By Katie Ascough - 15 November, 2019
This weekend, 15 and 16 November, the Blessed is She Shine Retreat is taking place at the Emmaus Centre in Swords, Dublin. The retreat is for women aged 18+ who want to meet other women of faith in Ireland, know their faith and themselves better, and spend some time in peaceful prayer.
Hugely successful in Ireland last year, this weekend is the second of two consecutive Blessed Is She retreat weekends. Last weekend about 175 women attended the Shine Retreat, and – unsurprisingly – there are only 20 tickets left for the 2-day retreat that starts this evening. Tickets can be bought online by clicking here or at the door.
The retreat kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. with registration from 6 p.m. and finishes at 9 p.m. tomorrow. The €100 fee includes light dinner on Friday evening, three meals and snacks on Saturday and sessions, adoration, confession, praise, vigil Mass celebrated by Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo (Papal Nuncio to Ireland), and time for friendship and community. You will also receive a beautiful welcome packet with a prayer journal included. Overnight stay is optional, with rooms starting from €50.
CatholicIreland.net spoke with Beth Davis, Director of Ministry Advancement for the new, fast-growing international organisation Blessed Is She, who is running the retreat in Dublin today and tomorrow. Beth says she is expecting 200 women in attendance, from college students to grandmothers. Speakers include Méabh Carlin, primary school teacher from Co. Armagh; Sister Mariae Agnus Dei and Sister John Mary of the Sisters of Life from New York; Nashville Dominican Sister Mara Grace; and Father Joseph Mary Deane, CFR, stationed in St Patrick’s Friary in Moyross.
Beth shared that last year the Blessed Is She retreat completely sold out in Ireland, with many women left on a waiting list. That’s why this year they put on two back-to-back retreats, which are still almost entirely full. It’s uncertain whether the retreat will be able to return to Ireland next year because of other commitments.
Blessed Is She does much more than just retreats; Beth told us about their retreats, emails, blogs, workshops, membership, liturgical gatherings, Advent and Lent devotionals, liturgical planners and other merchandise — with the main objective to promote prayer and community among women. Their materials have been deemed some of the best in Catholic women’s ministry, with many groups attempting to rise to the standard of exquisite beauty and graphic design that Blessed Is She achieves.
“The beautiful thing about Blessed Is She is that we don’t have to run it for you. Our object is to empower women right where they are to meet in community. That’s why we give actual, physical resources like our Blessed Conversations study guides, Advent and Lent Devotionals, video resources like Teachable Tuesday, or workshops and gatherings … Similarly, we have a resource called a Blessed Brunch and women do this all over the world. Even women in Calcutta, India, have done this, where they open their doors to any Catholic woman who hears about it to come with a dish to share. We provide an outline including conversation starters and that’s a great launching pad to let it continue,” Beth Davis shared.
To find out more about the ministry and resources of Blessed Is She, click here.