Previous Gatherings

March 7, 2020: “Evaluation and Looking Ahead”  &  “A New Twist on Lent”

with Sr. Yvette Bellerose, SSA

Our March Gathering offered two themes. The first was “Evaluation and Looking Ahead.”  We took stock on where we have been and looked ahead to future meetings.  We were a smaller group this time, but we had excellent table-sharing discussions and sharing with the whole room.  The original plan was to have a second theme, “A New Twist on Lent”, offering suggestions on living Lent in heartfelt, creative, life-giving ways. This morphed into looking at the Women of Faith website March Resources for Lent and discovering many interesting resources to use on our Lenten journeys.

December 7, 2019:  “Forgiveness: Making Peace with Others and Ourselves”

Marina McCoy, Ph.D., is a philosophy professor, spirituality writer, and prison volunteer. She teaches in a social justice program (PULSE) and courses on ancient Greek philosophy at Boston College, and is a married mother of two.

Marina was last with us in August of 2017.  In this Advent gathering, she helped us to think and pray about what forgiveness means for ourselves and others. Our time together included a talk, time for prayer, an artistic activity, and time for reflection and sharing together.

September 14, 2019:  “Back to School with the Holy Spirit:  Learning More about God’s Love”

In June, we celebrated Pentecost and were reminded of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. During this Women of Faith gathering, we circled back and remembered how we were created in God’s love, each of us designed with a variety of wonderful gifts. We continued our exploration of how God beckons us to come and be loved and then share that love.  We used Gardner’s “lens” to recognize the gifts God has given us and how we may use these gifts to deepen our relationship with God and others. We had fun exploring the intelligences with different spiritual activities.

This gathering continued Andrea’s presentation from June 8th.  You can read her biography below.

June 8, 2019:  “Celebrating Pentecost: A New Look At God’s Gifts of Love – Part 1”

Andrea WeaverWe were created in God’s love, each of us designed with a variety of wonderful gifts. God beckons us to come and be loved. Once we experience God’s love, we have a deep desire to share that love. God so generously pours the Holy Spirit into us and onto us – sealing us to be in union with God’s love and empowering us to love others. As we celebrated the Feast of Pentecost, we learned about 4 of Gardner’s multiple intelligences (Self Smart, People Smart, Music Smart, and Word Smart) and saw how we can apply this “lens” to recognize our own giftedness, deepen our relationship with God and use our talents to serve others.   In September, Andrea will continue her presentation, recapping the highlights from this presentation, and continuing with the next four intelligences.

You can download a PDF of the slides from her June presentation here:  Celebrating Pentecost.

Andrea J. Fonte Weaver is a wife and mother of four who first recognized God’s love for her in a powerful way 30 years ago and has been journeying more deeply into God’s love since then. She is a renowned, national presenter as Founder & Executive Director of Bridges Together, Inc., a nonprofit she and God founded seven years ago to empower others to unite older adults and youth. Andrea develops award-winning training and tools for families, schools, and senior communities.

March 9, 2019:  “Moving out of Slumbering Winter into the ‘Greening Power’ of God’s Love with St. Hildegard of Bingen”

Laura FonteSt. Hildegard of Bingen, a Visionary Doctor of the Church, believed everything and everyone holds a spark of God’s love within. She named it viriditas, the creative life-giving force at the heart of everything alive. What did her visions from God mean?  How did these visions change the trajectory of her life? What does Hildegard, through her words, visions and works, have to teach me? We spent the morning getting to know our recently declared Doctor of the Church and reflecting on God’s love.

The bibliography for Laura’s presentation can be downloaded here:  Bibliography -St.Hildegard

Laura Fonte is a graduate of Framingham State College, who has been a Teacher of Religious Education, with a Master Teacher’s Certificate from the Archdiocese of Boston, for over forty years, including, for the last several years, the leader of the Christ Alive Women’s Bible Study, a group that combines bible exploration with prayer.

December 8, 2018: “Expectation and Expectancy: God Whispers in Our Darkness”

Tis the season when we are enveloped more in darkness than light….

our days are shorter

and our nights are longer.

In the darkness our senses are heightened.. we listen more carefully. Sometimes we hear the whisper of God and our expectations shift to expectancy. Light is coming in a new way.

This Advent and Christmas how can we allow the voice of God to prepare us for a deeper coming home inside.. to ourselves, to our families, and to our God?

Nicki Verploegen, Ph.D. is a spiritual director and consultant who offers graduate courses, seminars, retreats, and workshops in spirituality both in the U.S. and abroad in Africa and Asia.

September 15, 2018:  “A Habit of Noticing and Nurturing”

Liz Walz, ASP is an Associate of the Sisters of Providence of Holyoke. The Executive Director of Genesis Spiritual Life & Conference Center for the past five years, Liz has a background in the Catholic Worker movement, as a Plowshares activist, yoga teacher, and massage therapist. She is trained in Ayurveda for Self-Care, BioSpiritual Focusing, and Spiritual Direction and is a grateful student in the Center for Action and Contemplation’s Living School.

So often the pace of daily life finds us rushing past one precious moment to the next. Amidst all the balls we’re juggling, we lose the threads of our own sacred story and the Divine whispers of consolation and invitation are not so easily heard. In this gentle session we learned a Prayer of Hospitality to Our Self and practiced Noticing and Nurturing our own God-moment-awareness. We came away with a deeper connection to the movement of Holy Mystery in this Lectio of our life.

May 19, 2018:  “Annunciations – Mary’s “Yes” and Ours”

Joanne Fantini, CSJA serves as a member of the Full-Time Retreat staff at Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, MA. Joanne has been providing spiritual direction and retreats since 2007 in the Ignatian tradition. She is the mother of 4 adult children and grandmother of one. Joanne has been an Associate for 30 years and is currently an Agregee candidate in formation with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston.

On our morning of retreat we walked with Mary contemplating her discerning and open heart and ours, too. What is true for Mary is true for all of us – when we open our hearts to receive God’s invitation for the deep mystery of Incarnation to unfold in our lives.

March 24, 2018:  Jerusalem Our Destiny: We Do Not Walk Alone

Sr. Nancy Sheridan, SASV is a Sister of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. She is engaged in the full-time ministries of spiritual direction, retreats and supervision in New England, Canada, Ireland, and Wales. Nancy has extensive experience with Ignatian spirituality both ecumenically and within the Roman Catholic tradition.

Our morning of retreat/reflection focused on the three part symphony of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. We looked long and lovingly at the journey of Jesus so that we might more deeply celebrate the impact of these mysteries in our own lives.

August 26, 2017:  Finding Balance in a Busy Life

Marina McCoy, Ph.D., is a philosophy professor, spirituality writer, and prison volunteer. She teaches in a social justice program (PULSE) and courses on ancient Greek philosophy at Boston College, and is a married mother of two.

She helped us to think and pray about finding “Balance in a Busy Life“.  In the contemporary world, we often see doing more as being more. We juggle many responsibilities and try to balance them all. In this retreat morning, we looked at how the gospel passages of Mary and Martha can give us ways to think about finding balance. Our time together included a talk and time for reflection and sharing together.

April 29, 2017: Hope in Time of Change

Nicki Verploegen, Ph.D., spiritual director, professor, and consultant both in the U.S. and abroad led us in exploring “Hope in Time of Change”. When experiencing significant change, we often struggle with hope. We easily question how to retain equilibrium when transition is all around us. Yet, we are called to hope and trust in the Mystery of God’s movement within change. Easter, a Season of Hope, invites us to express hope in something greater than life and death. Through reflection, creativity, and color we looked at what hope looks like and celebrated images that encourage us. Colored pencils and various mandalas were provided, for us to prayerfully explore what hope means to each of us individually.