Saint Raphael Retreat Center Partners with Complete Land sculpture
Fall Tree on the Campus of Saint Raphael Retreat Center in Oak Cliff
Fall Tree on the Campus of Saint Raphael Retreat Center in Oak Cliff

to Launch Living Legacy Plant-a-Tree Gift Program

Canopy of 100 Trees to Boost Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship

Saint Raphael Retreat Center (formerly Catholic Conference and Formation Center) in Oak Cliff today announced the Leave a Living Legacy program, in alliance with its first community partner Complete Landsculpture, to plant up to 100 trees on the 13-acre complex as tribute or in memoriam. Participants may plant a tree to celebrate a special event or as a gift in memory of or to honor a friend or loved one. Or to give a gift of green to show appreciation for nature. 

“We extend hospitality and interfaith service in a welcoming place for reflection, hope, and healing. A canopy of trees will beautify our campus and offer natural shade, solace, and serenity,” said Bertha de Bastiani, Director of Saint Raphael Retreat Center. “This community partnership is important for interconnectivity, education, and environmental stewardship. The team at Complete Landsculpture will help us enhance our 13-acre campus with attention to tree diversity, soil preparation, water conservation, and natural beauty.”

Occasions for commemoration through tribute trees include a new birth, milestone birthday, in memoriam, marriage encounter, wedding, anniversary, graduation, meaningful retreat, diaconate program, to honor a service member, or in appreciation for nature. Participants will have the opportunity to choose tree type, color of flowering trees, and location for their tribute tree. The individual or corporate contributions will include planting, tree maintenance, a dedication stone, a certificate of planting, and a personalized card. Options for tree selection include oak, elm, redbud, willow, cherry laurel, crepe myrtle, red maple, and magnolia.

“A variety of trees will provide many natural benefits – for clear air, habitat for birds and wildlife, and outdoor beauty,” said Chris Strempek, founder and president of Complete

Landsculpture. “Our alliance with Saint Raphael’s allows us to showcase our capabilities with unique design, installation, maintenance, and management to create an outdoor oasis for guests’ enjoyment at the retreat center. A lush outdoor living space supports the mission of St. Raphael’s to promote spiritual enrichment in a welcoming environment. It is by God’s design that we can reconnect people with elements of nature.”

Saint Raphael Retreat Center launched nearly 30 years ago with two initiatives – diaconate formation and marriage encounter weekends. De Bastiani notes some married couples came to pre-Cana marriage preparation at the retreat center nearly three decades ago, planting the seed to grow in faith and abiding love. “Now they are celebrating their pearl jubilee anniversary and will have the opportunity to plant a tree in honor of their steadfast love and commitment,” she says. “Since 1994, we have expanded with many purposeful programs that inspire personal growth, spiritual enrichment, servant leadership, and the desire to live out God’s purpose.”

The new name of Saint Raphael Retreat Center was announced last November. Archangel Raphael serves as the patron of healing, happy meetings, travelers, the blind, nurses, physicians, medical workers, Christian marriage, and Catholic study. The signature color of Saint Raphael and the Retreat Center is emerald green. De Bastiani adds, “Enhancing the landscaping at the retreat center with green trees and budding bushes lends nicely to the theme of wellness, healing, and interconnectivity.”