Desert House of Prayer Core Community


Br. Bill, Michael Gibson, Sr. Katherine Ann, Fr. Tom, Sr. Marilyn


Father Tom

Father Tom Picton is a Redemptorist priest and a member of the Denver Province. He has had a relationship with the Desert House of Prayer for thirty-five years. He is a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and a Clinical Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Tom began making retreats at Desert House almost from its founding by Fr. John Kane and Sisters Dorothy Lesher and Peg Williams. His interests include spirituality, history, music, theater, film, paleontology, the conjuring arts and last but not least baseball.


Sister Marilyn

Sister Marilyn Omieczynski is a member of the United States Province of the Union of Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is an educator, spiritual director, and massage therapist. Marilyn has spent over forty years practicing various forms of contemplative prayer, especially centering prayer. She also loves to pray and work with clay.

Michael Gibson

Michael Gibson is the person who answers the phone; handles inquiries; registration, and payments; greets guests; and takes care of the office. His formal studies led him to a bachelor’s degree in music, an MA in teaching ESL, and an MDiv (master of divinity). When he is not working in the office, Michael enjoys cooking, writing, music, photography, and discovering/exploring new things. (Photo by John Meyer, used with permission)


Sister Katherine Ann

Sr. Katherine Ann Smolik is a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration near Clyde, Missouri, a contemplative, monastic community dedicated to prayer. She was part of her community’s Osage Monastery Forest of Peace Ashram in Oklahoma and a past board member of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (MID). Sr. Katherine Ann is a graduate of the Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction and offers spiritual direction onsite. She will also be writing grants for the Desert House of Prayer, she is responsible for the library and is an executive assistant to the director. She loves reading, art, hiking, and the Desert Fathers.


Brother Bill

Br. Bill Cloughley has been a Redemptorist Brother for over 50 years. He has a special interest in affordable housing for low-income families. He is responsible for the maintenance, and care of the grounds at Desert House. Bill has become sort of the “archivist” for Desert House; transferring many tape recordings to CD’s thus preserving the talks of Thomas Merton and Fr. John Kane, among others. He also loves to photograph the beauty of the desert.