Our History

Journey Through Time: Unveiling Our Rich Heritage

Bishop Joseph Patrick Lynch acquired 17 acres in the 1940’s, including a home for unwed mothers which was converted into St. Joseph Home for Girls. In the mid-50’s the St. Joseph Residence was built on four acres, and in the 70’s the orphanage was converted into St. Joseph Youth Center with construction of the present buildings financed by money from the Collins estate. The youth facility was closed in 1993. It was then decided by the Diocese to use the site to relocate the Catholic Formation Center and renamed it Catholic Conference and Formation Center. Refurbishing began in November 1993 and was completed in February 1994.

In November 2022 the Catholic Conference and Formation Center was renamed Saint Raphael Retreat Center. The name Saint Raphael Retreat Center was chosen because it reflects rich Catholic
tradition, honors the name of a mighty Archangel and brings a timely message of renewal,
hope, and healing. Saint Raphael is a name unique within the Diocese of Dallas as no parish,
school or Catholic organization has claimed it. Saint Raphael is a name that is easy to recall,
a name that sounds good both in English and Spanish.

Of Hebrew origin, Raphael’s name means “God Has Healed” or “Medicine of God.” In the
Old Testament Book of Tobit, Raphael plays a prominent role as a guide, messenger, and
facilitator for healing. Archangel Raphael serves as the patron of healing and is known for
healing in mind, body, and spirit. He is also the patron of happy meetings, travelers, the blind,
nurses, physicians, medical workers, Christian marriage, and Catholic study. Raphael was
one of the three Archangels (along with Michael and Gabriel) whom the Church sainted.

In transitioning from the Catholic Conference and Formation Center to Saint Raphael Retreat Center, the words “conference and formation” were not included in the new name because the Retreat Center will be open not only for spiritual retreats and conferences but also education programs, one-day meetings, non-profit expos, training, faith formation activities, family reunions, and special events. Continued
programs at the Retreat Center include Diaconate Formation, ACTS Missions retreats,
marriage preparation, parish staff conferences and youth programs.