My New Favorite Thing

by Jen Owens

Just two short weeks ago, I co-facilitated a retreat for the women of St. Augustine Church in Oakland, the place I have come to call my parish home in recent months. The team had been working together to design the retreat since January of this year, and it was well worth the wait.

There’s something holy about bringing a group of women together to share their experiences of the Divine with one another. We practiced the Lectio Divina together, talked about different forms of the Examen, and my talk on Saturday afternoon wove together Marian passages from Scripture with reflections on my own lived experience. But the thing that I loved more than anything else was the time that we spent together, in small groups and as a group of twenty plus women of all ages and walks of life, talking informally about how God is working in our lives. It’s my new favorite thing, this kind of spiritual conversation among women. It’s empowering, it’s edifying, it builds me up in a way that other things don’t and maybe even can’t.

It’s rare that I try to put words to an image, but the one that’s featured with this post is particularly special to me. One of the women on the retreat team who is becoming a dear friend created it, and it captures so much of what this experience means to me. Spending time with God in creation, a woman reaching and stretching out to what is just beyond her reach in thanksgiving for the gift of life, remembering the carefree joys of her youth, looking forward to what is to come, mindful of the companionship of her women friends and the Divine. My prayer for the women who participated on this retreat and those who will read this post is that my new favorite thing will become a regular part of their everyday experience, that they would find women of spirit with whom they can share their stories.

Image Credit: Jasmine Lee Hang-Austin

Jen Owens is beginning an intentional community with classmates from the Graduate Theological Union in Kensington, CA. She is grateful to Jasmine, to Katie, to Elaine, to Karen, and to all the women who made the first annual St. Augustine’s Women’s Retreat possible for sharing the gifts of themselves with her.


One Response

  1. Wow, I really love that image! It’s perfect for what you describe.

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