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Platte River retreat center on target for 2018 opening

A retreat center being built near the Platte River by billionaire Joe Ricketts is on target for a summer 2018 opening, and a recent letter sent to Catholics across the archdiocese is gauging interest in the project.

Founder of online brokerage TD Ameritrade and a member of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Omaha, Ricketts has said the facility will focus on retreats based on the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. It is being built on 930 acres south of Gretna and includes a chapel, main building and cabins to house 80 people for the male-only and female-only three-day retreats. There are two lakes, nature trails and a Stations of the Cross walk with sculptures at each of the 14 stations.

A Ricketts family foundation, The Cloisters on the Platte Foundation, is building and will manage the retreat center, and conserving the land as natural habitat. Announced in 2015, the project is expected to open in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Cloisters on the Platte has been hosting retreats at alternate sites. And the letter sent in February asks people to send in a card expressing interest in attending retreats at the new center.

While not offering details about responses to the letter, Ricketts said, "We’re excited about the positive response we continue to receive about The Cloisters on the Platte."

The letter also describes the facility and the retreats it will offer, including meals and private accommodations. Everything is designed to "free your body and spirit to remain focused on spiritual renewal," the letter says.

There is no fee for a retreat, but guests can make a goodwill donation, the letter says.

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