Bethany Weekend

Part study, part fellowship, part retreat. Experience natural beauty and hospitality in our home, as we delve together into the riches of an ancient wisdom.

The purpose of these Weekend Workshops is threefold:

To gain intellectual formation, to consider issues of perennial and current importance among people of like mind, and to experience a simple hospitality in a peaceful and beautiful place.

What is a Bethany Weekend?

Do you want to go deeper? You find it difficult to take the time to get things straight in your mind. Perhaps you never had the chance to study some of these things, or you did, but it has been too long.

And now you have more life experience, and you want to go back and think it through again. You know that others must be wrestling with some of these same issues. Bethany is a place to take a pause and do what you’ve been wanting to do.

We would like to welcome you into our home, and offer you an opportunity to study a perennial wisdom and how it might be applied today.




Bethany Weekend 2023

Virtue and the Good Life in the Home

June 23-25, 2023 (Friday evening through Sunday afternoon)

We all know that virtues are important, and that we need to cultivate them. We can probably name a number of them. But the deeper truth of the reality of virtue is probably more profound — and challenging and rewarding — than we have yet imagined. We will study and discuss the nature of virtue, the kinds of virtue, how they are cultivated, and the difference it makes, especially in our home life — wherever we are in life right now. (Lecture notes and recommended reading lists will be provided.)

Join Bethany Mailing List

Sign-up to an exclusive mailing list for news and updates of upcoming Bethany Workshops.

(I never share my mailing list and will not send anything other than Bethany notifications.)

Support Bethany

Offer financial assistance for others to attend a Bethany Workshop.

Everything is handled securely online, or you can mail in a check.


“In the world that we find ourselves inhabiting, it is no rare thing to find ourselves feeling like “strangers in a strange land.” In fact, I would venture to say that in our increasingly insane world, the rare thing is ever feeling at home. John and Sofia Cuddeback’s Bethany Weekend was so much more than a weekend of philosophical inquiry; it was a retreat from madness into sanity, a vision of bygone days when homes provided nourishment both physical and spiritual to all who entered in, and sheltered those within from a hostile world. In their home, hospitality reaches the level of art, and is rivaled only by the intimate and rich conversation, the likes of which I can honestly say I have never elsewhere experienced. If you are searching for the truth, or simply in need of a peaceful retreat from the cacophony of modernity, join the Cuddebacks for their next Bethany Weekend; you will be in the best of company.”

J.A., North Carolina

The splendor of the location was only outdone by the conversation and hospitality of the Cuddeback family. This was a weekend of true refreshment of mind and body.”

C.W., Richmond

How it works

The workshop includes three or four lectures, question and answer, guided discussion, and time for fellowship, relaxation and conversation.

Our home, Fair Knowe, is at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the bank of the Shenandoah River. An other-worldly peace and beauty provide the backdrop for our gathering, just one hour west of the Capital Beltway.

Over the course of Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday we enjoy three home-cooked meals together, and an evening reading and discussion.

Comfortable and affordable lodging is available at a Holiday Inn ten minutes away.

Bethany Workshop Details

  • 3 or 4 lectures, plus a guided discussion
  • Time for fellowship, relaxation and conversation
  • 3 Home-cooked meals (lunch/dinner/brunch)
  • Evening Reading (such as a Belloc Essay, or a short story) and Discussion.
  • Relevant handouts and reading lists will be provided.
  • Limited financial aid available.

Cost: $350 per person ($650 per couple), includes 3 meals (Saturday lunch and dinner; Sunday brunch). Space limited to 14 persons. Some financial assistance available; please inquire. 

Meet Your Hosts

About John

John A. Cuddeback, PhD, is professor and chairman of the Philosophy Department at Christendom College.

He writes and lectures on various topics including culture, natural law, contemplation, friendship, and family and household.

His book, True Friendship: Where Virtue Becomes Happiness, was republished in 2010. His academic writings have appeared in Nova et Vetera and The Thomist, as well as in various academic volumes.

His website dedicated to the philosophy of family and household takes its name from his acorn-fattened pigs:

John is an avid gardener and hunter, and lives with his wife Sofia and six children in the Shenandoah Valley.

About Sofia

Sofia is the fourth of ten children raised in a Ukrainian-American household that had the feel of old Europe. Classical music, art, story-telling, hospitality, and a deep love of life were the stuff of every day.

Trained in Japan by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, she has taught scores of young people the joy of playing the violin by the Suzuki method.

A homeschooling mother of six, and a lover of liberal learning and books, Sofia has an intimate share in John’s intellectual pursuits.

She brings a uniquely feminine and insightful angle to the Bethany Workshop, even as she oversees the hospitality.

“Bethany weekend at Fair Knowe provided an excellent atmosphere to ponder human nature, and the purpose of work and joy in our lives. One senses the presence and love of God in the sounds and view of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, and more so in the welcoming hospitality and attentiveness of John and Sofia and their gracious family in their home.”

M.S., Philadelphia

Sample Workshop:

The Intentional Household 

This workshop was an in-depth examination of the nature of the most primordial of human communities—the household.

We focused especially on how to take steps to revitalize our homes by reclaiming an ancient wisdom and applying it to these challenging times.

Sample Schedule

7:00 Meet and greet

9—9:30 Arrival (light refreshment available)
9:45 Welcome and overview
10:00—10:50 First Lecture with Q & A
11:00—11:55 Second Lecture with Q & A
12:00 Lunch
1:30 Quiet Time for Rest, Reading, or Tour
2:30—3:20 Third Lecture
3:30—4:45 Guided Discussion
5:00 Prepare for dinner
5:30 Dinner
7:00 Reading and discussion


Church on own (e.g., 10a.m at Christendom chapel)
11:30 Reconvene
12:00 Brunch
1:00 Final lecture and discussion
3:00 Farewell

Pin It on Pinterest