Men’s Retreat
Practical Holiness

“Be who you are… and be that well.”
St. Francis De Sales

A How-To Guide on living the practical holiness of Saint Francis De Sales

Matthew Kelly, the popular Catholic speaker, frequently says, “Be the best version of yourself.” Saint Francis De Sales centuries ealier said it this way: “Be who you are, and be that well.” Come to this retreat and learn the timely lessons of Saint Francis De Sales on how to grow in holiness even when up against the challenges of modern life. With a modern twist to the spiritual classic, “Introduction to the Devout Life”, our retreat master will help you on that journey to “be who you are… and be that well.

October 7-9, 2022

Men’s Retreat 2021

Timely Messages

1st conference: Exercises for the Soul

To develop a healthy body requires a little regular exercise. It’s not just for professionals, but for everyone. If done well, it becomes imbedded in a person’s everyday leisure and work activities. It’s no different in developing a healthy soul. Saint Francis de Sales was convinced that living a devout life is not just for ‘professionals’, but is suitable to every person and every vocation. Explore some of his meditations and ‘exercises for the soul’ that will blend with any lifestyle.

2nd conference: A New Way to Pray

Some say, “For me to increase the time I spend in prayer, something has to go!”  Saint Francis de Sales says otherwise.  Learn how to make prayer more than a “slot in your schedule” but the salt that flavors all your activities throughout the day.  Saint Francis de Sales has little techniques you can use to pray at all times. From your rising in the morning to your retiring to sleep find the extraordinary in all the ordinary moments of your life, and ultimately see the presence of God in your own life and in the lives of the people around you.

3rd conference: Practice Makes Perfect

One thing that all spiritual masters agree on growing in the virtues: they require practice. The beautiful part, however, is you don’t have to practice them all. Saint Catherine of Sienna says that if you practice one virtue, “the soul… draws to herself all of the other virtues.” Saint Francis de Sales concurs, saying “It is well for everybody to select some special virtue at which to aim, not as neglecting any others, but as an object and pursuit to the mind.” Learn how to select that one virtue you should chiefly practice, and let that guide you to “being well” in things great and small.

4th conference: Battling Temptation

“For every great temptation there will be many small ones.  Wolves and bears are more dangerous than flies, but we are bothered most by flies.”  Saint Francis de Sales has much to say about battling temptations.  Learn the difference between experiencing them and consenting to them, how to resist minor temptations and find a remedy for them, and how to strengthen your heart to face a world riddled with temptations.  “Be then very courageous amid temptation, and never imagine yourself conquered so long as it is displeasing to you.”   

Exceptional Retreat Atmosphere

Indoor and outdoor reflection areas

In addition to the conferences, there will be plenty of time to pray and reflect upon the words and upon God’s plan for you. For those who prefer doing this in a sacred space, there is a beautiful chapel and several indoor and outdoor reflection places. For those who are more active, there are trails cut through our 180 acres. The more ambitious can take a short drive or long hike to Baker Mountain Park. Added to the outdoor space, there is a horseshoe pit, a fire pit, and even some corn-hole boards.

Nicely appointed rooms and dining

The lodging rooms were fully renovated in 2015. Each room has two full-sized beds and a private bath. Our dining area has a full-time chef who has experience preparing high-end meals in various parts around this world. The dining room has also been recently renovated, and has a 100% sanitation rating. The meeting room has cathedral ceilings and spectacular views.

Grace-filled encounters

For those who want to immerse themselves into the retreat, there will be several scheduled hours of adoration, as well as time for confession with a priest or spiritual direction with an experienced director/counsellor. To break the ice, the retreat will begin with a social before dinner, where participants can bring a beverage of their choice.

A Retreat Schedule Just for You *

Friday, October 7
2:00 PMCheck-in, call ahead if you need an earlier check-in
5:30 PMReception
6:30 PMDinner
7:30 PM1st Conference: Exercises for the Soul
9:00 PMFree Time or Night Prayer
Saturday, October 8
7:00 AMAdoration and Morning Prayer
8:00 AMBreakfast
9:00 AM2nd Conference:  A New Way to Pray
10:30 AMFree time
12:00 PMLunch
1:00 PM3rd Conference:  Practice Makes Perfect
2:30 PMFree time and Evening Prayer
6:00 PMDinner
7:00 PM4th Conference:  Battling Temptation
8:30 PMFree time or Night Prayer
Sunday, October 9
7:00 AMAdoration and Morning Prayer
8:30 AMHoly Mass
10:00 AMClosing brunch
* schedule subject to change

Meet your Retreat Master

The retreat master, Deacon Matthew Newsome, is a student of the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, especially the common-sense spiritual direction offered in the Introduction to the Devout Life.  He entered the Church through the RCIA twenty two year ago and has since helped guide many along the same journey deploying some of the same practical spiritual wisdom. He serves as campus minister at Western Carolina University and holds a Master of Theology degree from Holy Apostles College & Seminary. He writes a monthly column for the Catholic News Herald and blogs at He and his wife Joannie live in the mountains of NC with their seven children, a small flock of sheep, a smattering of chickens, and one ornery donkey.

The last time Deacon Matt was at the conference center, the retreatants rated his presentionations “Excellent”. One commented, “A very rewarding time! The group was wonderful and Deacon Matt was great with his presentations. I’m so glad I came!”


The registration for the retreat includes two overnight stays, full-course meals from Friday dinner to Sunday brunch, and retreat fees. The commuter option includes all of the above except the overnight option. The retreat price is as follows:

Single, one person per room: $320 per person

Double, two persons per room: $250 per person

We have SOLD OUT the lodging for our Men’s Retreat.
If you’re looking for a retreat, check out our New Year’s Retreat.

Cancellation Policy. A full refund will be given if the retreat is canceled for any reason, or if the center receives at least 14 days notification of a person’s need to cancel.

Artwork by Retreat Master Deacon Matt Newsome

Be at Peace Prayer

Do not look forward in fear to the changes and chances of this life;
Rather, look to them with full confidence that,
as they arise, God, to whom you belong
will in His love enable you to profit by them.
He has guided you thus far in life,
and He will lead you safely through all trials;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will bury you in His arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same everlasting Father who cares for you today
will take care of you then and every day.
He will either shield you from suffering,
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

Saint Francis de Sales