When The Blessed is She team first discerned and decided that the theme of the Blessed is She retreats for 2018 would be Wild, I had no idea just how much it would live up to its own name.
In large part, Wild was inspired by a verse from St. John’s Gospel where Jesus tells a would-be follower named Nicodemus:
The wind blows where it wills… so it is with everyone born of the Spirit. -John 3:8
There’s something so attractive and, well, wild, about the kind of life Jesus describes. A life of adventure and docility to the Spirit. It’s the kind of life I want to live, and we hoped the retreat would invite other women to live with the same freedom and joyful abandon Jesus promised.
So we opened ourselves up to allow the Spirit to send us wherever He willed, planning to host a retreat in every region of the United States represented in our online community.
But the Holy Spirit had something more in mind for Wild.
The Wind Blows Where it Wills
One email invitation to host a retreat abroad became a lively Facebook thread in the Europe regional group. Next, I met a group of hungry, holy Irish women. We prayed together for God to bless and bring revival to their home country, whose strong roots of Faith have begun to atrophy dramatically in recent decades. We prayed together again, if it was His will, to host a retreat in Ireland.
And we kept praying.
Nudges from the Holy Spirit
Then Jenna’s (our founder) daughter brought home a handmade holy card of Our Lady of Knock. And I ran into a guy wearing an Irish flag on his t-shirt at the grocery store. Then I chatted with another young Irishman at the airport while we waited for our orders.
These are only a few of what feels like a hundred more coincidences, or confirmations, depending on how you look at it.
As big and unbelievable as it it seemed, we began to believe that God was indeed calling us to bring a retreat to the Emerald Isle.
The Bishop’s Blessing
But the greatest confirmation came when we met with our ministry’s spiritual director, Fr. John Parks, Vicar of Evangelization for the Diocese of Phoenix, along with our local Bishop, Thomas Olmsted. On the feast of St. Brigid of Ireland, our beloved Bishop listened attentively to our discernment, affirmed the call, and sincerely encouraged us go and serve.
That settled it. We were going to Ireland.
The Lord’s Mission to Ireland
I was already in touch with some amazingly generous and talented Blessed is She sisters in Dublin who helped us to better understand the religious climate in our new host city. We began to view this call to Ireland as a mission rather than an event.
So while the ticket sales do cover some of the cost of putting on a retreat, there are additional, more costly things to consider. Like plane tickets from Arizona to Dublin for our team, lodging, and international shipping for requested bulk items like planners and Advent journals as well as decor and swag bags.
Our desire is to provide the same retreat experience for the women of Ireland (and all over Europe!) that our U.S. sisters have within driving distance.
I am confident that the Holy Spirit, known by the ancient Celts as the Wild Goose, wants to be unleashed in Ireland in new and transformative ways. I believe with all of my heart that God desires to use this retreat to invite the women into a dynamic relationship with Him.
Will You Join Us in this Mission, Too?
By virtue of our baptism, we are all called to be missionaries, and we want you to go on mission with us. The call the Lord has given to us has been given to Blessed is She. It’s given to our entire community. As a part of this community, this call belongs to you, too. The grace of this mission and this retreat is offered to you.
Whether you attend the retreat (you’re all invited!), pray intentionally for the women who will attend and for their beautiful country, or if you purchase this gorgeous, custom-made Wind necklace from Pink Salt Riot to financially give to the mission. One hundred percent of the proceeds for the Wind necklace go to fund the Ireland retreat.
Even if you can’t join us physically in Ireland, you can help make this mission financially possible by purchasing this necklace. Wear it as a reminder to pray for the Dublin retreat, to pray for the women of our international Blessed is She community, and of Christ’s invitation to you to live a life of freedom led by the Holy Spirit.
Beth Davis is a lover of Jesus, a recently retired youth minister, and the Director of Ministry Advancement for Blessed is She. She is passionate about teaching women how to develop an intimate relationship with Jesus and speaking hope to weary hearts. Her favorite things include being an aunt to her five fantastic niece and nephews, the Saint Name Generator, and whatever book she’s currently reading. You can find out more about her here.