On Saturday, August 11, 2012, twenty-three women gathered on the banks of the Big Sur River at our beautiful nine-acre campground to attend a day of fellowship, silence, and companionship. The thirteen women presented in the retreat were all ones known by retreat director Cynthia Spencer, retired associate priest at All Saints’. Some she met in scriptures, others in books or at events, and some she knew as friends. Each of the women exemplified one of the attributes in Nancy Wood’s poem “A Woman’s Lesson.” Each of the three presentations was followed by an hour of quiet time spent reading, journaling, walking along the river, or sitting on the beach. Lunch was shared in the meadow. The retreat was preceded by an optional service of Morning Prayer, and closed with Holy Eucharist.

Below are comments from those who attended:

“I knew I needed it, I just didn’t realize how much.”   “Thank you for such a wonderful, uplifting event down in Big Sur.  We did appreciate it.”   “Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the retreat Saturday and enjoyed meeting you…It was very peaceful, at times I had the whole river to myself!”   “Thanks for presenting those amazing women.  I’ve told three of the five women on my list how special they are.  It’s a good opportunity to remember people and to let them know they matter.”   “You made it a very fun day in addition to giving us something to chew on.”   “Thank you for inspiring us and including us in this women’s quiet day. The ideas, the prayers, the feelings of love and connection have found a home deep within me and I am stronger and more serene. I sense that I am much more able to ‘go and get the rain.’ ”   “Thank you for a great retreat.”

Mother Cynthia’s comments on the retreat:

“I think the thing that was so special for me was the moment, after each of the three quiet hours, as the women returned from their time alone to the sound of the flute playing an American Indian song and then for the last minute of their returning to the sound of the drum. The gathering of the women…very special for me to experience them walk with chairs or journals up the hill to the chapel… the redwood trees towering over us, the sound of the river gurgling by and the lovely music made by Kathy and Alex – the women gathering!”