St. Anthony Retreat is a retreat and conference center of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno that is located in Three Rivers. It was founded in 1955 by the Franciscans of the Santa Barbara Province, who wanted to provide a place of prayer and reflection for people of Central California. By chance, Franciscan friar Fr. Gregory Wooler, OFM, met Dan Alles, a local rancher at the Three Rivers post office and asked him if he knew a good place for a retreat center. The rancher led him to the present site.
Construction began in 1959 and was completed in 1963. Built in the contemporary Franciscan Mission style, today St. Anthony Retreat provides a comfortable, peaceful and naturally beautiful setting for individual and group retreats, as well as both religious and secular conferences and gatherings, with meetings space, dining, and overnight accommodations for up to 100 guests.
The retreat center is located on sixty acres of land overlooking the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River four miles from the entrance to Sequoia National Park. At an elevation of 1,250 feet St. Anthony Retreat enjoys year round access, well below the snow line. The grounds include beautifully landscaped gardens and courtyards, an outdoor stations of the cross, magnificent views of the Sierra Nevada high country and its snow covered mountains, as well as 60 acres of walking trails through open grasslands and blue oak woodlands that host a variety of animals, birds, and plants that are native to the Upper Sonoran Zone.
Of special interest is the magnificent 12' x 48' wood mural of the Sierra Nevada's "Great Western Divide" that graces the sanctuary of the large chapel. Designed by Fr. John Griesbach and built by artist Peter Doyle, it is made of natural woods from around the world, and was installed in 2008.
St. Anthony retreat is a spiritual oasis for people of all ages for individual and group retreats. Visitors are welcome anytime between 9:00a.m. and 5:00p.m. Reservations are needed for retreat accommodations and meals.