plan to arrive between 3-6 p.m. and leave after lunch on the final day, which is primarily a travel day. Ask about staying an extra night or more for individual retreat time. More general information about our retreats, including travel information, is available here.

Embodied Spirit:  Discovering the Whole Body Presence


Offered by Gary Barrett and Tom Darnall


Thursday, May 10 — Sunday May 13, 2018



The purpose of this retreat is to engage the participants in an experiential recognition of their integrated mind/body/spirit–their Whole Body Presence. Our explorations will include sessions of the ancient practice of Chi-Kung (Qi-gong), alternating with sessions which focus on mindful movement, release and relaxation techniques leading to the freeing of the restrictions and limitations we habitually impose on our psyche and our body. This freeing process opens us to a whole body presence. We offer this retreat in the spiritual context in which we “live and move and have our being.” – (Acts 17)

Tom Darnall is a retired Professor Emeritus of Theater from the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University.  Teaching the theater arts in a liberal arts context allowed Tom to emphasize the spiritual roots of theater.  He recognized that the extensive mindful somatic training required of the actor was a journey of what it meant to become fully human.  Throughout his career Tom studied with master teachers of a wide range of somatic practices, including the work of Alexander, Rolf, Feldenkrais, Linklater and others.  The integration of mindful movement, breath and sound establishes the premise that the quality of being determines the quality of any action.  The kinesthetic freeing of habits of restrictions and limitations that we all impose on our psyche and our bodies opens us to the presence of spirit in us all.  Tom has been involved with the House of Prayer since its inception and is a founding member of the Contemplative Body.

Gary Barrett has practiced classical Chinese T’ai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung for 28 years in central Minnesota. He has taught groups in St. Cloud, St. Joseph, Brainerd, and Alexandria, Minnesota, as well as worked with many private students.  Additionally, he has been a primary presenter and participant at the annual T’ai Chi retreat weekend Way In The Woods at Deep Portage Environmental Learning Center in north-central Minnesota for the past 20 years. He brings a deep commitment to the practice of contemplative mind-body work as a way to personal spiritual transformation. Gary is a member of the Contemplative Body and lives with his wife Brenda in St. Joseph, Minnesota.




Befriending Tension and Imperfection: Following the Journey of Henri Nouwen


Offered by Wil Hernandez


Thursday, May 24 — Sunday, May 27, 2018



Henri Nouwen believed that the true nature and texture of our spiritual journey is one of tension and imperfection – that the route to perfection is through the sobering realities of imperfection – something he has embodied throughout his life. Following his footsteps, we too can learn how to more meaningfully navigate life’s tensions and imperfections by embracing and befriending its reality, such that it redounds to our own ongoing transformation and that of others around us.

Wil Hernandez, PhD, Obl. OSB, is the founder and president of CenterQuest, an ecumenical hub for the study and practice of Christian spirituality (www.CQCenterQuest.org). A trained counselor, spiritual director and retreat leader, he regularly conducts retreats, workshops, and courses all across the U.S. and abroad focusing on the spirituality of Henri Nouwen who’s continuing spiritual impact he is committed to propagate. Wil is the author of a trilogy on Nouwen plus a recent release, Mere Spirituality: The Spiritual Life According to Henri Nouwen.  He also maintains a website dedicated specifically to Nouwen’s lasting legacy: www.nouwenlegacy.com.


Wisdom School 2018 – Entering the Darkness: Responding with Fierce Compassion


Offered by Diane Millis and Bussho Lahn


Monday, June 25 — Saturday, June 30, 2018



For this summer’s Wisdom School, we will explore the role of darkness on the spiritual path, both personally and collectively. Our aim is not to claim the light for ourselves, nor will we settle for easy answers or tidy endings. Rather, we will glean the wisdom to be found in the stories from sacred scriptures, contemporary spiritual writings, and our own lives. We trust that our willingness to engage humanity’s suffering ignites the transformative fire of grace. Each retreat day will consist of time spent in silent sitting, contemplative conversation, a contemplative art exercise, and a presentation by the facilitators.

Diane M. Millis, Ph.D., currently teaches at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, and leads retreats throughout the United States and Canada. One of her passions is developing contemplative communities. Through her work with Companions on a Journey and the Journey Conversations Project, she has helped adults of all ages and faith traditions cultivate their capacity to listen deeply within as they listen deeply to each other. She is a spiritual director and the author of Deepening Engagement and Conversation—The Sacred Art. To learn more about her ministry, visit www.dianemillis.com and www.journeyconversations.org.

Bussho Lahn is a Certified Spiritual Director, an ordained Soto Zen Buddhist priest, and a teacher at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and the Aslan Institute. He is grounded in contemplative spirituality, interfaith experience, addiction recovery, and shadow integration. He is experienced in pilgrimage and retreat facilitation, as well as public speaking on a variety of spiritual subjects. As a spiritual director, Bussho connects with and mentors those who wish to deepen an intentional and contemplative spiritual life. The connection between spirituality and psychology is the area Bussho explores with his clients, as well as encouraging and supporting their continued spiritual lives, regardless of their faith tradition. Bussho also teaches meditation, mindfulness, and the basics of Zen Buddhist practice and philosophy. He is thrilled to be once again working with the Episcopal House of Prayer.


Kenosis Retreat


 Offered by Ward Bauman


Sunday, July 8 – Sunday, July 15, 2018



Jesus, speaking of humanity, said, “I came that they might have life and have it fully.”

This full life is what every human wants. And it’s what we are seeking to find in all of our spiritual work at the House of Prayer. But to get real we must also quickly tell it truthfully. For Jesus also said, “The road to life is narrow and hard, and few find it.”

Still the crowds were adamant. They wanted the full life Jesus offered. And they came to him for it. Jesus cautioned them, “You who wish to be my followers must first deny your very self, take up your cross . . . every day, and then follow me.”

It is this path, the path of self-negation (KENOSIS in Greek) that is the path to life. So, we might call this retreat the Full Life Retreat, but to get there, we go by way of “dispossession,” so we do the hard work, the work of “self-emptying,” or “self-negation,” the work of Kenosis. This is the focus of this retreat.

This 8-day retreat, of course, isn’t for everyone. It is, however, for those prepared and ready. It is central and core work at the House of Prayer, meant for those who have already delved deeply into the spiritual path, having found their life practices and are grounded in them. We offer this retreat in support of a life-commitment to contemplative prayer and living.

Each day: will be in silence, foundational for deeper reflection and prayer.

There will be contemplative practices to support a reorientation to God.   We will offer primary teaching in support of those practices.

Time is also made for personal reflection, relaxation and open spaces.



Why eight days? Based on an ancient pattern, there are seven days in a week:  six for labor; one for rest. The eighth day is for the new creation!


Ward Bauman is an dained Episcopal priest and former Director of the Episcopal House of Prayer. He has traveled the world spiritually and physically.  He lived in Iran for many years where he studied Sufism and began his studies in Buddhism as well.  He has published a cookbook, Sacred Food for Soulful Living and The Anglican Rosary: Meditating with the Mystics.  He has co-authored, The Luminous Gospels: Thomas, Mary Magdalene, and Philip. He considers his spiritual mentor to be the great Christian German mystic Meister Eckhart. Working with people in the great spiritual dimensions of their lives is his motivation. He says that “spirituality is my shtick and life lived in fullness is my purpose.”



Mary, Mother of Jesus: A Woman for our Time


An Intergenerational Retreat for Women

(Participants are encouraged to bring a woman with you from another generation – or come on your own!) 


Offered by Emily Wilmer


Friday, July 27 – Sunday, July 29, 2018




What does Mary, Mother of Jesus show us about living in modern times?  Can she?  As we bring Mary out of the bright lights of Advent and into the ordinariness of daily life, we are invited to ponder three images – the reed flute, the bird nest and the chalice as windows into Mary’s experience, how her life can inform our experience as modern people, and how we, too, are invited to be Christ-bearers in the world.  Join other women as we slow down, share silence and song, poetry and prayer, and time for personal reflection.

Emily Wilmer has over 25 years of experience providing spiritual direction to individuals seeking spiritual growth and discernment in their lives.  She completed the two-year course in individual spiritual direction at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington, D.C.  She also trained with Lauren Artress in San Francisco in the facilitation of the labyrinth as a spiritual tool.  She is co-director, with David Keller, of Oasis of Wisdom: Institute for Contemplative Study, Practice and Living (www.oasisofwisdom.net) in Asheville, N.C., and is a licensed lay preacher in the Diocese of Western North Carolina.



More Than Words:  Encountering Jesus Life of Prayer and Ministry


 Offered by David Keller


Friday, August 10 – Sunday, August 12, 2018



Although Jesus of Nazareth was a devout first-century Jew, in the twenty-first century he is often lost in the thickets of Christian theology, reflection on the wisdom of his words, and the busyness of church life. At a time in the church’s life when “spiritual formation” has become a priority what can we learn from Jesus’ Jewish spiritual formation and its influence on his life and ours?   This retreat experience will explore Jesus’ life of prayer as a devout first-century Jew and the consequences of his prayer in his personal life and active engagement with society. It will integrate substantive academic presentations with contemplative prayer and discussion. It is designed for clergy and laity.

The Rev. Dr. David Keller has adapted this retreat from a graduate course he taught at the General Theological Seminary in New York and St. John’s School of Theology, Collegeville, MN. He is director of the Contemplative Ministry Project, which he founded with Fr. Thomas Keating, OCSO and Co-Steward, with his wife Emily Wilmer, of Oasis of Wisdom: An Institute for Contemplative Prayer, Study, and Living (oasisofwisdom.net). David is the author of Lord Teach Us To Pray: One Hundred Daily Reflections on Jesus’ Life of Prayer (2015), Oasis of Wisdom: The Worlds of the Desert Mothers and Fathers, Desert Banquet: A Year of Wisdom From The Desert Mothers and Fathers, and Come and See: The Transformation of Personal Prayer.


 Growing our God Images


 Offered by Mary Ellen Ashcroft


Friday, October 5 – Saturday, October 6, 2018



During this retreat we will explore how our god images must change as we reshape our broken stories within life’s realities. We will delve into our own life thresholds that have forced us to retell our stories. We will consider god images we’ve had to (or need to) abandon as we’ve outgrown them, as well as inviting a bigger god to fill those spaces. Mary Ellen will provide input on spiritual growth and god images, sharing from her new book OMG: Growing With Our God Images. There will be time for quiet, being outdoors, sharing and worship.

Rev. Mary Ellen Ashcroft, PhD, received her PhD in English from the University of Minnesota, and completed ordination requirements at Cambridge University where she was a fellow in The Centre for Advanced Religious and Theological Studies. She has written a number of books, including Dogspell and The Magdalene Gospel, which have been translated into a number of languages.  After many years as a literature and writing professor, Mary Ellen Ashcroft now lives in Grand Marais, where she is a writer, teacher, retreat leader, wilderness guide, spiritual director, leader of Spirit of the Wilderness Episcopal Church and grandmother. Her book, OMG: Growing With Our God Images will be published summer 2018.



The Silence, the Word, the Music, the Dance:  The Four Energies of Christianity


 Offered by Cyprian Consiglio, OSB Cam


Friday, November 16 – Sunday, November 18, 2018



This retreat will be based on the writings of Fr. Cyprian’s late confrere Bruno Barnhart and the writings of Raimundo Pannikar. Both were priests, scholars, proponents of inter-religious dialogue and teachers of deep wisdom. “All the wisdom disappears at a certain point, because we live in a world and an economy of faith. Wisdom seems to go down the drain on you. And then it recovers when you need it. … It also is the wisdom of the cross.” – Bruno Barnhart

Cyprian Consiglio, OSB Cam. is a Camaldolese monk, musician, composer, author and teacher. After his initial years of formation at New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, he lived in a hermitage near Santa Cruz, California for 10 years, spending about half his time at home, and half his time traveling, performing and teaching. Much of both his music and his teaching revolve around the Universal Call to Contemplation through spirituality and the arts. He has six collections of original music recorded and published through OCP Publications, and several independent releases, including those with his long-time collaborator, percussionist John Pennington. He is also a member of the Collegeville Composers Group, the ensemble responsible for the Psallite: Songs for Liturgy and Life project for Liturgical Press. A student of the writings of Bede Griffiths and Abhishiktananda, Cyprian has a great love for comparative religion, and has published two books Prayer in the Cave of the Heart, and Spirit, Soul, Body, both for Liturgical Press.  His books are based on wisdom culled from what he has gained from his studies, and numerous articles on spirituality as well as on music and liturgy. He has been to India numerous times as well as other countries in Europe, Asia, and the Mideast, performing as well as studying and teaching. Returning to New Camaldoli in 2012, he was elected prior of the community in 2013.


Coming Next Year!


A retreat on the Luminous Gospels offered by Matthew Wright


Rev. Matthew Wright is an Episcopal priest, writer, and retreat leader working to renew the Christian Wisdom tradition within a wider interspiritual framework. He serves as priest-in-charge at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Woodstock, N.Y. and is a teacher for Northeast Wisdom, a non-profit organization rooted in the contemplative teaching lineage of Cynthia Bourgeault.  Matthew lives with his wife, Yanick, alongside the brothers of Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, N.Y.