Our People.


Programs at SJF are not just esoteric conferences, but true immersion experiences where men and boys can encounter and interact with real men and their families, engage in worthwhile conversations about the practicalities of being a Catholic father, and enjoy authentic Catholic brotherhood.


Most programs, based on the focus or theme, will include visits and teaching from the below men.


Jason M. Craig, author of numerous articles and an upcoming book on rites of passage, is the founding farmer of St. Joseph’s Farm.  He and his family milk the cows, keep the livestock happy, and tend to the gardens, all of which feed his family and participants at programs and retreats. Craig is the lead author of the Fraternus program, Senior Editor and Contributor for Those Catholic Men, and a committed friend of agrarianism in its various forms. He combines his education in horticulture and theology as a homestead consultant and designer, helping families design, install, and live a homesteading lifestyle wherever they live. Jason is married to his high school sweetheart, Katie, and they have a daughter and five sons.

Teaching focus at SJF: Homesteading, husbandry, mentoring, and rites of passage.


Joseph Pearce, popular teacher and author of numerous books is the founding teacher of St. Joseph’s Farm, bringing to light the beauty of a simple and beautiful life centered on the home.  A farmer cultivates and directs that latent potential inside the organic world, while the teacher does the same within the intellect of man.  Pearce’s direction helps the farm to be fully educational for the whole man, bringing into integration the exterior and interior dynamics of being a man.  As a scholar of such writers as Tolkien, Lewis, and G.K. Chesterton, he helps draw in the practical skills taught at the farm in with the broader need to renew culture, beginning at home and in local communities.  His expertise on Distributism and works such as Small is Still Beautiful: Economics as if Families Mattered are guiding lights in the practical vision of SJF. He also enjoys getting his hand dirty in the farm work when possible.

Teaching focus at SJF: Distributism, literature, and the revival of Catholic culture that begins in the home.


Dr. Jared Staudt is a husband and father of six and a lay Benedictine Oblate of Clear Creek Abbey.  He is dedicated to the restoration of Christian culture, especially within the family. No small task!  Staudt’s classes on Catholic culture—focused especially on Christopher Dawson, Chesterton, John Senior, and St. John Paul II—are what planted the seed for St. Joseph’s Farm.  He received his doctorate from Ave Maria University, writing his dissertation on the virtue of religion in St. Thomas Aquinas.  Staudt serves as Catechetical Formation Specialist at the Archdiocese of Denver and Visiting Associate Professor at the Augustine Institute. He earned his PhD in systematic theology from Ave Maria University and his BA and MA in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. He served previously as the Director of Religious Education in two parishes and as the managing and co-editor of the theological journal, Nova et Vetera. He is writing a book on beer and Catholic culture.

Teaching focus at SJF: Catholic culture, prayer, education, literature, and beer.


Upon graduating from Florida State University with a degree in Meteorology, Van Horn soon learned the life of a meteorologist was more about being behind a computer rather then chasing Hurricanes and Tornadoes. During Grad School, he decided to take a sabbatical to devote time to the to the founding work of Fraternus. During his time with Fraternus he helped develop the program and in particular the summer “Ranch” experience. It was here, at the first Fraternus Ranch, in Western NC where he was first introduced to bees and was later inspired to start a hive of bees back home. Five years later his beekeeping hobby turned into a sideline business and in 2012 he decided to make it his full-time job. The backyard beekeeping and gardening grew from 2 hives on 1/3 of an acre to a 10 acre homestead with over 300 colonies of bees. Now he spends his time studying bees, selling honey and managing/building his homestead from the ground up.  Van Horn, his wife Emily and their four children are currently transitioning part of their honey business to Polk County, NC, where St. Joseph’s Farm is located.

Teaching focus at SJF: Beekeeping, family-business development, homesteading.


Justin Biance homesteads with his wife and six children. Justin founded Fraternus, a national Catholic mentoring organization at the age of 24, has consulted for multiple entrepreneurial start-ups in fields ranging from technology to agriculture, and currently works from home in his Investment Advisory Firm.  Biance has graduate degrees in Moral Theology and Entrepreneurship. This education, coupled with his extensive experience in business and leadership, gives him a unique ability to help fathers build their family vision through designing their businesses with solid principles and systems. He owns his firm, J. Biance Financial, with his brother, which has offices in Florida and North Carolina. Justin is also the Author of  “The Great Inheritance: 7 steps to leaving behind more than your money.”

Teaching focus at SJF: Family-first entrepreneurship, estate planning, and family communication.


Calrton Murrey lives on a small farm in Mills River, NC with his wife and eight children.  Murrey is the Executive Director of the Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association (CFAIA), which promotes recreation, education, and interpretation about forest and water resources, natural history, and the Cradle of Forestry in America.  He also owns Curtis Wright Outfitters, a guide service and retail store with two locations in Western NC.  Prior to joining the CFAIA in 2012, Carlton worked in investment banking as a Managing Director with Carolina Financial Group and as an Associate at Wachovia Securities.  Prior to business school, he was a manager in Client Services and Business Development for U.S. Inspect, a national property inspection company based in Northern Virginia.  He also worked in the International Project Development Group of the Smithsonian Institution, focusing on public-private partnerships.  Carlton received a Bachelor of Arts degree in German with a minor in History from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, where he was awarded the Russ Reynolds Foreign Language Award and the Manly E. Wright Award for Outstanding Scholarship and graduated summa cum laude with distinction.  Following graduation, Carlton was awarded a Fulbright Grant to study in Münster, Germany.  He received his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.  Carlton currently sits on the boards of the Public Lands Alliance, Blue Ridge Mountain Host, the Pisgah Conservancy, and the Transylvania Economic Alliance.

Teaching focus at SJF: Hunting, outdoorsmanship, team building, and land conservation.


Joel Raines lives with his wife Marty and their five children, who are the fourth generation to live on the family farm in Campobello, SC.  Raines has a huge diversity in trainings including survivalist skills, growing and preserving food, hunting, and he has been a CrossFit/lifting coach for 7 years.  Along with coaching, Joel continues to run a dog handling business (Police Dogs), which he began after his six years as a police officer.  His law enforcement training includes basic field survival, defensive tactics, firearm cleaning/maintenance, and dog training.  Raines has also taught a variety of Catholic classes at local parishes including classes in apologetics and liturgy.

Teaching focus at SJF: Firearm use and maintenance, farming, a manly love for the liturgy, and weightlifting.


Jim moved his family, Lori and their seven children, to a rural 2 acre homestead SC in 2004, cutting short a career as a physicist and patent agent. Jim was determined to live a counter-cultural life, restoring the natural order of a family economy.  It worked.  Since then, Jim and his family have a kept milk cow, raised pigs and chickens, and at various times raised turkeys, rabbits and ducks.  They produce almost all their own meat and raise most of their own vegetables in their garden. Every year they have a peanut and a sweet sorghum crop on land leased from their neighbor. Jim writes frequently for online and print magazines on various aspects of homestead life, fatherhood, and family. His writing has appeared in Grit Magazine, Back Home Magazine, CatholicExchange.com, CatholicLane.com, ThoseCatholicMen.com, FrontPorchRepublic.com, Heart and Mind Magazine, and Catholic Men’s Quarterly. Links to some of his writing can be found at www.jimcurley.blogspot.com.

Teaching focus at SJF: Homesteading, animal processing, and living counter-culturally as a Catholic father.


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