It’s been a long time since I’ve attended a women’s retreat, so when I discovered that Blessed is She was hosting one – and not to mention that it was in warm and sunny Phoenix – I ran the idea by my husband and purchased my retreat ticket.
“Okay, I have a ticket,” I thought, “now I just need a place to stay and to purchase plane tickets.”
Enter the wonderful world of social media…
Thanks to the Blessed is She Facebook group, I found a wonderful host family that was willing to host both myself and another retreat attendee for the weekend, so I checked the “place to stay” off my list and booked my flights.
I arrived in Phoenix on Friday night and after navigating my way through the enormous airport, I met up with my fellow retreat attendee before our wonderful host picked us up from the airport.
After regretting my decision to wear tall boots and a scarf – it was in the 50’s when I left Minnesota – I removed my scarf in hopes of cooling off a bit as we arrived at a Mexican restaurant to meet some of the other retreat ladies.
I was immediately welcomed by tables of women in the upper level of the restaurant, and I took a spot at a table with a group of four friends who drove from San Diego mixed in with a few local ladies. Conversation flowed as I got to know the ladies around me, and I was so excited to learn more about their lives, hobbies, and passions. Our meals and drinks arrived, and we enjoyed a truly incredible evening!
Enter Saturday morning…
When I looked out my window the morning of the retreat I was ecstatic to see bright, sunny skies. Dressing into my outfit that I had selected for the day, I walked down the steps of the beautiful home I was staying in and left to go to the retreat. After a quick Starbucks run with my host and retreat buddy, we arrived at the retreat center.
Once we checked in we got to choose a flower crown – I chose a pink one – to wear for the day. We were encouraged to eat breakfast and mingle before the first talk started at 9:30.
I found a lovely group of ladies to eat breakfast with, and it was just so fun for me to learn how women had heard of Blessed is She and to hear the reasons why they chose to attend the retreat. Answers including it was my 50th birthday present, I just love this community, and I just needed a weekend to get away were common responses I heard.
Once we were all filled to the brim – or at least I was 🙂 – with delicious pastries and fruit, we trickled into the main hall for the opening session. My eyes were greeted by a room adorned with white lights and strings of green leaves draped from the ceiling. The room had a certain calm to it despite the fact that it was filled with chatty, excited Catholic women.
Praise and worship music that was lead by Ike Ndolo and Rachel Lebeau filled the air as we all gathered and joined in song. I will have to admit that the room sounded like a legitimate church choir, and I definitely teared up a few times from how beautiful we all sounded.
Then the emcee, Lisa, shared some insight as to why she was excited to be there before introducing the an employee from the sponsor for the event, My Saint My Hero, a company that creates inspirational jewelry. One of the gifts this company provided for retreat attendees was a handwoven prayer partner bracelet, and we were all given 5-10 minutes to meet a woman we hadn’t connected with yet to become prayer partners: to pray for one another, to support one another, and to love one another from a far. I ended up being partners with the next speaker which I will write about later…To be continued…:)