Creating space within the soul, through the natural beauty, the silence, and the profound prayer moments to discover ever new mysteries of God, who is present.

For those who are searching for ​meaning and purpose to ​encounter the Eucharistic Lord.

To provide retreats that cater for ​all age groups and minisrty groups. ​To provide healing retreats for ​individuals, couples and families. ​To provide discernment retreats. ​To provide a venue for retreats ​and conferences for churches

History of Good Shepherd Retreat Centre

Good Shepherd Retreat Centre is situated in the shadow of the Magaliesberg, giving visitors to this area a timeless backdrop from which to contemplate our present existence in the light of our eternal God.

The landscape has a rich biodiversity, the Aloe peglerae and Firthia pulchra being unique to the area, and has more than 400 bird species.

Hartbeespoort or Schoemansrust, as it was previously known, has many associations with the Anglo-Boer War at the turn of the 20th century, however, the most ​significant event in the history of the neighbourhood was the building of the Hartbeespoort Dam. The construction of the present dam began in 1920 and was ​completed in 1923. Today the ‘dam’ is the most significant feature in the region.

Good Shepherd Retreat Centre, was once Schoeman Round House, which is currently the dining hall in the Centre. Johan Hendrik Schoeman (born 18th March 1887 ​and died 25th January 1967) was the sixth child born to General Hendrik Schoeman by his second wife. Johan redeemed the farm in Hartbeespoort from his father’s ​bankrupt estate with borrowed money. The government of the day expropriated his farm to build Hartbeespoort Dam. Long before the dam was completed in 1923 ​Johan knew that he and his family would have to abandon his traditional family home, Schoemansrust. The farmhouse lay on the banks of the Crocodile River facing ​the poort (gate/entrance) which is a result of one of the geological faults in the Magaliesberg range. Johan Schoeman, chose a site on the mountainside facing the Dam ​and at a height higher than the dam wall commanding a panoramic view of the waters now covering his former home and fertile fields. His original home was ​surrounded by natural forests and his love of trees inspired him to plant various trees around his new home, trees which continue to adorn the grounds of Good ​Shepherd Retreat Centre today.

On this elevated site, Johan built a house that must have been extraordinary in his own day and is an object of admiration even today. The plan (if there was such on ​paper) was like a wagon wheel, with the dining room at the centre as the hub and surrounding rooms as spokes. Over the dining room, he built his study which was ​accessed by a stone staircase. Tradition says in later life he suffered from acrophobia and consequently was not able to enjoy this magnificent view.

Eventually, the family moved from their new and unique home and, at an uncertain date, it became the property of a certain Dr Popper who changed the name of the ​property to Izinthaba. Dr Popper commenced building a two-storey house alongside the original Schoeman roundhouse using the labour and expertise of Italian ​prisoners of war from the nearby Sonderwater Camp. A Pizza oven, with an inscription 1943, no doubt built by these prisoners in exile, is still visible.

The property passed through several hands after the ending of World War II and eventually came into the hands of a Lorio family who commissioned the magnificent ​slasto carvings of South Africa’s wildlife on the main interior walls of Schoeman Round House. These were created by the renowned local artist, Elly Holm, whose ​family still live in the area.

1967 The Congregation of Good Shepherd Sisters acquired the property intending that it would become “Girls Town.” In time it became evident that this was not ​viable and they sold the property to Bishop Emeritus Daniel Verstraete OMI in 1996. Bishop Verstraete, an eminently pastoral bishop, retired as Bishop of the Diocese ​of Klerksdorp for health reasons and intended this premises to become the basis for the realisation of a vision he cherished of making the Bible a living reality in the ​lives of lay Catholics and which he named: “The Catholic Bible Foundation.” It soon became evident that the remoteness of the centre from Johannesburg and ​Pretoria made it unsuitable for the realisation of his dream and in 2002 the property was given to the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate to ​administer as a Retreat Centre. Bishop Verstraete is enjoying retirement in his native Belgium and looking forward to celebrating his 100th birthday this year.

History of Sediba Mountain Retreat

Independent of Good Shepherd Retreat Centre, as described above, but also the property of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Sediba Mountain Retreat was founded ​and managed by Fr Joseph (Sepp) Anthofer OMI in 1994.

Fr Anthofer was born in Austria on April 12, 1933. He joined the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and made his first vows at Maria Engelport Germany in 1954, ​made his final vows at Hunfeld in 1957, and was ordained priest in 1959. He pursued pastoral studies in Canada in 1962/63 and came to South Africa in 1964.) He ​worked as part of the Oblate missionary outreach in the Archdiocese of Bloemfontein until he was appointed Provincial Superior of the then Kimberly – Bloemfontein ​Province of the Oblates. Having completed a second term of office as Provincial Superior he was appointed Apostolic Visitator by the SACBC (Southern African ​Catholic Bishop’s Conference) to carry out a canonical visitation of all religious congregations of women of diocesan orders in SA. On completion of this task, he ​requested and was granted sabbatical leave which he pursued in Japan and later in India.

Drawing on his pastoral experience in the Archdiocese of Bloemfontein and his leadership experience in the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and his various religious ​experiences during his sabbatical renewal, he founded Sediba Mountain Retreat as a centre for meditation. Realising that the riches and spiritual wealth of ​contemplation was all but lost to the Western Catholic Church, except among a very limited number of Religious Families of Women and Men, his vision was that he ​could establish a centre where this untapped source of spiritual growth and wealth could be more available for all who are searching for a deeper relationship with ​God. Sediba was officially opened by the Superior General of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Fr Marcello Zago OMI, who was later appointed by Pope John Paull II as ​head of the Commission for Interfaith Dialogue in the Catholic Church. Initially, Fr Anthofer’s attempts to realise his dream were questioned by many and he faced ​opposition from other Christian groups who believed it was impossible to combine the practice of Christian meditation with non-Christian methods of prayer and ​contemplation. In time many people from many and varied walks of life came to Sediba and experienced a sense of peace and tranquillity under his guidance. He died ​following an accident at his beloved Sediba on March 14th, 2009.

Fr Sepp Anthofer OMI and Bishop Daniel Verstraete OMI are regarded as the founding fathers of the present Good Shepherd and Sediba Retreat Centres.

Fr Michael Morrissey OMI had been a member of the Good Shepherd ministry team for 16 years and had been at the helm of Good Shepherd since the retirement of ​Bishop Verstraete. He was instrumental in conducting retreats for religious and lay groups and also in overseeing the Sediba Mountain Retreat Centre. He retired from ​Good Shepherd and returned to his native Ireland in May 2023.

Fr Wayne Weldschidt OMI (from KZN, South Africa) and Fr Vishal George OMI (from India) arrived in 2021 to take up the responsibility for the administration of Good ​Shepherd and Sediba Retreat Centres. Fr George returned to his native India in May 2023.

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