• Photo of The Rev. Dr. Catherine Quehl-Engel+ ('89)

    The Rev. Dr. Catherine Quehl-Engel+ ('89)

    Chaplain of the College

    Pastoral care hours: Typically M-F, 9am-Noon & 1-4:30 p.m. Appointments ensure availability.

My vocation is love. As a Cornell graduate ('89) as well as Chaplain of the College since 1996, I live this vocation providing spiritual guidance, pastoral care, teaching, and healing to diverse students, faculty, and staff in a variety of ways. While doing so amid pandemic in 2020-21, this care and growth of souls has always included:

  • Spiritual friendship, listening, and support.
  • Assisting others in exploring their beliefs, sense of meaning and purpose, identity, and relationship with self, others, the Sacred, and world.  
  • Campus leadership in times of celebration and tragedy.
  • Inter-faith understanding and alliance building as well as universal inter-spiritual wisdom.
  • Ecumenical Christian devotion opportunities (i.e. Soul Friends and annual monastic retreat)  
  • Supporting Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and students from other traditions as they seek to express and celebrate their faith traditions. Also honoring and providing spiritual support to secular students and colleagues.
  • Teaching embodied spiritual wellness and mindfulness practices such as meditation, centering prayer, and yoga, along with related age-old contemplative wisdom.
  • Creating social justice, diversity and inclusion opportunities.
  • Mentoring pre-seminary students, along with those entering other vocations.
  • Serving as advisor to Hillel, our previous Muslim Student Association, and as support for Sustained Dialogue.
  • Working with all Divisions of the College to prepare our students for wise, compassionate servant citizenship.

The care and growth of souls is a humbling, holy privilege.    Wherever you are on the journey, I wish you peace, offering support along the way.   Feel free to stop by my office on 3rd floor Old Sem if you ever want to talk.


Doctor of Ministry in Christian Spirituality,  Washington Theological Union, Washington, D.C. 2014. Focus: Franciscan and Carmelite spirituality as underpinnings (along with HeartMath Institute and other scientific research) for heart, breath, Divine indwelling and energy of love based meditation/interior prayer for personal and communal healing. Related dissertation research project and publication entitled Deep Abiding: Praying, Living, and Loving from The Inside Out.

Doctoral work in Theology, Ethics and Culture focusing on Holocaust Theology and Theology of Human Suffering using Jewish artists as theologians (Univ. of Iowa School of Religion, 1994-96. Left to become Cornell Chaplain and a mom).

Master of Divinity, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California (1994).

Master of Arts blending inter-faith studies, religion and the visual arts, and theology of human suffering. Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA (1994).

Clinical Pastoral Education, Univ. of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (Summer 1994).

Yad Vashem Studies for Holocaust Educators  through Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel (Summer 1993).

Bachelor of Arts, Religion and Art majors, Cornell College, Mt. Vernon IA (1989).


Certified Yoga Instructor (500hr by Fall 2020)

  • 200hr Kavi Yoga Teacher Training with Fannie Hungerford (2017)
  • 300hr Yin Yoga, Mindfulness, & TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)  Teacher Training with Josh Summers & Terry Cockburn (completing by Fall 2020)

Certified Meditation Instructor (American Institute of Health Care Professionals)

Meditation based doctoral research.  Includes the creation and teaching of a six week heart-focused compassion meditation/interior prayer program for personal and communal healing which. In 2014 the dissertation was featured by HeartMath Institute.

Certified Koru Mindfulness & Meditation Instructor. 

Certified Healing Touch Spiritual Ministry Practitioner.

Usui Reiki Master Teacher.

Spring Forest Qi Gong Levels 1, 2, 3, and Practice Group Leader. 

Sound Healing with Himalayan Singing Bowls (Level 3)

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course U of I Hospitals & Clinics (2007).

ORDINATION: Sacred Order of Priests of the Episcopal Church (2006-present). Previously ordained within The United Church of Christ (1996-2005).

SERVICE includes:

  • Priest Associate, Trinity Episcopal Church – Iowa City, Iowa 2006-2018. Volunteer priest assisting with preaching, presiding, funerals, spiritual care and healing.
  • Co-Director and Practitioner of the Mt. Vernon Community Healing Touch Circle A free monthly clinic held at the  Mt. Vernon, Iowa Presbyterian Church (2014-2019).
  • The Inter-Religious Council of Linn County Board of Directors (2016).
  • Thaler Holocaust Committee, Linn County (1985-1990; 1996-2010; 2015 - present).
  • Consultant, The Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church Board of Higher Education (1996 – present).
  • Director of The Episcopal Diocese of Iowa Summer Ministry School & Retreat (2006-2009).
  • Previously on Board of Directors & Strategic Planning Committee for the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa.


  • Deep Peace Mind-Body-Spirit practices, Coe College faculty and staff, Aug. 2020.
  • The Energy of Love Prairiewoods Spirituality Center retreat, Hiawatha, IA March, 2020.
  • Sound healing concerts (Tibetan singing bowls) for Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Sisters and affiliates, Prairiewoods staff and guests, and also at Terramuse Retreat Center, 2018-2020.
  • Christ Consciousness & Christ Within embodied spirituality retreat tracks, Episcopal Summer Ministry School & Retreat, Grinnell College, June 2018, 19. 
  • Radiance: An Inter-Spiritual Advent Retreat for Conscious Carriers of Light, Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center, Hiawatha, Iowa (Nov. 13-15, 2015). A similar version of this retreat was also offered through The Episcopal Diocese of Iowa Ministries School & Retreat (July 19-21, 2015).
  • Weekly Meditation, Mindfulness, and Mind-Body-Spirit Practice instruction for stress reduction, healing, and vitality at Cornell College (ongoing).


  • Jesus and Judaism 
  • Suffering and the Sacred 
  • Namaste: Mysticism, Meditation, and Servant Leadership--a contemplative Hindu and Christian inter-spirituality course in India.  


  • Doctoral dissertation:  Deep Abiding: Praying, Living, & Loving From The Inside Out (Spring 2014).
  • Institute of HeartMath featured doctoral dissertation: Doctoral Research Project Explores Healing with Heart-Focused Prayer/Compassion Meditation email distribution internationally July 7, 2014. 
  • Forgiveness, Ethical Perspectives on the News an Interreligious Council of Linn County televised broadcast on ABC-KCRG, TV9, (Oct. 4, 2011).
  • 9/11 10th Anniversary speaker, Veterans Memorial Stadium, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 2011.
  • Namaste: Visual Meditations on Mystical Theology & The Divine Within Cornell College; The Lincoln Cafe; Trinity Episcopal-Iowa City (2009-2010)
  • Curator for Episcopal Church and Visual Arts: Recognition & Return exhibit, Lent 2010.
  • Mother & Child & Namaste Mandala images in ECVA's "Ubuntu" Exhibit, Summer 2009
  • Inner Journey Iowa State Fair B/W Photo Exhibition entry ('09)
  • Incarnation: Reflections on the Spirit of Dr. Meers. Wapsipinicon Almanac, No. 14, 2007.  
  •  "Modern Jewish Art and the Crucifixion: a Study in Appropriation." Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal Vol. LXXX, No. 1 (Spring 1997):133-152.
  • "Christian Theology After the Jewish Use of Christological Imagery in Holocaust Art" The Holocaust: Lessons for the Third Generation. Ed. Dominick A. Iorio, Richard L. Libowitz, 
    and Marcia S. Littell. University Press of America, 1997. 81-90.