Grateful Friends & Testimonials

Spreading Goodwill through Service to Groups

More than 18,000 guests come to the Franciscan Renewal Center each year for meetings or conferences with their employer, non-profit or other service-minded organization. We are pleased that so many leave  happy and refreshed to go back out into the world, improving their communities. Helping others serve this world is essential to our mission and we do it with joy! What can we do for you?

Casa Meetings Testimonials

We had a fantastic visit. What a marvelous place. I was especially enchanted by the doves. And the labyrinth. And the cactus blooms. And the wide sky. And the jasmine, the foxgloves, the roses, the murals and shrines. And did I mention the food? And, of course, the doves.
Warmly,
Linda

 

 

Hi Sue,
The Mass and dinner went really well last evening. Everyone praised the music selections, and of course, Brian’s beautiful voice. Dinner was delicious. The fish was melt-in-your-mouth wonderful, and the room was beautiful and service
top notch.
Thanks for everything,
Nancy

 

Good morning Sue,
Oh MY GOD doesn’t cover it. We had the most beautiful, loving, spiritual, calming Women’s Retreat ever. From the second we parked our cars, you, and your very capable staff did everything you could to make us feel welcomed. We needed for nothing.The surveys are not all in but the ones we have looked over are glowing with compliments about the Franciscan Renewal Center. What everyone found most surprising was the privacy we felt even though there were several other functions going on.I also found it amazing when I informed the ladies that only 11 people at a time could go into the Chapel that they organized themselves to make sure everyone got in to the Chapel.The gathering in the Church just made everything blend so well. It was peaceful and yet full of happiness, and love.I just can’t tell you how much we appreciated all your hard word and willingness to make our retreat so successful and your being available Saturday was so very generous.Thank you again, Sue, for giving us a wonderful place to hold our retreat and to see God in a different way.
God bless,
Loretta Madden
and the Committee of Our Lady of the Valley and St. Raphael

 

Thank you, Indra.
Want you to know I have really enjoyed working with you.  You helped make planning easy and efficient. Our group had a wonderful retreat and sincerely appreciated the Renewal Center accommodations.  Any staff members I encountered were friendly and helpful.  Everything was in place as promised in our meeting room.  Sleeping rooms and dining experience proved to be beyond our expectations.
Here are some comments from our follow-up survey.
-I loved the Franciscan Center: the rooms were first rate, as well as the food.
-I loved the gardens there….
-I really liked the accommodations (the bed was very comfy), the meals were also great.
-Loved the labyrinth experience.
-… dining facilities more conscious with  higher quality, variety and presentation of food
The Franciscan Center was superior. All accommodations were outstanding including the food. The grounds were great this time of year. I had never walked a labyrinth before.  A very sacred experience for me.
Love and blessings,
Diane

 

Good morning Sue,
We cannot tell you how many surveys came back yet since they are still coming in but the word most used by the ladies is AWESOME. Not one negative response. I feel the 12:30 lunch was the best choice for us. The ladies had NO problem on the lines; they were all able to sit with their friends; there was plenty of hot food and seconds were just as plentiful. SO many ladies want his recipes on all the foods he served. His bread is from heaven. The servers for lack of a better word were on the spot ready, willing and very able to do whatever it took to help us. No sooner was a tray empty that another tray was on its way through the doors. The Chef’s choice of food had everyone thrilled and the ladies felt he cared about them in picking just the right menu. The ladies didn’t want to leave the cafeteria. I would personally like to thank the Chef for allowing me to go off Weight Watchers just to eat his excellent and most delicious LEMON BARS. I believe as many do that God gives us a special talent and making people smile, relax, and enjoy others company over a delicious meal is certainly the talent God gave to Chef Zamora. Please let him know we prayed for Him and HIS staff.
God bless and thanks for the extra pounds,
Loretta Madden
and the Committee of Our Lady of the Valley and St. Raphael

 

Dear Sue,
So sorry for the late response.  It was our pleasure to work with you.  We were very much impressed how organized everything was.  You were very accommodating to all our request and made it easy for all the Facilitators.  The bedrooms were clean and well organized.  We were also very much impressed how well organized the distribution of keys.  All information needed were inside the envelope and made it easy for everyone to find their bedrooms. The food was great.
Thank you so much for everything.  We are looking forward to working with you again next year for our 3rd Aspirant Retreat in June 2014.
God bless,
Rey & Mary Ann Conopio
BLD – Phoenix

 

Dear Sue and Friends at The Casa,
Once again our Fresh Start team just returned from a wonderful training event held at the Franciscan Renewal Center. I continue to be impressed by how you and your team make the place more beautiful and welcoming each time we visit. From your attention to detail upon our first planning discussions through the last goodbye, our needs were met again and again. The meeting spaces were clean and properly arranged, the food was delicious, our rooms were comfortable, and each time we had a special request you responded with prompt attention. This kind of service and your ministry of hospitality are what make us return to FRC each year. Our participants raved about the beauty of your gardens, the serenity of the desert nooks, and the kind service you extended to us all.Thank you for taking such good care of us. We look forward to being with you again.
Peace,
Lynn
Episcopal Fresh Start

 

The beauty of the Franciscan Renewal Center begins in the hearts of the people who serve there. Yes, the mountains and the sunshine are wonderful and restorative but the sweet spirit of those who create the welcome and hospitality makes a stay especially relaxing and re-energizing. Implicit in the retreat center’s grace are the gracious leaders and those who live and work there.
— Rev. Kim Gage Ryan
Co-Director, The Bethany Fellowships
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

 

Please know that our group thoroughly enjoyed The Casa, the facilities, the food, the helpfulness of the staff; our luck in being present during your Art Walk… what a wonderful event! The property is beautiful and full of peace. We look forward to future gatherings at The Casa.
— Pam Fern
Province 8 Leadership Conference

 

This conference was one for the record books for our organization. Besides being the best attended, best financial success… it was the deepest, most profound and powerful spiritual experience for our attendees. I truly thank you for the loving consciousness that you and everyone at The Casa provides. You are all awesome!!
— Kim Yalda
Affiliated New Thought Network

 

It’s rare that a person can say that a spiritual community can altered the course of a life into the path of Agape love. This statement is true for me. The FRC has fed me spiritually and emotionally for more than 20 years. I am grateful for the quality of life I’ve grown into and feel so blessed for the many times Christ’s hands and feet moved through the staff in this Community to help raise the level of compassion and love in our larger Community. Thank you FRC for the journey and the direction.
— Silvana Smith
Special Closed Retreat

 

The Renewal Center is my first choice when it comes to holding events. The staff is very accommodating, the food is excellent, and the space is literally “holy and sacred.” We have been received as part of the family.
— Carmen Guerrero
Episcopal Diocese of AZ

 

Having looked for several years for adequate facilities for various sized groups, small to large, when I found the Franciscan Renewal Center, I felt as though I had come home….good food, more than adequate housing, wonderful location in a beautiful setting…and did I mention the food? The administration has always been hospitable to deal with. I have been a frequent user of this very fine facility and can recommend the Franciscan Renewal Center unreservedly to any group.
— Bill Starr
Southwest Leadership

 

The FRC was the perfect facility for our Conference. The staff was both pleasant to work with and very responsive. The rooms were set up as requested and everything was flawless. We also liked working with you and Edel, because of your flexibility you went above and beyond the call of duty. Needless to say the setting was very pastoral. The bottom line is because of the experience we had we plan to hold future events at the FRC and look at this weekend’s Conference as the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship!
— Rev. Cathy
Fountain of Life Church

 

This is the first time we will be returning to a retreat center for another conference – the other two places we tried just couldn’t compare to the quality of your staff and facilities. I’m really looking forward to January, and the winter hasn’t even begun here!
— Yvonne

 

I wanted to compliment you on your Director of Meetings, Sue Force. I have been working with her to plan our retreat for over 6 months now. Sue is professional, courteous, and very prompt. It is a pleasure doing business with Sue. It’s rare these days to find someone who enjoys her work, especially when you know that fact through her actions.
— Yoli Johnson
The Bridge Church Director of Women’s Ministries

 

I want to send you the feedback I have received from attendees at the recent Retreat for the League of States implementing the Infant Mental Health Endorsement. I think Sue probably has it recorded under Infant Toddler Mental Health Coalition of Arizona. Some background info: The League is composed of representatives from 14 states around the country, including Arizona and from Connecticutt to Alaska, Minnesota to Texas. 52 of these representatives gathered at the Casa Dec. 6-7 for a day and a half retreat. Uniformly, these comments were heard during the retreat itself, and repeated again throughout the following week:

  • The Casa is a PERFECT spot for this Retreat! The grounds are peaceful and inspiring–and it is so nice to be able to be outside! (Many participants went on to the Desert Ridge Marriott for another 3 days of a conference. All day inside a monstrous hotel, espcially in the delightful weather of December in Phoenix, was not fun.)
  • The food is great and the dining room tables encourage us to talk with each other.
  • I’ve never seen tangerines growing on a tree–is that what they are?
  • The staff, especially the grounds people, are so pleasant, helpful, and respectful. They did not interupt our meetings with the leaf blower or other landscape equipment, even tho’ we could hear that they were working on other places on the property.

One person sought me out to say she understood that the Casa is my church. I confirmed that. Then she said, “I came to Mass each morning. Your parishioners are so warm and welcoming. What a neat place!” I confirmed that.
I did hear a couple comments about needing the little bottles of shampoo. I did not realize I could have gotten some from the office for those people. Most brought shampoo, but the airlines make such a process these days about bringing in toiletries, it might be nice to stock little bottles–or have a note about their availability in the office. Meetings would also be a bit easier at the Casa if the rooms could be set up with projectors and a sound system.
And finally, I want to tell you how helpful Sue Force was throughout the planning and actual days of the Retreat. Joan and Bro Tito at the front desk were also pleasant and helpful, despite my many requests and questions. Franciscan hospitality lives at the Casa!
THANKS!
— Mary G. Warren, PhD, IMH-E® (IV)
Never Shake A Baby Arizona Coordinator
Prevent Child Abuse Arizona

 

Our time at the FRC was amazing and you were a key to that. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your patience, for the way you were so willing to serve and for making us feel like family. God worked in our midst in powerful ways and we owe a big part of that to our dear family at the FRC! May God continue to bless and guide your life in profound ways!
— Mark D. Baker
Missions Door

 

Several years ago I was invited to a Christ Renews His Parish weekend retreat held at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. At the time I did not know that the facilities were open to non-profit organizations of all faiths. I did not know that the grounds and exceptional hospitality were available to not only governmental entities and educational groups, but also to programs focused on uplifting humanity. I thought I would be experiencing a strictly Catholic Retreat Center.

I remember when I first arrived at the Center how peaceful and serene the grounds were. I can still smell the fresh garden air. I can still hear the birds singing in their southwestern desert habitat. I can even still feel the breeze on my face as I walked in the calmness and serenity of a pristine garden. At the time I was at a crossroads in my life’s journey. I was moving from one way of life to another. The atmosphere of the retreat center allowed the inner voice of my creator to speak to me and help me to prepare for the changes to come.

The retreat itself was spiritually uplifting. At the time I was in need of Catholic spiritual healing. I remember having Mass in an outdoor setting. I remember praying the rosary in a way that I had never prayed it before. Not only do I feel that I grew closer to my faith, but I also grew closer to my fellow retreat partners. The Casa was instrumental in providing the opportunity for that to occur.

The accommodations at the center were nothing less than perfect. Sitting on 25 acres of groomed southwest landscape, situated near the major metropolitan city of Phoenix, Arizona and within the city limits of Scottsdale. I felt as if I had stepped into place carved out by my maker. The staff were friendly and helpful. I remember those in charge of seeing to our needs were always willing to lend a hand. We weren’t just “guest”, we were family. I recall the friendly voice of staff members, and I remember their smiles. I remember their sincere desire to help me to feel at home.

The Center was home for me for a weekend. Home consisted of 14 meeting rooms, 54 sleeping rooms and family style dining rooms where I enjoyed several satisfying buffet-style meals. Even the dining arrangements aided in cultivating friendships that I hold dear to this day. I remember relaxing at the swimming pool with the heated therapy spa. I remember spending hours walking in the Labrinth and Healing Garden. I remember a place where I felt at home.

I think one of the best outcomes of my time at the “Casa de Paz Bien” was my ability to focus on my direction and aspects of my life that I could build on. One of the advantages of the Casa is world distractions are taken away. When distractions are removed from your life, it is possible to become more productive, and more focused. Every non-profit organization should take this opportunity. For me the retreat itself was very positive. It was positive because of the environment that the center provides. My experience at the Franciscan Renewal center allowed me to put my life on a positive track, and I will always be grateful for the wonderful moments that the center provided.

From that time in my life I have come forward. But to this day I continue to make what I call pilgrimages to a special place. The grounds themselves are open, the calmness of the atmosphere never fails to touch my heart. I invite every non-profit group to experience this wonderful place. Come to the Franciscan Renewal Center, connect with the spirit of St. Francis. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a place to hold a Catholic retreat, or you are a non-profit organization looking for impeccable hospitality. At the Catholic renewal center you will feel the love, dedication, and hospitality of a group of people who truly care about being part of your positive event.

I just want you to know how much I appreciated my experience.
Sincerely,
Patrick K. Williams

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