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"A Desert Experience gave me the opportunity to experience contemplation in a new way. By taking a step into a retreat experience in nature, I learned to turn any ordinary place into a place to find God. I learned the importance of reflectively listening to someone and that paying attention to people's word choice can give me more of an idea of what a person is really trying to say. Any ordinary place can be a space to retreat. I learned to find God in all places and people.”


Lauren Conniff

Strategic Communication | Public Relations

University of Scranton '17


“My experience in Death Valley was heightened by the beauty and physical presence of God's work in nature. I found that being in the park helped me connect the spiritual themes discussed to a new way of seeing.”


Steven Browning

Exercise Science

University of Scranton ‘18

"A Desert Experience was an outstanding and very unique retreat to say the least. The week spent in Death Valley tested every member of our group physically, mentally, and spiritually through many tasks and challenges which brought us all to a new outlook on ourselves, others, and Mother Nature. At no time in my life have I experienced such peace with the world as I did in the silence of reflection on this retreat, and I'm very thankful for this opportunity because I have come out a better version of myself in the end.”


Bryan Gorczyca

Exercise Science

University of Scranton ‘19


“A Desert Experience Retreat has greatly impacted my spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. This journey has led me to discover my strengths and weaknesses, as well as expand my perspectives and horizons. It has opened new doors to experience God through nature, my leaders and peers, and myself. Finally, it has lit a new fire within my soul to pursue the unknown and to push my limits.”


Jessica DeCraene

Occupational Therapy

University of Scranton Graduate Student



“A Desert Experience retreat gave me the chance to leave all the distractions and stress of my life behind and spend a few days focusing on myself and my relationship with God. I was challenged spiritually with tough questions that I still think about to this day. I loved every second and left feeling like I had encountered God in a special way in the other people on the retreat as well as in the peace and beauty of the desert.”


Kaitlyn Davis

Biology and Philosophy

University of Scranton `17

"A Desert Experience Retreat was an unforgettable journey that challenges the body and spirit.   It is an incredible time of sharing with adventure minded students and staff.  The Desert Experience provides an opportunity to prayerfully examine your life with self-reflection in a place literally unlike any other in the world.  I would go again in a minute!"


Michael A. Sulzinski, PhD

Professor of Immunology & Microbiology

Department of Medical Education

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine

Scranton, PA  

"The Death Valley Retreat was nothing short of extraordinary. Aside from the breathtaking scenery and sense of connection to nature, I was able to look inward and experience deep reflection. This opportunity allowed me to form bonds with students, my co-chaperone, and God. I left the retreat feeling a sense of wholeness and rejuvenation. Although some days were more challenging than others, I always went to bed feeling proud of myself for pushing my body and clarity in my heart and mind."

Casey Steiner

Assistant Director, Center for Student Engagement 

The University of Scranton

"In the desert, you can remember your name."

- America 

© 2023 Certain Place Ministries

A 501(c) 3 Nonprofit Corporation

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