New Year’s Retreat

Spiritual Exercises for the New Year

Two Nights: December 30, 2023, to January 1, 2024

Add a third-night for just $50!

What better way to start a New Year than to go on a retreat and let a certified ‘coach’ guide you through some time-honored spiritual exercises and leave you with some ways to keep you spiritually fit throughout the year? In addition to learning about some spiritual exercises you can incorporate into your life, you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful setting with sacred spaces, outdoor meditation trails, and great dining. There’ll be an opportunity for private reflection, Adoration, and Mass. We’ll also have some traditional New Year’s festivities and a banquet dinner.

Powerful Spiritual ‘Workouts’

The retreat will distill the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius and other spiritual fathers and mothers into a routine you can put into your everyday life. Deacon Scott Gilfillan, using his usual engaging presentation style and hands-on examples, will guide you through several spiritual exercises which you’ll practice during the retreat and carry with you into the New Year.

Hearing the ‘Trainer’s’ Voice

In the spiritual life, the question constantly surfaces, “Whose voice is that speaking to me?” Saint Iganation in his wisdom laid out 14 Rules for the Discernment of Spirit. The Good Spirit draws us toward God, the Bad Spirits draw us away. This session will help you discern which Spirit is speaking and guide you toward picking out the “trainer’s” voice from all of the other voices in your life.

Breaking through the Spiritual “Wall”

Marathon runners talk about hitting the ‘wall’, a point in the race where all energy and motivation vanish. In the spiritual life, this is called ‘desolation’. Many saints have written about their time in spiritual desolation, and have crafted strategies to guide a person through his or her own desolation back into a period of consolation. You’ll be invited to learn from these masters.

Imaging the “Shot”

In sports like golf or tennis, coaches will tell the player to imagine where the shot is going… and then put it there. Imagination is a powerful tool, not just in sports but in the spiritual life. Participants will be guided into scriptural scenes and learn how to use their imagination and see where God is guiding them.

Reviewing your ‘Game’

A powerful spiritual practice is the Examen. Just like an athlete striving for excellence reviews the play of the previous game, a person striving for excellence in their spiritual life is going to review the movements of the Holy Spirit throughout the day. The practice is called the Examen. You’ll learn some different approaches to using this to enrich and deepen your interior life.

Creating an Exercise Plan

In the spiritual life, the equivalent of an exercise plan is called a “Rule of Life”. Saint Benedict created such a rule for his monks 1500 years ago, and the practice of creating a Rule of Life has been adopted by lay and religious throughout the centuries. Entering the New Year with your own Rule of Life will help keep you on track with your own spiritual exercise plan throughout the year.

Exceptional Retreat Atmosphere

Indoor and outdoor reflection areas

In addition to the engaging sessions, there will be plenty of time to pray and reflect upon the words and 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 a long hike to Baker Mountain Park. Added to the outdoor space, there is a horseshoe pit, a bonfire, and even some corn-hole boards.

Great retreat lodging and fine dining

The lodging rooms were fully renovated in 2015. Each room has two full-sized beds and a private bath. Our dining area has an exceptionally qualified full-time chef with a wide range of culinary expertise. 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 in the retreat, there will be several scheduled hours of Adoration and Mass. The chapel is open all night for those who want to have a more intimate encounter with the Lord. There will also be opportunities to share your faith with others during social times, and during small and large group discussions.

A Retreat Schedule Just for You

Friday, December 29Optional extra day
2:00 PMEarly Check-in for people spending an extra day
6:30 PMDinner for those who made reservations
Saturday, December 30
8:00 AMContinental Breakfast for the people spending an extra day
12:00 PMLunch for people spending an extra day
10:00 AM to 4:30 PMCheck-in. Confessions. Spiritual Direction
4:30 PMVigil Mass – Feast of the Holy Family
5:30 PMSocial
6:00 PMDinner
7:00 PM1st Exercise: Listening to the Trainer’s Voice. The Discernment of Spirits
8:30 PM Night Prayer
Sunday, December 31
7:00 AMAdoration and Morning Prayer
8:00 AMBreakfast
9:00 AM2nd Exercise: Breaking through the “Spiritual Wall”. Consolation and Desolation
11:00 AM3rd Exercise: Imaging the Shot. Imagination in Scripture
12:00 PMLunch
1:00 PM4th Exercise: Reviewing your game. The Examen
4:30 PM5th Exercise: A Spiritual Exercise Plan. Creating a Rule of Life. Free -time
6:00 PMSocial
6:30 PMBanquet Dinner
7:30 PMNew Year’s Eve Activities
11:00 PMAdoration and Benediction for the New Year
Sunday, January 1
8:00 AMBreakfast
9:00 AMExamen for the New Year
10:00 AMHoly Mass: Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
11:00 AMResolutions

Meet your retreat master

Deacon Scott D. Gilfillan

Ordained as a Catholic deacon in 2001, he has a wide range of experience facilitating groups and leading retreats for parishes, RCIA programs, and deacon candidates. For many years, he was the director of the deacon formation for the Diocese of Charlotte, assisting and guiding deacon candidates and their wives in discernment and formation. He has met all of the certification requirements in spiritual direction through Divine Mercy University, an institution of higher learning specializing in educating Catholic psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and spiritual directors. He currently is an adjunct to their spiritual direction residencies. As director of the Catholic Conference Center, he has devoted much of his time to spiritual direction, facilitating workshops, and leading retreats. Past retreats and workshops have included “Advent with Saint Ignatius”, “A Retreat with the Angels”, “Rediscovering Catholic Spirituality”, “Taken, Blessed, Broken, and Shared”, and “How to Discern the Will of God”, plus a popular series of workshops called “Date Night with a Saint”. (see comments on past retreats). He enjoys writing, is a guest author for, and shares many of his spiritual insights on his blog, My Morning Reflections.

Sacramental Support

Fr. Amaro Saumell

Fr. Amaro Saumell has a very interesting journey to the priesthood from his early career as a nightclub entertainer. He will be the celebrant for Mass on the vigil for the Feast of the Holy Family, and on the Feast of Mary, Mother of God. Fr. Amaro will also hear confessions Saturday afternoon. Fr. Amaro is retired and currently supports several local parishes.


Our retreat has sold out. We may have some last-minute cancellations. Let us know if you’d like to be notified at

Registration for the retreat includes two nights, all retreat fees, and full-course meals from Saturday dinner through Monday morning, The retreat price is as follows:

  • Shared room (two persons per room): $290 per person
  • Single, one person per room: $360.

Add a 3rd night on Friday, December 29 for just $50. Includes lodging, breakfast snacks, and a light lunch.

Cancellation Policy: A full refund will be granted up to two weeks before the retreat.