Billionaire Building Retreat Center

Platte River valley west of Omaha. Image released into the public domain by its author, Iulus Ascanius at the Wikipedia project.Billionaire Joe Ricketts is building a retreat center in Nebraska’s Platte River Valley, expected to open in 2018. The Cloisters on the Platte, as it’s known, will feature Ignatian silent retreats. Ricketts has been visiting churches and organizations in the Omaha Archdiocese to encourage people to try a retreat like the one that changed his life, as reported in the National Catholic Register.

His faith also got a boost when he attended his second-ever retreat in the late 1980s. His first one, while in high school in Nebraska City, didn’t go so well.

“It was terrible,” he said. “I told myself, ‘I’ll never go again.’ The priest was overbearing and dictatorial and demanding—things as a young man I revolted against. I said to myself, ‘A retreat is not something good.’”

That changed in 1987, when, at the urging of a friend, he attended a retreat at the Jesuit Retreat House-Demontreville in Lake Elmo, Minn.

“I needed some additional spiritual aspect to my life,” Ricketts recalled. “I went with a great deal of apprehension. I found out it was just what I needed.”

Ricketts learned Sunday Mass alone was not enough for him. The silent retreat taught him how to meditate and contemplate. He has attended at least 14 retreats at Demontreville since then.

To follow the progress of the center, visit


  1. So very excited about the new retreat center you are building in Nebraska. Can’t wait to attend one of the retreats. Gratefully yours.

    • God is with you dear one, my family drove though Nebraska and I don’t know where your retreat center is being built but when we got to Omaha, our RV filled with the scent of Roses and it continued for almost an hours drive from Omaha. Our Blessed Mother is with you and I want to thank you for your building of this retreat center. we are from Tennessee. God bless you

  2. Good stuff. I’m a neophyte Catholic who did the “Real Life” version starting this time last year. Just learning the Examen was a big help in my life, and beginning to discern through prayer a great blessing.
    Hope someday to take a silent retreat, even possibly a real 30 Day one. The online thing, for me, does not equal going to a different venue just for the purpose. Surely Mr Ricketts gets this. We need to break off from all the chatter and distraction to meet our Lord.
    I want to encourage others in the US and Canada to patronize existing retreat venues, take advantage of the Platte complex by all means, and then please consider starting more humble venues with low or no fees for those
    of us willing to care-take them and give the Ignatian message away for free.
    Meanwhile, Joe, grateful prayers to you and your family.

  3. Hats off to Mr Ricketts! I am thrilled that he has taken actionable action to help make retreats available to all-not just those with disposable income. It seems to me that Christ is smiling at the news! To see someone who is working to help build God’s Kingdom rather than destroy it.


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