Sampling of Programs/Presentations/Retreats
offered by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM

  • Directed Retreats (Weekends, 6 or 8 day Retreats)
  • Guided Retreats
  • Presentations
  • Spiritual Direction (offered only in the Scranton, PA area or during directed retreats)
  • A Sampling of programs and retreats (below)

Note: These generally include prayer, input from the presenter, times of stillness and personal reflection, reflection material, and sharing and conversation, according to the needs of the group. There are other themes available in addition to this beginning list. Specific themes can also be developed according to the needs and desire of your group.

Bearing Witness to the Holy  (Guided Retreat)

To bear witness is to point by one’s very existence to the presence of the Holy among us. In this retreat, we’ll be invited to remember the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us and to reflect on our own lives as manifesting the Holy in the everyday. We’ll cultivate contemplative consciousness of all that our world loves, pursues, and suffers.

Many Voices Made of Longing  (Guided Retreat)

The poet Rainer Maria Rilke reminds us that our blood is alive with many voices telling us we are made of longing. Sometimes those voices speak in a soft whisper; sometimes, an insistent shout. Always, their call is to a profound listening so we might mine the divine desire for us as well as our own collective ache for communion and belonging. Where are we being called to a deeper resonance with the wounds and hopes of our time? How might we more fully serve as fields of healing presence for all creation, for our beautiful yet wounded world?

Traces of the Holy  (Guided Retreat)

As we desire to live with consciousness of the Holy manifest in our time and place, we come together to explore a deeper knowing of how and where the divine is being revealed in our world. We will use themes from Howard Thurman’s prayer, “Christmas Begins” to focus each day:  To find the lost, the heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among the people, to make music in the heart. What might the Holy One be revealing of our call to be agents of healing in a world both beautiful and wounded?

Widening the Reach of Our Tenderness

Throughout his life, Jesus showed his concern for the wounded, the fragile, for all that is broken and flawed in our world. In our own time, as we experience violence, suffering, and fractured relationships, we also hear Pope Francis speak of the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness. How are we called to deepen compassion and embrace tenderness as a practice in our everyday lives?

Claiming Our Lives as Both Blessed and Blessing

When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, he was blessed and called the “beloved.” Whatever happened during Jesus’ life—praise or blame–he clung to that blessing and was sustained by it. Our world can sometimes be a cold, lonely, and scary place, but when we bless others, we offer them refuge from an indifferent world. When we bless and are blessed, we affirm and say “yes” to our belovedness. How might we open our hearts to allow the healing power of God to work in us and through us?

Saved by Beauty

The great Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky declared, “The world will be saved by beauty.” In our world that is so often broken and wounded, how might we surround, nurture, and restore ourselves with the beautiful? Come and experience a time when we pray, reflect, and immerse body and spirit in beautiful words, images, movement and sound. Bring an open heart and wear comfortable clothing.

Naming the Deep Breath  (Guided Retreat)

In Mary Oliver’s poem, “Sunrise”, she asks: “What is the name of the deep breath I would take over and over for all of us?”

Each day of our lives we take over 20,000 breaths, most of them unconsciously. How might we name that deep breath so that we live with greater attentiveness and awareness? In this day, we will cultivate mindfulness as a life practice, engage in forms of breathprayer, and explore the grace of deep listening in the ordinary moments of everyday living.

Spiritual Spa Day

We have heard, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Yet how do we truly love ourselves? How do we nurture our own soul and body as we also care for our world through our ongoing responsibilities of work, family, and relationships? This day will afford us Sabbath time, a chance to assess our energy and spirit, restore balance, and move us towards wholeness and well-being through quiet, prayer, reflection, and self care.

Our Work Is Loving the World  (Guided Retreat)

The poet Mary Oliver writes that, “My work is loving the world” and then prays, “Let me keep my mind on my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.” In this day, we will explore our life’s work, our true vocation: to love the world as Jesus did. We will reflect on how, in the arena of the everyday, we can cultivate mindfulness and awareness, live contemplatively, and practice tenderness for all that is lost and wounded, broken and fragile among us.

This can be offered in several formats and can include some or all of the following:

“What in the World? It’s All about the Reign of God”
“A Spirituality of Work”
“No More Either/Or: Living Contemplatively in This World”
“Imagine That: Seeing Our World through the Eyes of God”
“Our Lives as Blessed and Blessing for the World”.


Additional themes are also available for Advent, Lent, and other seasons


Waiting in the Edges

So much of daily life involves waiting: in traffic, in line, for news, for results, for change. Advent calls us to a fresh and lifelong way of being, one where we actively wait, paying attention with an expectant heart and listening to God in the ordinary moments of everyday life. No matter what is happening in our lives and our world, Advent reminds us that we are not waiting alone, for God waits with us and for us and desires our homecoming. Come and spend this day creating a spacious welcome for the coming of Emmanuel through prayer, input, stillness, and reflection.


Fasting and Feasting

The season of Lent is traditionally a time of fasting, but it is so much more. Lent also invites us into a season of feasting, of feeding our hunger for meaning and for the Divine at work in our lives. This day will invite us to explore what we need to fast from or let go of, and also how we can be nourished by the deep desires of our heart that are part of God’s dream for our world.

Standing with the Women of Holy Week

During this season when we reflect on Jesus’ journey to Calvary, we also remember Jesus as he lives today in the crucified peoples of our world.   What insights might the women of Holy Week offer us towards a theology of remaining and accompaniment?   How might the women invite us to deeper solidarity with our beautiful, yet wounded world?


Spiritual Spring Cleaning

As Nature visibly renews herself this season, she invites us to ask: What do we want to create with our lives? This day of spiritual spring cleaning is a soul-making experience that opens us to clear the path of our heart, make room for more, and reflect on what is meaningful, liberating, and emerging for ourselves and others.   Come and join in a day when we can de-clutter, refresh, and green our lives.

There are also programs available for the seasons of fall, winter, and summer.