Deep Breath

Deep Breath: Self- Guided Retreats at Holy Wisdom Monastery

This new offering for pastors is offered in partnership between the Center for Clergy Renewal and Living Compass Spirituality and Wellness Initiative. Pastors are invited to come to Holy Wisdom Monastery for a personal retreat. While on retreat you will be invited to take a deep breath and rest in the rhythm of the monastery and the beauty of the prairie.

Rev. Kathleen Owens serves as the chaplain for this program and will work with each pastor ahead of your retreat to structure a time that will help you to listen to God and your own heart in your retreat time.

Is this program right for me?

This program is open to all clergy, regardless of where you are in your career or where you are currently serving. It is intended to be flexible to your schedule and your needs.

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Program Description

Pastors participating in Deep Breath will be provided with a bedroom and private bathroom in the Holy Wisdom Monastery Retreat and Guest House. Breakfast is available on your own schedule at the Guest House, lunch and dinner will be provided in the Monastery building.

Deep Breath Retreats are designed to be flexible and responsive to the needs of individual pastors. Our funding will subsidize up to six nights per year. We will work with each Deep Breath pastor to find a retreat length and timing that works for you, subject to availability in the Guest House. You are invited to come for several shorter retreats, or you can come for six nights at once.

After your application is accepted, a Holy Wisdom staff member will work with you to arrange dates that work for your schedule. Then Rev. Kathleen Owens will follow up with you to develop a structure for your Deep Breath that addresses your particular needs. Your retreat may include attending Daily Prayer and/or Centering Prayer with the sisters, hiking or use of the Monastery’s meditation trail, meeting with a Clergy Coach or Spiritual Director, or giving yourself the permission to nap!

Deep Breath participants are encouraged to participate in Daily Prayers with the sisters (offered Tuesday-Saturday). This is not required, but it does provide structure for your contemplative retreat. Here is a potential schedule for Deep Breath participants:

7:30 am – Centering Prayer

8:00 am – Morning Prayer

8:30 am – Breakfast (on your own in the Guest House—food is provided)

9:00 am – Hike or meditation trail

11:30 am – Midday Prayer

12:00 pm – Lunch (in the Monastery)

1:00 pm – Nap or reading/reflection time

4:30 pm – Evening Prayer

4:55 pm – Centering Prayer

5:15 pm – Dinner (in the Monastery)

6:00 pm – Evening walk or journaling

Deep Breath FAQs


1) When can I come?

The timing of Deep Breath retreats is dependent on your schedule and the availability of space in the Retreat & Guest House. After your application is accepted, a Holy Wisdom staff member will work with you to arrange dates that work for your schedule. Please note that Daily Prayer with the sisters is only held Tuesday-Saturday.

2) Can I come with a friend or a small group?

You are welcome to come with a friend or bring a small group to take a Deep Breath together. Please have each person in the group submit an application and note that you are seeking to come together.

3) What does it cost?

Due to the generous support of Living Compass, we can provide Deep Breath at no cost for up to six nights a year.

If you would like to add Spiritual Direction or Coaching to your Deep Breath, there will be an additional charge.

4) I am not currently serving in a church. Can I come?

Yes. This program is available for clergy in transition between calls, serving in other ministries, or trying to discern where God is calling you to go next.

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What pastors are saying about Deep Breath… 

“Tension seemed to dissipate. My mind seemed quieter. I loved the walks in the prairie lands and through the woods.” -ELCA Pastor from IL 

“The scenery and space is a great testimony to God. It washed over me in a cleansing way that left the challenges of the rat race feeling insignificant.” -ELCA Pastor from IL 

“I feel a welcome sense of calm in the midst of busyness. I have come to understand that I have been called by God to serve the Church during a time of multiple crises. Intentionally spending 48 hours in a space of pausing provided me with renewed wonder and gratitude for the Spirit’s movement in my life, congregation, and community.” -UCC Pastor from WI