About

Mission

The mission of Christ in the Wilderness is to provide an environment that is conducive to silence, solitude, prayer and reflection.

Core Values

  • Belief in God’s impact and effect on each person’s life
  • Recognition of diverse expressions of individual life journeys
  • Acknowledgment of diverse ways to experience solitude
  • Maintenance of the natural environment, fostering of the absence of distraction, and respect for the solitude and privacy of each retreatant

Christ in the Wilderness (CITW) is a hermitage retreat center located west of Chicago near Stockton, Illinois among the beautiful, rolling hills of the Mississippi Valley. We welcome individuals regardless of their backgrounds to spend time alone in a secluded natural environment, nourishing their minds, bodies and spirits.

sign MNOur ministry was founded more than 35 years ago on a simple, yet profoundly important idea: that taking periodic breaks from the constant noise and routine distractions of everyday life is essential to living a balanced life. In CITW’s unique setting, retreatants are able to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with themselves and with God. [Read more on History.]

Retreatants discover that being at CITW provides them the freedom to relax, to read, to pray, to take that long walk in nature, to journal, and perhaps, to express their artistic selves. It enables them to ponder questions they cannot find time or space to address elsewhere. Oftentimes, as they pause and listen to their deepest wisdom, they begin to understand they have limited time in which to realize their life’s purpose and goals. They reevaluate what is important and no longer choose to put certain things on hold.

Those who spend time in solitude at CITW report that they return to the world renewed and re-energized, experiencing a heightened sense of balance and focus. Indeed, some have been inspired to make significant changes in their lives—their priorities and values, their careers, their relationships and even where they choose to live. And many have written to us or shared their photos. You will find them in these pages.

Founding Director: Sister Lorraine Mark, CSJ

Sponsor: Congregation of St. Joseph

Executive Director/Spiritual Director: Sr. Julia Bathon, OSF

Board of Directors

  • Don Vicha, Interim Chair
  • Amy Kostbade, Secretary
  • Julie Snow, Treasurer
  • Chris March (CSJ)
  • Mary McAuliffe
  • James Croegaert
  • Lisa Hjorth
  • Maura Neuffer
Board photo

From left to right: Amy Kostbade, Sr. Julia Bathon (crouching), Don Vicha, Julie Graves Snow, Mary McAuliffe, Sr. Maria Hill, Sr. Chris March (kneeling), and Michael Nees.