History of Tres Dias


A Unique 3 Day Journey With Christ

Our History


Tres Dias traces its ancestry through the Catholic Cursillo movement.

Cursillo began amid the turmoil and destruction of civil warfare and of the Second World War, which left Spain with empty churches and an overwhelming sense of loss and despair. In the late 1940’s, the Spanish Roman Catholic Church experienced the beginnings of a revival. Small groups of friends in various Catholic “action groups” (similar to a small group) began to share their faith regularly to encourage one another. Pilgrimages were eventually organized which gave men and women the opportunity to rededicate their lives toward Christian ideals. Two main figures who met through these sharing groups were Bishop Juan Hervas and Eduardo Bonin. They saw the enormous need of the church and the benefit of Christians studying and sharing their lives in Christ. This was particularly true in Spain where there were few men left following much war, and even fewer in the local church. An objective of those early years was to revitalize the church by getting men involved. 

Over time, the weekly sharing meetings produced periodic retreats where the reality of living a Christian life was intensely taught and experienced. These retreats became known as Cursillo de Christiandad, which means “short course in Christianity.” The basic form and tradition of the current Tres Dias Movement was born. 

The Cursillo movement was confined to Spanish speaking countries until the late 1950’s when a group of men from the Spanish Air Force conducted the first Cursillo in the United States while on training in Texas. Among the Spanish-speaking people the movement began to spread across the United States. The first English speaking Cursillo was held in the early 1960’s.

Protestants (non-Catholic Believers) saw the need for a way to spread the Cursillo movement to other Protestants. This led to the formation of Tres Dias (which is Spanish for “Three Days”). The first Tres Dias weekend was held in Newburgh, New York in the fall of 1972. That Weekend, and every Weekend since, was open to all Christian traditions. 

Dave McManigal (the very first Rector), Helmut Maier and Bob and Mary Essert were among some of the key leaders involvded in the founding of Tres Dias. 

Starting from the Mid-Hudson community in Newburgh/Poughkeepsie, New York, the movement spread rapidly. Pittsburgh was the second community; then Fairfield County, Connecticut, Northern New Jersey, Long Island, Maine, Central Connecticut, New Hampshire, and South Hudson.

In the Spring of 1979, with the encouragement of the Mid-Hudson Secretariat (the local chapter Board), John McKinney formed an ad hoc “National” secretariat with Jim Thornley, Anton Wellbrock, Gerry Hoernes, and Bob Decker. That group produced initial drafts of a “National” constitution and “Essentials of Tres Dias”. All other communities were invited to participate and refine the drafts.

On July 11, 1980, at Poughkeepsie, NY, the constitution and Essentials were ratified and adopted by all of the above listed communities. The Tres Dias organization was formed as a national organization while communities were chartered as local secretariats. 

In 1985 Tres Dias officially became an international movement when communities were chartered in Korea and Germany.

Tens of thousands of people have attended Tres Dias Weekends around the world, resulting in changed lives who have become more committed to serving our Lord Jesus in their homes, communities and local church. 



Tres Dias Ottawa (or TDO as we like to call it) was founded in the fall of 2007 at Silver Lake Wesleyan Camp by a faithful group of men and women. It was humble beginnings by any standard. The weather was unseasonably chilly, the team was small in number and the accommodations were rustic. Yet, as in every Weekend since, the warmth of the Holy Spirit saw lives forever changed through an encounter with Jesus Christ. 

At the time, TDO (or Ottawa Canada Tres Dias as it was called then) represented the only Tres Dias chapter in Canada. It was “chartered” by the wonderful people of Georgia Mountains Tres Dias located in North Georgia, US. Many of our traditions were inspired by Georgia Mountains, but we have developed plenty of our own uniqueness over the years. 

TDO finally got a Canadian relative in 2014 with the founding of Southern Ontario Tres Dias in Kitchener, Ontario. We have grown close with SOTD over the years by supporting each other’s Weekends and collaborating on administrative projects. Operating a Tres Dias chapter in Canada is very different than the experience of our friends in the US.

2019 saw some exciting changes for Tres Dias Ottawa. First, we became affiliated with One Way Ministries. This partnership allows TDO to have access to much needed administrative and technical support. It also enabled TDO to become a Canadian charity while maintaining independence as a ministry organization. Our affiliation with One Way has been one of our Community’s greatest blessings. In addition to administrative support and charity status, One Way has also provided valuable resources for leadership development and has connected TDO with many ministries and Kingdom leadership across Ottawa. One Way has around 15 other ministry affiliates including Band of Brothers, Souly Business Canada and Hearts of Beauty

For more information about One Way Ministries, please visit www.onewayministries.ca 

2019 also saw a change in our name. Since our founding we had been fondly known as “Ottawa Canada Tres Dias”. While this tongue twister did provide for some funny moments on Weekends, the launch of Southern Ontario Tres Dias in 2014 neccessitated a change in our official name to avoid confusion as being the only Canadian Tres Dias chapter. After much discussion, we landed on “Tres Dias Ottawa” (mostly because it was easier to say!).

TDO is overseen by a Board of around a dozen faithful stewards. They meet on a quarterly basis and take care of all the things that make our Community a healthy and strong chapter of the Tres Dias movement. 

While TDO has been blessed by many special people over the years, there are two individuals that have made a greater impact on our Community than anyone else – Doug and Linda Sprunt. We are proud to call the Sprunt’s our Founders. They faithfully fostered TDO from a little seedling so many years ago on that cold first Weekend into the sturdy tree that it is today. Many lives have been transformed by Christ through their dedication and hard work. They are worthy of our acknowledgement; and while they no longer serve in official capacities, they still impact our Community through their wisdom and encouragement. Thank you Doug and Linda. We love you. 

Like all ministry organizations, TDO faces great uncertainty in this post-Covid and post-Christian world. While we cannot predict the future we do know that Jesus Christ has used the Tres Dias and Cursillo movements to change lives. We plan to faithfully move forward with this knowledge and the Truth that this world needs more of Jesus Christ. 


For His Glory and the Salvation of His People

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Tres Dias Ottawa

89 Auriga Drive

Ottawa, ON K2E 7Z2