Mission Statement: Mount St. Francis is a retreat centre nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where all are welcome in the name of Christ. The Franciscan Friars, inspired by the vision and example of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi, in collaboration with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary and many other loyal supporters, have served in this spiritual centre of peace, healing and prayer since its foundation in 1949. Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre is a sponsored ministry of the Franciscans of Canada. For more information, see www.fransciscanfriars.ca.
Susan Campbell was appointed the Director of Mount St. Francis in 2015. Born in Edmonton, she grew up in various parts of Canada and the U.S. She has a MTh. and M.A. Religious Studies. She completed the Spiritual Direction Training Program from the F.C.J. Centre in 2017. Before coming to the Mount, she served for 35 years in both parish and diocesan ministry in adult faith formation. She is also a trainer for Returning to Spirit, an organization initiated to heal the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools in Canada. A single lay woman, she provides spiritual direction and listens to 5th steps. “Retreat ministry, for me, is a privileged place to encounter God’s deep desire to touch our lives and hearts.”
Father Dan Gurnick, OFM. I grew up on an acreage near Rocky Mountain House, AB, with an older sister and a young-er brother. After high school, I did many different types of works such as: sawmill worker, oil patch worker, paintball field owner/operator (the number 47 in my email address email@example.com is from the number I wore on my paintball jersey), landlord, construction worker and support worker for the mentally disabled. I received an Architectural technolo-gy diploma from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Despite all these occupations and architectural diploma my heart longed for something more meaningful. After studying for the diocese of Edmonton for one year and a trip to Peru, I found my self on the doorstep of the Franciscans of Western Canada. I was in Franciscan formation and studies for six years before making my solemn profession in August 2009. The highlights of these six years were: learning more about the Christian faith through theological studies, working at the Mustard Seed Church in Edmonton , prison chaplaincy, and learning how to play the hand drum and guitar. Recently I started writing songs. In January 2010, I was ordained a priest and served at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Sherwood Park, AB, as an associate pastor. One of my main focuses was connecting with nine Catholic schools through music and various presentations. I am in my fourth year as a formation director for men in the early stages of Franciscan discernment and formation. I also served at Sacred Heart Parish in Victoria and organized and led a Franciscans and Friends youth group. Franciscans and Friends inspires young people to fall in love with God through prayer, friendships, outreach to the poor, hiking and guest speakers. In August 2016, I moved to Mount St. Francis and joined the retreat team. I play music, speak at schools and help out with maintenance at the Mount. I enjoy weight training, sharing a message about Christ and hiking, especially in the Rocky Mountains.
Father Kevin Lynch, OFM, was born in the Peace River Country of Northern Alberta (McLennan). Called to be a Franciscan as a young student at St. Anthony’s College, Edmonton, Alberta, he was ordained in 1962 after studies in Montreal and Ottawa. He taught senior high school science, math and religion with the Edmonton Catholic Schools before becoming Director of Religious Education for that District (1973-95) and served as Head of the Franciscans of Western Canada (1982-92).
Presently Kevin feels blessed to work in his own Order’s Retreat Centre in Cochrane, Alberta, in a ministry dear to his heart. Prior to 13 years at Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre (Cochrane) he spent 11 years in St. Michael’s Retreat Centre in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, where he chaired an inter-church board (Anglican, Evangelical Lutheran and Roman Catholic) that operated the Centre. Retreat ministry allows him the “soul space” to name the God of Jesus Christ in many ways.
Father Robert Mitchell, OFM. Born in North Bay, Ontario, educated there and in Parry Sound, Ontario, Father Bob studied at the University of Western Ontario in London. For some of the years he was involved in teaching. Fr. Bob came west to join the Franciscans. He has served in retreat ministry both at Mount St. Francis and, St. Michael’s Retreat Centre in Lumsden, SK. He has been at the Mount since 1994. For many years he has been, and continues to be, a legendary preacher of retreats and spiritual director.
Friar Michael Perras, OFM. Born and raised in Saskatchewan. The oldest of four. Learned about serving the community growing up in a grocery store in a small rural community with lots of extended family nearby. Loves being an Uncle and a Godfather. Enjoys Christmas, learning from the lives of the saints, being creative in the kitchen, a good run, a good song and setting a good table for celebrations. Can be found writing early in the morning or tinkering in the chapel throughout the day.
Prior to joining the Franciscans served in various communities as a Youth Minister and Pastoral Assistant. Holds Certificates in Youth Ministry, Lay Ministry, Liturgical Studies, and Spiritual Direction along with a Bachelor of Theology degree. Solemnly Professed Friar since August 2019.
Father Louis Geelan, OFM. Born and raised in the south end of the Turner Valley oilfield. He met the Franciscans for the first time while attending the first men’s retreat at the newly constructed Mount St. Francis in August of 1949. He joined the Franciscans and was ordained in 1961 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Calgary. Almost 60 years a priest, he has served in parishes and various ministries, including retreat work, across Western Canada. Fr. Louis’ classmate refers to him as “the most beloved friar in the land.”
Deb is the Administrative Assistant and is responsible for Bookings and Reception. She comes with many years of office experience in the schools and the energy sector. She has been a staff member since 2011.
Tin is the accountant for Mount St. Francis. She also maintains our mailing lists and oversees the charitable giving records. She started in 2009 and brings many years experience in the financial field.
Jason is the head chef and oversees the kitchen staff. He obtained his Red Seal certification from the culinary program at SAIT. He comes with many years experience in the restaurant industry. He has been the lead in our kitchen since 2012.
Saveria has been at the Mount since 2006. In addition to cooking wonderful meals, she does much of the baking ensuring that there are homemade breads and goodies for all our retreats.
Paul joined the Mount in 2014. He, too, received his Red Seal certification from SAIT and brings many years experience in restaurants and professional kitchens.
Housekeeping and Maintenance Staff
Johanne and Ruth have served in housekeeping for over a decade. They are very particular about keeping the rooms and facilities clean and tidy.
Herwynn has served as maintenance manager since 2016. He monitors all the mechanical systems of the plant and stays on top of the general repairs, maintenance and groundskeeping.