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short journey students embracing

Short Journey Retreat Center

Space to grow in faith and leadership

The Short Journey Retreat Center extends and expands the Cardinal Gibbons High School experience. Here, students deepen their connection to their faith and strengthen their friendships with each other as they develop important life and leadership skills. 

Student Retreats

Every Gibbons student experiences the transformative power of Short Journey throughout their high school career. At grade-specific retreats, students explore their God-given talents in their communities with their classmates and educators.

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Our Location

Owned and operated by Cardinal Gibbons High School, the Short Journey Retreat Center is centrally located on 12 acres in Smithfield, North Carolina, just 34 miles from our main campus.

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“Short Journey is a cornerstone of the spiritual life of the school. While there, our students and educators are able to pray, to reflect, and to commune with God and with one another."Jeff Bell, head of school


acre campus in Smithfield


spiritual and leadership retreats annually 


students experience Short Journey each year

The Past Informs Our Present

The main structure at Short Journey is the original one-room schoolhouse that served hundreds of Black children in the segregated South from the 1920s through 1970. In 2018, Gibbons purchased Short Journey and restored as much of the original structure as possible. After the restoration was complete, we welcomed alumni of the original school to give testament to the impact Short Journey had, and continues to have, on their lives.

Step back in time