“ Betrothed: A Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage ”
A Virtual Retreat for Engaged Couples
Led by: Dr. Sarah Bartel, Nathan Bartel,
Fernand and Debra Ricard
September 18 - 20
*NOTE: This Marriage Preparation retreat is now a live virtual retreat. Please disregard the notes at the bottom of the page about check-ins, guestrooms, etc.

$100 per Couple, or $50 per Person

Note: This retreat fulfills the diocesan marriage preparation requirement and offers a rich integration of catechesis and theology.

The joy of marriage is the joy of the Church. “Betrothed” invites couples to prepare for a joyful, lifelong marriage. Blending hands-on learning of practical life skills with excellent catechesis and insights from St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, this marriage-prep retreat is designed to impact on the quality of a couples’ communication, conflict resolution, and shared sense of mission.
Dr. Sarah Smith Bartel is an award-winning writer and a dynamic speaker. She earned a doctorate in moral theology and ethics from The Catholic University of America, specializing in marriage, family, sexual ethics, and bioethics. Her column “Your Marriage Matters” appears in Northwest Catholic Magazine. She serves as a marriage and family life consultant for the Archdiocese of Seattle.

Read Sarah's  Betrothed Letter to Formators.
Nathan Bartel holds a B.A. in English from Gonzaga University and M.A. in philosophy from The Catholic University of America. With a background in personal finance and technology, he currently works for Amazon. Together with Sarah, he has mentored engaged couples and presented at marriage enrichment retreats. Nathan and Sarah raise their four daughters in Sumner, WA.

Fernand and Debra Ricard have been mentoring engaged couples who are preparing for Sacramental Marriage for over ten years. In addition to co-leading Betrothed Retreats, they have also trained, presented, and led Catholic Marriage retreats throughout the Northwest, including as far west as Montana.

In May of 2020, Debra completed her Master of Arts in Theology with concentration in Marriage and Family Life through the University of Dallas. She also completed the Seattle Archdiocesan Christifideles program and was commissioned as a Lay Ecclesial Minister by Archbishop Paul Etienne in July of 2020.

Fernand and Debra have been married for twenty-two years, have three teenage children, and are members of St. Luke Parish in Shoreline. At their parish, they serve as lay leaders for Marriage Preparation, Marriage Enrichment and where Debra works as Director of Member Engagement.


Our guestrooms have one queen or double sized bed per room. Rooms are simply furnished with bedding, towels, and soap as well as a Bible and crucifix.


Registration includes all presentations, six meals, and two nights in a comfortable room with private bath. Scholarships are available. Retreat payments are non-refundable.


On the first evening of your retreat, you are welcome to arrive any time between 4:00pm and 6:00pm. The retreat will officially begin with dinner at 6:00pm. The retreat will conclude at 1:00pm on the last day of your retreat, following lunch.


Special dietary requirements will be gladly met if you make your needs known to our kitchen staff. A guest fridge is also available for guest use in the Dining Room.


A computer with internet access is open for use in our lobby, and WiFi is available throughout the building.


Help is available 24 hours a day. Our staff or retreat volunteers are eager to assist you throughout your stay. Coffee, tea, and fresh baked cookies are offered 24/7 in the Dining Room. Our Chapel is always open, giving you a quiet place for prayer and reflection any time of the day or night.