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As a Way of Holiness: An Artist’s Retreat

In his Letter to Artists, Pope St. John Paul II wrote about the specific demands that the search for “new epiphanies of beauty” puts on the artistic soul.  Come spent time with Jesus and fellow artists for two days of prayer, reflection, and community, at the beautiful Franciscan Monastery in Washington DC.  We will have thoughtful fellow artists as presenters, a beautiful liturgy in the Ordinariate Form with Polyphonic music, confession, spiritual direction and coaching to help you renew your vocation to holiness through creativity.

Retreat Presenters

Barbara Nicolosi

Awarding Winning Screenwriter, Author  & Professor


Heather King

NY Times Best Selling Author, Speaker

and Workshop Leader


Fr. Jason Catania

Priest of the Personal Ordinariate of St. Peter serving St. Luke's at Ignatius Church


Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth

priest of the Oratory of St Philip Neri, and superior and founder of the Washington Oratory

Barbara Nicolosi is award-winning writer, speaker, professor and producer, Dr. Barbara Nicolosi has spoken at hundreds of conferences, universities, and churches.  She is the featured host on the Mystagogy podcast. She has also given retreats for parish ministers. With 23 years of experience working in Hollywood as a writer and producer, Dr. Nicolosi speaks about the intersection of faith and culture, the role of art and beauty in the Church and world, and how to engage the secular mainstream with Gospel themes.  She is a Great Books professor and former member of a religious community, speaking regularly on the topics of literature and philosophy the importance of friendship, various aspects of prayer and spirituality, the history and social importance of story and art, and how the Church can more effectively find a voice in the marketplace of ideas.  

Dr. Nicolosi is founder of the Write Spirit creative writing program of the Catholic Art Institute. A member of the Writers Guild of America-West she has written screenplays for several Hollywood production companies including Fatima (2020), directed by Marco Pontecorvo and starring Harvey Keitel and Sonia Braga.  

Barbara has a doctorate in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University in the UK, a Masters in Film & Television from Northwestern University, and a B.A. from the Great Books program at Magdalen College.  She has taught at the university level for twenty years. She has been a script analyst, production company executive, and consultant on scores of entertainment projects including the features The Passion of the Christ and TV shows Joan of Arcadia (CBS) and Saving Grace (TNT).   

Barbara has delivered hundreds of addresses all over the world including at the Vatican and for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

Barbara has been a grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, and a reader for the Humanitas Prize which has been called the Pulitzer of screenwriting.  For more, visit

Heather King is a NY Times best selling author, speaker and workshop leader. Her titles include Parched (the dark years); Redeemed (crawling toward the light); Shirt of Flame (my year in Koreatown, L.A. reflecting upon the spirituality of St. Thérèse of Lisieux); Poor Baby (healing from abortion), and Stripped: Culture, Cancer, and the Cloud of Unknowing (going against medical advice).

She has a weekly arts and culture column in Angelus News, the newspaper of the archdiocese of L.A. [], and a monthly column in Magnificat magazine.

She also speaks nationwide, lead retreats, provides editing services, and blogs at DESIRE LINES: Arts. Divine Intoxication. Faith. For more, visit

Fr. Jason Catania, KHS, was among the first priests ordained for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Previously an Episcopal clergyman, he served parishes in upstate New York before becoming the final Episcopalian rector (pastor) of Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore. In 2012 he led his parishioners into full communion with the Catholic Church, while also retaining possession of their historic building, an award-winning renovation of which Fr. Catania had overseen in 2008. He has since served Ordinariate communities in Kitchener, Ontario, Rochester, New York, and Omaha, Nebraska, where as pastor of St. Barnabas Church he oversaw the renovation of its historic building, A lifelong musician, Fr. Catania holds degrees in music history and musicology, as well as in theology and church administration. He currently serves as chaplain at Medstar Washington Hospital Center, as well as assistant pirest at St. Luke's Ordinariate Parish in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Fr. Catania has a particular interest in sacred music and the Western liturgical tradition generally. He was the officiant of the first fully-reconstructed Sarum Vespers offered in the United States in 2020, and is a regular celebrant of the Traditional Latin Mass.

Please note Fr. James Bradley who was originally scheduled has been called away from the installation of Bishop-designate David Waller of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walshingham.

Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, is a priest of the Oratory of St Philip Neri, and superior and founder of the Washington Oratory. After graduate study in Music, Italian, and Theology, he worked and taught extensively in the United Kingdom. From 2009 until 2023 he was Executive Director of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, during which time he oversaw the completion of a new English translation of the Roman Missal, and almost the entire suite of liturgical books of the Roman Rite. He is the founder and Director of the St Gregory Institute for the Study of Liturgical Latin, a collaborative project between ICEL and the Department of Greek and Latin at The Catholic University of America. He currently teaches in the Theology Faculty of Georgetown University.


Please note Fr. James Bradley who was originally scheduled has been called away from the installation of Bishop-designate David Waller of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walshingham.

Retreat Schedule



11:00-12:00    Optional Tour of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and Lunch  (those enrolled will be contacted about attending)

1:00- 1:30       Check ins at Franciscan Monastery & Self-Guided Monastery Tour/Confessions; Artists Set one Small Sample of their Work*; Snacks

1:30 – 1:40     Welcome/Introductions (Kathleen Carr)

1:40 – 2:00     Opening  Prayer & Meditation  (Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth)
2:00 – 3:00      Making the Spiritual Visceral: Sharing Insights from The Letter to Artists  (Barbara Nicolosi, PhD)

3:00 – 3:15    Break/Confession Opportunity

3:15 – 4:00    “The Vocation of the Artist” (Heather King)

5:00 - Meet for Dinner at The Dubliner at Phoenix Park Hotel (optional)



9:00 – 9:20     Morning Prayer for Artists/ Confessions
9:20 – 9:55      Breakfast / Spiritual Direction
10:00 – 11:00  “Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones: Spiritual Challenges of the Demands of Art & Beauty” (Barbara Nicolosi)
11:00 – 12:15     Mass in the Ordinariate Form with Polyphonic Music & Homily for Artists (Fr. Jason Catania)
12:15 – 1:00       Lunch / Spiritual Direction
1:00 – 2:00      “Spirituality for the Artist” (Heather King)
2:00 – 3:00      Creative time / Prayer Time / Project Time / Spiritual Direction/ Confessions
3:00 – 3:30      Group Discussion
3:30 – 4:30      Closing Adoration and Artists's Project Offering

*Artists are invited to bring a small example of their work to share with this group, this can include a drawing, painting, music or writing composition, photography, architectural rendering, or the like.

The retreat includes the following meals:  breakfast, lunch, coffee, water and snacks. Friday evening dinner is optional and not included in retreat costs.

To request gluten or diary-free meals, please email us after you enroll at


Enrollment Fees

Members - $125

Non-members - $150

Enroll as a member and receive savings on this and upcoming events including the Annual Conference, the Film Festival, The April at Tour at the National Gallery of Art and more. For details and to become a Catholic Art Institute member please visit:

Hotel Room Block - Now Full - See Below for Other Options

Rooms may still be available but not for the  Room block rate: Single $219    / Double $249
(Please book by May 22nd for the discounted rate)

• Complimentary Wi-Fi
• Welcome Drink Coupon

Hotel Accommodations for the retreat are being held at the Phoenix Park Hotel for the Catholic Art Institute.   Retreat attendees may now book hotel accommodations by calling toll free # 855-371-6824 and identifying themselves as being with Group Code: 25211 or Catholic Art Institute June event or attendees may book their reservations directly online by clicking on the online reservation web : 


A major credit card information is required at time of reservation. Deadline date to make reservation is Wednesday, May 22, 2024.   Reservation requests received after this deadline date will be subject to availability and prevailing rate.


Individual cancellation policy is 72 hours prior to date of arrival to avoid one night's room plus tax charge to credit card provided. Please obtain a cancellation # when doing so. Also, a charge of one night's room and tax will also be applicable to any guest who amends an existing reservation at the point of check in. To avoid any additional fees, we ask that you please reiterate arrival and departure dates to your attendees.


Also, please use the link below to check your rooming list at any time.  When opening the link, please enter the Group Code, beginning with the letter ‘g’ inside the Group Coordinator box (ex. g25211), this will enable you to see who has reserved their rooms.

The hotel is located about 15 minutes by car to the Franciscan Monastery. Valet parking is available for an extra fee or available in nearby parking garages. Please direct hotel parking questions to the Phoenix Park.

There are a limited number of rooms in the room block so please book early if you're want the best rates.

Other Accommodation Options

Hotel George

The hotel room block is now full. The closest hotel to the Phoenix Park is the Hotel George, one block away.

Rooms are $171 (as of 6/5/24). To book visit: this is in walking distance to the Phoenix Park.

Affordable Accommodations at MissionHurst Retreat Center

Approximately 12 rooms are available for $60 a night at the MissonHurst Retreat Center. The rooms are newly renovated with en suite bathrooms. However, the location is not metro accessible, so having a car is preferable.

MissionHurst is located at 4651 25th St N, Arlington, VA 2207 which is about 30 minutes from the Franciscan Monastery, perhaps more during rush hour. Please visit for details.

To book, please call the MissionHurst Retreat House at (703) 528-3804 and mention that you are seeking to stay while attending the Catholic Art Institute Retreat for Artists.

About Franciscan Monastery

The Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America is a Franciscan complex at 14th and Quincy Streets in the Brookland neighborhood of Northeast Washington, D.C. Located on a hill called Mount Saint Sepulcher, and anchored by the Memorial Church of the Holy Sepulcher, it includes gardens, replicas of various shrines throughout Israel, a replica of the catacombs in Rome, an archive, a library, as well as bones of Saint Benignus of Armagh, brought from the Roman catacombs and originally in the cathedral of Narni, Italy.

The Memorial Church of the Holy Sepulcher was designed by the architect Aristide Leonori. The cornerstone was laid in 1898 and construction completed in 1899. The church's design alludes to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Its floor plan loosely resembles the fivefold Jerusalem cross. It was also built in the neo-Byzantine style, resembling Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Some Romanesque influences were added to the design.

The Rosary Portico designed by John Joseph Earley surrounds the church. It contains fifteen chapels depicting the mysteries of the Rosary. Each chapel contains plaques bearing the Hail Mary in nearly two hundred ancient and modern languages. The Rosary Portico resembles the Cloister of St. John Lateran in Rome and Saint Paul's Outside the Walls. Various Christian symbols from the catacombs decorate the facade.

Attached to the Church is the neo-Romanesque Monastery. The Monastery grounds contain replicas of shrines in the Holy Land, a Lourdes grotto, and a replica of the Porziuncola.

A virtual tour of the church and shrines can be found here:

Franciscan Monastery Address & Parking

The Franciscan Monastery is located at 1400 Quincy St. N.E. Washington, D.C., United States and the retreat will take place in the Conference Center Room, located just inside the main church entry, which is to the right, straight ahead after you enter the grounds.

Ample free parking is available directly across from the main entrance at the corner of 14th & Quincy Streets.

If you have any questions or need to request gluten or diary-free meals, please email us at

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