For priests at midlife, Saint Meinrad's Institute for Priests
and Presbyterates has an integrated four-week sabbatical program to
help you relax, recreate and recharge your spiritual life, update
and expand your theological intellect, and renew your fire for
Join fellow priests in this unique sabbatical experience on the
Saint Meinrad campus from July 11 - August 6,
The Reality for Many Priests After Years of Ministry
The Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests
"[Priests] need encouragement, genuine appreciation, a new
deepening in all aspects of formation with the purpose of
examining their actions, and a re-awakening of the motivation
underlying the sacred ministry.
They also need to reflect on: pastoral methods in light of
essentials, the communion among priests of the presbyterate,
friendship with the Bishop, surmounting any sense of exhaustion,
frustration and solitude and, finally, rediscovering the font of
priestly spirituality" (no. 94).
Designed for Priests at Midlife
The Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of
Diocesan Priests (USCCB, 2001) addresses four areas that
impact a priest at midlife:
Physical: Body changes make it clear that
[priests] are no longer young. Such a realization can strike with
great force. It is a time when illness or disability can readily
become part of life's journey.
Psychological: A sense of limitation and
mortality, if not denied but faced directly and honestly, will
inevitably lead to certain psychological processes. For example,
one grieves the loss of what could have been and even what was. One
re-evaluates personal commitments and investments and strives for
greater authenticity. Finally, disconnections triggered by the
aging process resurface concerns about intimacy and
Ministerial and Pastoral: At midlife,
priests stand in a distinct ministerial situation. They may come to
recognize what they have left undone and what may, for the rest of
their lives, be "undoable." In effect, as they come to terms with
the limits of their lives, they also do so with the limits of their
Spiritual: Issues raised by the season of
midlife resonate with faith concerns: limitation and mortality with
the promise of eternal life, grief with detachment, authenticity
with surrender and commitment. Midlife for priests is also a season
of epiphany. If one has remained on the course of an intentional
spiritual journey, one stops and takes stock of what has been.
Inevitably, the workings of grace become manifest.
Located among the peaceful rolling hills of southern Indiana,
Saint Meinrad Archabbey is a community of Benedictine monks that
has remained faithful to its commitment to daily Mass and prayer
since its founding in 1854. The seminary has been educating men for
priesthood nearly as long. View a slideshow of our facilities.
"Stoking the Fire" Mini-Sabbatical is the Institute for Priests
and Presbyterates' program of ongoing formation for priests at
midlife, providing participants a time to rest and be renewed.
Our experiences of transitions in this stage of life and
Guided prayer meditations
Availability of counselors and spiritual directors
Health professional consultation; diet and exercise choices
Reflections on scripture and pastoral leadership
Creation of a personal growth plan moving forward from the
Optional weekend outings
Amenities and Activities
Private room and bath facilities
Wi-Fi Internet access
Library and video borrowing privileges
Satellite TV and DVD player
Nearby sports and leisure activities
Opportunities for communal prayer with monastic
Daily Mass, reflection and prayer with fellow
Counselors, confessors, spiritual
Local outings and
Dates and Deadlines
Sabbatical dates - July 11 - August 6, 2016
Application deadline - June 10, 2016
Application with financial aid request deadline - March 25,
$3,750 covers room, board and program fees.
A $250 application fee is due with the application. If the
applicant is accepted, the $250 fee is non-refundable and is
applied to the balance. The fee is fully refunded to any applicant
not accepted into the program.
Recipients of the Patricia Kirchdorfer Scholarship will have
their application fee fully refunded upon arrival for the
sabbatical. The deposit will be forfeited if the Patricia
Kirchdorfer scholarship recipient cancels within 30 days of the
sabbatical's starting date.
Limited need-based financial aid is available.
A blood panel review with a health professional is offered
within the sabbatical. The blood draw can be performed at Saint
Meinrad's Health Services. Associated laboratory costs are in
addition to the sabbatical cost.
Optional round-trip airport shuttle to and from the Louisville,
KY airport (SDF) is available for $50.
Overnight accommodations and meals prior to July 11 and after
August 6, if available, are in addition to the cost of the
sabbatical. Call to check for availability and pricing.
The Institute for Priests and Presbyterates is able to offer
workshops and programs at a lower cost due to the generosity of
many benefactors. The actual cost per participant for the Stoking
the Fire mini-sabbatical is considerably higher than the amount
charged. Limited financial aid is available for those needing
The Patricia Kirchdorfer Missionary Scholarship
This scholarship fund is established by the Institute for Priests
and Presbyterates' founding director, Rev. J. Ronald Knott, in
honor of his friend Patricia Kirchdorfer. The fund is designated
primarily for U.S. priests working in foreign missions to more
easily afford attendance at the Institute's Stoking the Fire
mini-sabbatical. Secondarily, the scholarship fund is intended to
assist international priests serving in U.S. mission dioceses (as
defined by Catholic Extension).
The $3,750 cost of the Stoking the Fire mini-sabbatical will be
fully covered for the successful applicants to the Patricia
Kirchdorfer Scholarship Fund. Two Kirchdorfer scholarships will be
awarded for 2016. Scholarship recipients are financially
responsible for their travel costs to Saint Meinrad, airport
transfers (if requested), any costs associated with blood draws,
and any room and board fees prior to July 11 and/or after August 6
Applicants who do not meet the Kirchdorfer Scholarship criteria or
who are not selected to receive the Kirchdorfer Scholarship are
still eligible to apply for other financial aid funds.
Comments from previous Stoking the Fire
Saint Meinrad is more than an institution; it is a home for me.
Here I felt welcomed and cared for. The hospitality of Saint
Meinrad is praiseworthy. There is a joy and smile on the face of
every staff serving the institution.
Four incredible weeks. One of the best experiences of my life.
Thanks to all. It has really changed me.
I was able to reflect on my spiritual journey. The various
theological reflections were helpful. The personal growth plan
facilitator made me think and reflect more on my spiritual
growth. Meeting with the spiritual director was also very
The presence and hospitality of the Benedictine community; the
opportunities to pray daily and celebrate Mass - these were
It opened up
more ways of ministering. It showed us the need to empower
others. It made me realize that I have to listen more.