A Time for Transformation


A Time for Transformation

A Message from the Director:

The picture shows an amazing make-over of a statue of Jesus we have on the trail. I call him the Matthew 25 statue as he points to the right, where all the good and faithful servants reside. The makeover was done by a talented and dedicated volunteer. Thank you John Colton!

Though the remake beautifies the trails, we can also look at the statue symbolically. The ‘before’ picture may represent our spiritual life before the pandemic – a little neglected and not too pleasing to gaze upon. The ‘after’ statue gives us an idea of the transformation that can take place if we accept this challenging time as an invitation to do a little makeover of our own spiritual life.

By now, we’re figuring out that its going to be a long journey back to ‘normal’. The resurgence of COVID cases has dimmed the possibility that the Fall will be marked by the perennial return of eager young faces marching off to school and huge crowds gathering for college football games.

We’re in an in-between time, a time of transition. But God makes a space in all in-between times to allow for spiritual growth. Rather than idly wait for everything to settle, and then emerge from our bunker six months later – the same as before – this is a time when we can look at ways to transform our own spiritual life.

The Israelites went from slavery to freedom. A fourteen day desert journey took them forty years. Judging from all their grumbling, they needed every minute of that arduous journey to rid their desire to return to the ‘normal’ they knew, which was slavery to Pharaoh and his Egyptian overlords. Once purged of these desires, they ultimately crossed the Jordan into the promised land and emerged as a new people. Sculpted by the desert sands and uniquely bound together by the commandments of God, the experience transformed them into the chosen people of God.

This pandemic is our desert journey. Yet even in the midst of the emotional, spiritual and physical devastation, there are signs that God’s mighty and mysterious hand is working miracles beneath the surface. People are spending more time at home with their family. People are shopping less and praying more. People are not spending endless hours and gallons of gas commuting to and from work. There is more time to relax, enjoy our surroundings, and ponder the deeper questions of life. All of this is like taking a wire brush to chipped and flaking paint of our existing spiritual life, and preparing the surface for an amazing transformation.

I encourage you to take look beneath some of the confusion, frustration and suffering that you’ve experienced these last four months. See the hand of God guiding you to form deeper relationships, giving you more time to pray and reflect, and encouraging you to trust more in God’s providence.

May this time of transition be a time of transformation for you.

Your servant in Christ,


Deacon Scott D. Gilfillan
Director, Catholic Conference Center

“Transformation” Retreats


Art As Spiritual Therapy

Retreat August 21-22

To take your mind off of this pandemic and improve your spiritual well-being, the Catholic Conference Center in Hickory, NC, is hosting a special one-night retreat August 21-22. We have lined up three gifted presenters to show you how to use some hands-on art and craft activities to renew your sagging spirit and enliven your soul.

With expert guidance, you’ll create your very own inspired piece of pottery, ink drawing, and poetry. All retreatants will be safely distanced in our spacious retreat center and given a private lodging room, workspace, and dining table.

The discounted price is $150 per person, $275 per couple. This includes overnight lodging, three full-course meals prepared by our own executive chef in his 100% sanitation rated kitchen, all materials, and fees.

For more information, or to register, call us at 828.327.7441, email or visit our website. Space is limited to any COVID-19 restrictions in effect at the time, so register now. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity!

“Find Your Center” Day Retreat

For those who are searching for some answers or need some direction, schedule a guided day retreat at the Center. The format is flexible depending upon the desire of the individual. It usually involves some one-on-one spiritual mentoring and guidance as to how to make the day a fruitful exploration of a person’s spiritual health. It may include time in the chapel in prayer or adoration, meditation on the trails, journaling in the lounge, or reading spiritual books on the porch. Special price: $75.


My day retreat began with an incredibly helpful private spiritual mentoring session. Next, I spent time outside enjoying the beautiful grounds– outdoor Stations of the Cross, a picnic lunch and a long hike on the trails adjoining the center. I concluded the day with a very fruitful hour of Adoration. I left filled with joy and many ideas to enrich my faith journey. Peggy

“Find Your Center” Overnight Retreat

Similar to the day retreat, the overnight retreat gives a person some needed time to reflect upon his or her spiritual health, and listen to God speaking words of grace and healing. Special price: $100, includes access to all common areas plus overnight accommodations.


From the point of initial contact, I felt welcomed… I found both the contemplative time I sought and the spiritual companionship I needed… will definitely do it again. Sharon

“Find Your Center” Small Group Retreat

Gather 6-10 of your spiritual companions or three or four couples and come to the center for an overnight retreat. If there is an interest in finding a retreat master or small group facilitator, we can help. We have spacious facilities so social distancing would be easy to accomplish in the meeting rooms and dining area. Special price $125, includes meals, meeting room, and overnight accommodations.


Peaceful and wonderful with a lovely chapel and beautiful grounds. The mountain views are heavenly. Teresa.

Sunday Fun-Day Brunch
Sunday, July 26 @ 11:00 AM

Come join us for Sunday brunch in a beautiful venue. Before and after the brunch, explore the grounds or play some of our games, both in doors and outside. We have plenty of space in our dining area to safely separate our guests, and the kitchen has a 100% sanitation rating. We’ll happily provide you with trail maps and any gaming equipment you need to play badminton, horse shoes, corn hole, Frisbee, Jinga, Dominoes and many more. Reserve your space by calling or visiting our website.

Let us know how we can we help

If none of these retreat specials are what you really need at this time of transition and crisis, let us know how we can provide what you do need. Email the director, Deacon Scott D. Gilfillan, with any requests or suggestions.

Talk to us when you’re planning your next:

Wedding Reception
Holiday Banquet
Family Reunion
Team Building
Board Meeting

We’ve got a super-talented staff and great facilities to help you put together an amazing event.

One more transformation…

We’ve opened up and renovated what was originally built as a storage room and transformed Woodlands into a private dining room or executive conference room for up to 12 people. Come and see, or inquire how our chef can prepare for your inner circle a spectacular dining experience.

May the peace of Christ be with you always!

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