Faith Formation

The primary goal of our programs is supporting and assisting what St. Anselm of Canterbury called “faith that seeks understanding.”  

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They help you significantly:

  • To learn about the mysteries of our faith and to grow into a deeper understanding
  • To celebrate the mysteries of faith individually and as part of the local and world-wide Church
  • To live your faith by sharing in Christ’s death and resurrection on a daily basis in your everyday surroundings
  • To grow in your relationship with God by learning and practicing various forms of prayer

Some of the programs, therefore, are dedicated to Biblical or catechetical themes. Others provide assistance with celebrating your faith fully, actively and consciously in keeping with the liturgical seasons of the year. Again others focus on the growth of virtues in your life, that is, attitudes that are in keeping with those of Jesus. Or they present a saint or saintly person who vividly shows us how to live the gospel. Finally, some programs are about prayer, which is our umbilical cord to heaven. Like a fetus in his/her mother’s womb depends on the umbilical cord for survival, so we need prayer in order for our soul to live.

Personal Retreats & Growth

Do you wish to know God? Learn first to know yourself.  Evagrius Ponticus, an early Christian monk (345-399 AD) wrote this sentence.  A number of our programs at St. Benedict Center aim at helping you to know and understand yourself better.

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Using the method of journaling, seeking inner healing for wounds caused by our family of origin or our current family system, and dealing with loss and transition in one's life are some of the topics that are addressed periodically.

Other programs invite you to develop the creative side of yourself. The glory of God is the human person fully alive, Saint Irenaeus (+ c. 202 AD) wrote. Look for retreats and workshops that are conducive to the integration of your mind, heart and body. All of these programs have also the spiritual aspect of our journey in view.

Contemplative Prayer

As my prayer became more and more devout and interior, there was less and less I had to say.  Finally I became completely still. I became — this is perhaps an even greater contrast to talking — I became a listener. (Søren Kierkegaard)

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Contemplative prayer is praying in the stance of listening. It is the opening of mind and heart—our whole being—to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words, and emotions. In contemplative prayer we divest our minds of all thoughts and images in order to receive the pure and simple light of God directly into the summit of our souls. On this way of prayer, we simply hold ourselves out to God, and open ourselves to the working of the Holy Spirit within us. St. Paul says in his letter to the Romans that the Holy Spirit prays within us. In us, God is at work before we even start to pray. “We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings” (Rom 8:26). The prerequisite of all our spiritual activity is God’s initiative. In contemplative prayer, we move out of the way with our own limited ability of thinking, trusting in the work of the Holy Spirit within us, the great transformer, who enlightens our mind, strengthens our will, and fills us with the fullness of God, as we profess in the Sequence hymn at Pentecost. By letting go of all our thoughts that come to our minds, we can support the Holy Spirit’s work in us. During this letting go of our thoughts, we may trust completely in the transforming power of the Divine love within us. Meister Eckhart, the 14th century Dominican and Rhineland mystic was right when he said, “Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.”

Guided / Directed Retreats

Is God inviting you to spend some quiet time in prayer and reflection? Would you like a place and direction to help you with this desire? On a guided directed retreat, you will meet individually every day with one of the retreat directors.

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The retreat director will help you as an attentive listener and with his questions and comments to reflect about your life before God. At the same time, you will have the experience of a retreat group, of others who are seeking silence together with you. Attending the conference for which the group gathers every evening is optional. In the conferences, the retreat directors address basic forms of spiritual practice. Also, you will have the opportunity during the retreat to join the monks at Christ the King Priory for daily Mass and the praying of the Psalms in the Liturgy of the Hours. You will have ample time to enjoy the Center with its beautiful grounds and artwork. Massages will be available for an added fee.

Marriage Retreats & Programs

One recent retreat weekend for married couples at St. Benedict Center was titled, Marriage GPS... Navigating the Roads of Married Life with Confidence! A GPS is a kind companion. It shows us the road that we need to take. It provides a roadmap for us.  It talks to us, tells us what to do and where to turn.

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And, best of all, it never gets impatient and angry. When we’ve missed our turn or taken the wrong one—how does it react? “Recalculating!” It never gives up on us. That’s the way it is with God. God is our Good Shepherd, providing nourishment, green pastures, for us and rest, beside still waters (cf. Psalm 23). He guides us securely, patiently, and with never ending faithfulness, even when our paths lead through dark valleys. This fidelity of God makes fidelity of spouses toward one another possible and acceptance of each other, for better for worse, in good times and in bad. An element of a well oriented marriage is good communication and spending quality time with each other.

Another component is the willingness of the spouses to forgive one another and the ability to reconcile differences. A spiritually grounded marriage gives life, in the spousal relationship itself, in openness to children, in relating to the extended family, to neighbors, to the parish community and to the world. Finally, a crucial element is prayer, which is, so to speak, the connecting of the GPS with the satellite from which it gets its signal. Without personal and communal prayer, we lose orientation. - On the flyer promoting the retreat, a graphic was used showing a GPS that is leading the user to Church Street; it has the user turn there. This tells us: God guides each of us individually; and God shows us the way to the Church. We need Christian community, the parish, also the world-wide Church. And married couples need each other and their children (if they have children) for the formation in their faith. They are meant to form a domestic church.

For an impression on the work of Jim and Maureen Otremba, who present marriage retreats at St. Benedict Center, please visit:

Family Programs

So much happens in the lives of adolescents: Puberty begins and physical growth happens; the ability to think develops; teens seek greater independence and begin to prepare for adult roles. This time of transition is difficult for teens and challenging for parents.

A father’s active presence is crucial for his son’s human and spiritual development during this time. Our annual father-son retreat provides opportunities for open communication in the context of faith between fathers and their pre-adolescent and adolescent sons, and offers assistance to fathers in fostering their sons’ growth into mature manhood. Website: Fathers and Sons--Together Forever


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Our annual mother-daughter retreat provides opportunities for mothers and daughters to deepen their communication, which is essential for growth into mature womanhood. The retreat helps connect faith, relationships and healthy loving in ways that are rooted in gospel teaching and relevant today.

Saturday Programs

While many of our retreats involve an overnight stay, others are one-day programs that typically take place on Saturdays.  If you find it difficult to get away for a longer retreat, if perhaps you cannot find babysitting for your smaller children for a whole weekend, you may still be able to attend such a day program. 

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These retreats or workshops, which cover a wide variety of topics, start at 10.00 a.m. and close at 4.00 p.m.; registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

Please bring your own sack lunch. However, lunch is available at the Center, if you pay for it before the program starts.

Theatre & Music

Have you ever prayed with a gospel passage and imagined that you were there and were one of the persons in the story? We do this every year with the stories surrounding Jesus’ birth in the gospels and then compose a Christmas Pageant.

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The Teens of Divine Mercy Parish, Schuyler, consider it as a special ministry to act out the story. The pageant takes place in our St. Benedict Center chapel. Afterwards, hot chocolate, cider and coffee,and homemade Christmas cookies are offered in the St. Benedict Center dining rooms. For two weeks each year in early December, a wide variety of crafts and gifts made by about fifty area artists is on sale at St. Benedict Center. The Center is very beautifully decorated for the season; and numerous nativity scenes from around the world are on display.

On occasion, other theatrical performances and musical events take place at St. Benedict Center. The performing arts can be a wonderful way of giving glory to God.

Private Retreats

Treat yourself or someone you love to a private retreat in the serene beauty of St. Benedict Center and:

  • Take time for private prayer

  • Search your heart and inner self

  • Spend time with the Lord in the Adoration Chapel

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  • Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you as you seek to hear the Lord
  • Seek guidance from one of the monks
  • Study Scripture
  • Check out reading material in the Solarium/Library
  • Be inspired by artwork from around the world
  • Enjoy the peaceful, beautifully landscaped surroundings
  • Walk and pray the outdoor Way of the Cross
  • Join the monks for Mass and prayer times
  • Rest in a comfortable, modern room

Spiritual Direction

  • Do you have the desire to grow in your relationship with God?

  • Is there a major life choice for which you need help with discernment?

  • Are there struggles, losses, or joys in your life about which you need to talk with someone?

If your answer is 'yes' to any of these questions, spiritual direction might be helpful for you. During your meetings with the spiritual director, you become more attuned to the movement of God's Spirit in your life.  If you prefer a Guided/Directed Retreat or a Silent Directed Retreat (group retreats with individual daily spiritual direction sessions), please visit our retreat schedule.

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Although there are some similarities to psychotherapy and counseling, the primary difference is that the focus of spiritual direction is on a person's relationship with God. Spiritual direction has its roots in Holy Scripture and was practiced in the Church from the very beginning. From the fourth century on, people frequently sought spiritual guidance with the early Christian monastics in the deserts of Egypt and Palestine.

A spiritual director is a companion who helps us note and name the presence of God's grace in our lives, but also to explore areas of darkness that keep us from responding to God's desire for us. Other topics in the conversations are the various spiritual practices through which the directee remains open to God's guidance. People who seek spiritual direction are committed to personal prayer and seek to grow in their prayer life. They are willing to let go of their own plans for the sake of God's plans and to become disciples of Jesus with an undivided heart.

Various monks of our community offer the service of spiritual direction. The suggested donation is $25 per session.

Time for Yourself

So often people tell us how much they enjoy being away from all the stresses and distractions of everyday life during their stay at St. Benedict Center.  A person doesn’t have to think of cooking or other household chores.  Plus, a person has distance to phones, email and social networking.  Cellphone service is only available in the lobby.  

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On the other hand, if somebody needs to reach you while you are here, they can call the phone number of St. Benedict Center, 402-352-8819, and we will get the message to you. Wi-Fi is available throughout the building.

Take a day off and treat yourself with some alone time in the beautiful and prayerful environment of St. Benedict Center! Come to the Center for a quiet day or several quiet days. Enjoy the quiet outdoor spaces for solitude, reflection and prayer! Walk the paths on the beautifully landscaped grounds and rest on the lake-side benches! Search your heart and inner self while enjoying sunrises over the lake or sunsets on the hill! Spend some time of meditation and prayer in the Adoration Chapel. Join the monks for prayer at the monastery! Rest in the solitude of a private modern room or a double room to share with a friend!

Midweek Meditative Moments: Especially during the week the Center is ideal for spending time by oneself because weekdays tend to be even quieter. On weekends the place is busier with various groups, whereas during the week it is possible that you are all by yourself or share the facility with only a few guests.

Enjoy delicious meals with salads, desserts and a variety of beverages. Browse the Gift Store for books, cards, music, crystals, jewelry, home decor and gifts.

Half-Day Retreats for Groups

Have you ever thought of bringing a group of people from your parish, your group of friends, your Bible study group or your faith sharing group to St. Benedict Center?  Would you like some input and spiritual guidance during your stay?  We are delighted to offer you our half-day retreat package:

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Total cost: $19.95 per person

The retreat can also be an afternoon program beginning with lunch. Upon request, monks are available for celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is also possible to join the monks for Mass (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat 11:15 a.m.; Tue, Thu 5:30 p.m.)

Here are possible topics:

  • How to Pray at Set Times Each Day and to Pray Always
  • Practicing the Presence of God Everyday
  • Turn off Google and Turn on God
  • The Practice of Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World
  • How Mary and Martha Both Can Teach Us Something Good
  • What a Friend We Have in Jesus!
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These half day retreats will be lead by:

Father Thomas A. Hillenbrand, OSB, STL, is a former monk of Blue Cloud Abbey, SD, which closed in 2012, and has transferred his stability to Christ the King Priory in Schuyler. In his over 50 years as a Benedictine monk, he has received his education and degrees from San Anselmo College in Rome and from Notre Dame University, IN. After that he served as novice master, Pastor on an Indian reservation, Chaplain at Mt. Marty College, Prior in Guatemala, and then Abbot at Blue Cloud for 16 years.

The Solo Project

Come to St. Benedict Center for a time of retreat and get the first night plus breakfast for free, if you can stay for at least an additional night! 

This offer is for those who have never spent a night at the Center. Come by yourself or with a friend! Check out the Time for Yourself section for ideas on how to spend this time in a way that it refreshes you in body, soul and spirit.

The Solo Project was made possible by a generous donation to St. Benedict Center. The donor’s first time by himself on retreat was life-changing for him.  He wants as many people as possible to experience St. Benedict Center.

Discount for Locals:

We would love our neighbors to come visit us here at the St. Benedict Center.  You are eligible for a $25 discount:

  • If you have never attended a retreat, a program or stayed overnight at St. Benedict Center

  • If you are one of the first 25 people who register for a retreat, a program or stay overnight at St. Benedict Center

  • If you live within 25 miles of St. Benedict Center