Ireland’s ‘incredible thirst’ for US group’s women’s retreat

Ireland’s ‘incredible thirst’ for US group’s women’s retreat

Dublin is to host a major retreat for women this weekend as the first international event held by the US-based ‘Blessed Is She’ movement.

Originally planned to take place at a city centre location, huge demand meant the two-day retreat had to be moved to the Emmaus Centre in Swords, Co. Dublin, where Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will celebrate a vigil Mass on Saturday evening.

“It’s the first time it’s happened that Blessed Is She have gone outside of the US and the thirst for this has been incredible,” organiser Emma Sisk told The Irish Catholic. “I thought we would be lucky if we got maybe 100 people to come.  We were initially going to have it at St Teresa’s on Clarendon Street, but very quickly after it was announced it became obvious that we were going to have to find a bigger venue.”

Explaining that the retreat sold out about two months ago, Ms Sisk says it will be attended by 250 women from Ireland and from across Europe.

Now having over 30,000 members spread over five different US regions and one European one, each having its own Facebook group, Ms Sisk says she first heard of the online community three years ago, a year after it was founded in the Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona.

“It started with a daily devotional directly to your inbox,” she said. “It’s written very beautifully – it’s very feminine, heart speaking to heart basically.”


She first contacted the organisation a year ago, having heard of the success of the retreats it had been running several times a year in the US, and though she was told plans for European retreats were a long way in the future an invitation to the group was issued and accepted a few months later.

“It’s really huge,” she said, “given the fact that the Church often gets a bad rap for how they value women. It’s a retreat for women to come to understand who they are, who they’ve been created to be, and discover their vocation in life.

“I just think it’s important for women to know that they are valued and loved and that this will be the beginning of something in Ireland hopefully, please God,” she said.