"You are more precious than ruby and pearls." Proverbs 31
This thought really inspired Lola, a mom of two. We met when she volunteered to help Sr. Deborah and me at a book exhibit at her parish, St. Clare of Assisi. After I mentioned that we had a lovely tea-room and garden connected to our Pauline Book & Media Center, plus a John Paul II Evangelization room, Lola decided to visit.
Let the planning begin! Lola shared the idea with the women she knew at St. Clare's Parish. They brought the idea to the Pastor. Would he be able to join them in the celebration of the Mass and the sacrament of reconciliation? Yes! The Pastor at St. Mary's Church downtown (Fun fact: this is the first Catholic Church of the Carolinas and Georgia), also said yes to using St. Mary's for Mass and the sacrament of reconciliation. Another Priest said he would be available to assist with Confession. I agreed to plan morning prayers and an Hour of Adoration. A preliminary schedule was prepared.
9:10-9:20 Morning Prayer
9:20-10:30 Motivational Speaker, Educator
10:30-11:00 Pre-Mass Meditation/Confession
11:00-11:45 Mass at Saint Mary’s
11:45-12:30 Confession (optional) and Silent, Prayer at St. Mary’s
12:30-1:30 Lunch at Daughters of Saint Paul Bookstore
1:30-2:30 Catholic Singer/Songwriter and Teacher
2:30-3:00 Walking Rosary (In Groups, this is optional)
3:00-3:30 Afternoon Tea
3:30-4:30 Adoration and Closing Prayer
The next step was securing a caterer. We recommended one that many people use for events in the John Paul II Evangelization room. The menu developed and was simplified as the date neared. From a full breakfast it was scaled down to coffee, tea, and bottled water. There would be a dessert and tea in the afternoon. Lunch was a variety of sandwiches and wraps. A hot vegetable soup and chips rounded it out with cookies for desert. The cost came to about $11.50 per person and included room set up and clean up. The caterer would arrive at 7:30 A.M. to set up, over an hour before registration opened.
As the day neared, Lola and Amy, the main planners, secured two speakers. Both agreed to use the theme of the event, Proverbs 31 (a virtuous woman), in their talks. One, a singer-songwriter, would incorporate song and music. Both women came with recommendations by the Young Adult Group of the Diocese. A notebook with supplied for each attendee along with a pen, a schedule, and a handmade Chaplet to St. Clare of Assisi, the parish patron saint. The notebook, which could also be used as a journal, was stamped with Proverbs 31:25: “She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” The logo of the parish was also embossed on the cover.
Prayers were raised up for good weather (a tropical storm was approaching Charleston out of season!) and for each of the attendees. When the day arrived, so did the morning sunshine. Beginning with prayers to the Holy Spirit, each woman picked another woman's name out of a basket to be her prayer advocate for the day. The song "We Pray for Blessings" by Laura Story played during the prayerful writing of intentions for the day. Each slip of paper with prayer intentions went into the same basket. The basket was set on a simple altar set with a lit candle and icon of Jesus. Later this same stand would be used for our Eucharistic Adoration.
After prayers the first speaker entertained the group leaving everyone with insights and resolutions. A break followed. At this point anyone who wanted to go to confession or prepare for Mass walked across the street to St. Mary's. The priest would be available before and after Mass. Lunch was served back at the John Paul II room. Father West, Pastor of St. Clare of Assisi, stayed for lunch. A slight drizzle didn't keep anyone from sitting in the garden under table umbrellas.
This was a great opportunity to get to know other women in the parish on a personal level. Stories were shared and information about other happenings in and around the parish were revealed. After lunch the next speaker was up and singing. Feet were tapping during her presentation. Following a small break was a walking-rosary. The women chose to go in one large group to recite the rosary on the streets of the city. Another option had been to walk in four or five groups and walk different areas of the city. One small group stayed to pray the rosary in chapel.
Returning from their walk, the women enjoyed tea and coffee served with petits-fours, cookies, and cupcakes. More mingling, shopping in the Pauline Book & Media Center (there was a media table set up in the room as well), and bonding took place while the area was transformed for an Hour of Adoration.
The Way, Truth, and Life method was used for adoration: Jesus Truth: scripture reading and reflection; Jesus Way: examination of conscience; Jesus Life: prayers together invoking graces and offering praise. The Chaplet to St. Clare was prayed in conclusion. After the reposition of the Blessed Sacrament the women turned to the person next to them and blessed them with the blessing of St. Clare of Assisi.
"Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me." St. Clare of Assisi
A day spa is a place where a person goes for the day to rest and receive relaxing treatments. A spiritual spa day is a sacred space set aside to rest in the Lord, receive graces, support, strength, and inspiration from others. Women need these times to love and be loved by God so that their gift of self emanates from Christ the life-giving vine.
Plan a Spiritual Spa Day for your parish or women's group!
Copyright 2015 Sister Margaret Kerry, FSP.
Photos courtesy of Lola Massoglia and used by permission. All rights reserved.
About the Author
A Daughter of St. Paul for 40 years Sr. Margaret continues to pursue new ways to proclaim the Gospel: sharing the Pauline Charism with the laity, writing books (St. Anthony of Padua: Fire & Light; Strength in Darkness: John of the Cross; Prayers for the New Evangelization), & through direct evangelization. She is available for workshops on the Vocation & Mission of the Laity, Media Literacy, and The New Evangelization. firstname.lastname@example.org