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About Sanctum

Are you looking for a home away from home in which to foster a sense of connection for yourself, your community or your organization? Is your vision to seek a space away from the pace to find calm and clarity, surrounding yourself in nature, where you can breathe in deeply and take the time to rejuvenate, both individually and collectively? Sanctum Retreat was founded with that vision in mind, attuned to the need of the human heart in this fast-paced world of ours.

Established in 2004, Sanctum is a unique facility of service – of spacious and simple elegance – nestled on a pristine 100-acre parcel of woodlands and open fields, with a spring-fed river flowing through it. It is home away from home for many who, year after year, take the time apart to reconnect, reflecting on their unique stories and dreaming their futures forward.

Sanctum serves a variety of groups, including faith communities and all those who serve the common good.   Along with supporting spiritual growth, we are also privileged to welcome, facilitate and host educational programs and retreats, accommodating charitable organizations as well as both the public and private sectors. Mindful of the diverse needs of our guests, we honour the dignity of all those who grace our space. It would be a privilege to welcome you too.

Sanctum Retreat – A Registered Charity                       #85976 1678 RR0001


  • 40 elegant individual rooms – 13 Singles, 10 Doubles, and 17 Queens
  • Large enchanting conference room overlooking the Raven River – seats 100
  • Sacred Chapel – seats 50
  • Solarium Dining Room – seats 60
  • A cozy library lounge with fireplace.
  • Several private breakout rooms 
  • 3 rustic heritage cabins

Meals and Dietary Concerns

Sanctum prides itself on its high-end meal service prepared by extensively experienced cooks and chefs. As much as possible, every attempt is made to accommodate special dietary concerns, with notice a minimum of two weeks prior, so as to provide our kitchen staff sufficient time to adequately prepare for your stay with us. Please contact Sanctum by email to discuss special needs.


Nestled on 100 acres of rolling foothills near Caroline, Alberta, the retreat grounds are a blend of groomed trails and mature forest inviting exploration.

The stations of the cross meanders a winding path along the banks of the Raven River. Many an opportunity awaits in celebration of God’s handiwork of creation.


Sanctum has a generous and modern non-lending library available to retreatants during their stay with us.

CD Recordings

Kristoph and Mariette have sold over 50, 000 musical and guided meditation recordings. Several CDs are available at the retreat and on iTunes – Kristoph Franz and Mariette Dobrowolski.

“Kristoph and Mariette have a true gift.” – John Michael Talbot

Handicap Access

The facility is equipped with wheelchair access, washroom facilities and sleep accommodations to assist you in your stay with us. If special assistance is required, we encourage the accompaniment of a care-giver to provide necessary care during your stay. Please identify your special needs when registering so as to ensure accommodation availability.


Retreats are coordinated through the generous support of captains who provide necessary information. For weekend retreats, make reservations with captains whose names and phone numbers are provided after each retreat scheduled under “Upcoming Retreats”.

Ideal for executive corporate retreats, visioning, planning, re-focussing, deepening staff relations, corporate restructuring, corporate appreciation retreats, corporate spiritual and psychological wellness, leadership seminars, annual conferences, staff meetings, special meetings, family reunions, and so on. Though Sanctum has many booked regular retreats, there are time slots available for booking this stunning facility to host private or corporate events – especially weekdays. The retreat team is also available if there is a need for graphic facilitation for corporate visioning. For such private functions, a fireplace, hiking, and excellent fly fishing is available.

Sanctum Retreat is a centre for spirituality open to all denominations and faiths.

The Retreat Team

Kristoph Franz Dobrowolski – Sanctum Founder and Executive Director


  • Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies – Comparative Religions
  • Bachelor of Education
  • Masters in Theology – Spirituality and Scripture (Studies in Israel)
  • Doctor of Clinical Pastoral Psychology (Psy.D.)

Experience and Formation

  • Founder and Executive Director of Sanctum Retreat since 2004
  • Sessional Professor at University of Theology and Spirituality – Spiritual Care Association
  • Training in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
  • Registered Psychotherapist and Trained Gottman Leader
  • Director of Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs, Calgary
  • Dean of Religious Studies and Chaplain at Notre Dame in Calgary, Alberta
  • Dean of Religious Studies at St. Mary’s in Calgary, Alberta
  • Twenty-five years of Retreat Ministry Experience


Kristoph began his professional career as a recording artist and an actor.

After a powerful spiritual awakening in Europe, Kristoph sold everything he had and went off to become a franciscan brother. He entered the Franciscan Friars of Western Canada and spent a year in noviciate discerning if he was called to a life of priesthood and celibacy. It became clear during this time that he was indeed being called to serve, but not as a celibate. He married, and went on to study theology, philosophy, and counselling psychology.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Bachelor of Education from the University of Winnipeg, Kristoph received full scholarship to complete a Masters Degree in Theology with the concentration in Spirituality and Scripture from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota – including Jerusalem Studies in Israel. Following several years of counselling and preaching in full-time retreat ministry at Mount St. Francis Retreat, Kristoph enrolled as a student in the Doctor of Ministry program for a few years at St. Stephen’s College at the University of Alberta, but instead of writing a dissertation on retreat ministry, he withdrew from the program to focus on the actual building and founding of a new spiritual retreat – Sanctum Retreat – for which he received an honorary Ph.D. While continuing in his role as Founder and Executive Director of Sanctum Retreat and Foundation (a registered charity), Kristoph has graduated with a Doctor of Psychology degree from the Graduate Theological – affiliate of Oxford.

With over 25 years of retreat ministry experience, Kristoph has also acted as Dean of Religion at St. Mary’s and Notre Dame in Calgary, as well as Director of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the Diocese of Calgary.

As a composer and recording artist, Kristoph continues to use his musical gifts to produce recordings designed to help one in spiritual growth – with over 50,000 sold.

Mariette Ellen Dobrowolski – Sanctum Foundress and Ministry Director


  • Bachelor of Arts in English and Literature
  • Bachelor of Education
  • MA in Theology – Systematics and Moral Theology (Studies in Israel)
  • Doctoral Studies in Clinical Pastoral Psychology –
    Graduate Theological.

Experience and Formation

  • Foundress and Executive Director of Sanctum Retreat – established 2004
  • 8 years of Full-time Retreat Ministry at Mount St. Francis Retreat
  • 16 years of classroom and chaplaincy experience in junior and senior high
  • Member of the Secular Franciscan Order (sfo)
  • Author of guided meditation recordings for Christian prayer and 12 step groups.

Board of Directors