This post is written by Amy Brooks, author at Prayer, Wine, Chocolate, and founder of Catholics Online.
About a year ago, Amy Brooks started a Facebook group for Catholic writers, speakers, vloggers, artisans and those who work for missions and non-profits.
As Catholic Influencers, it has been wonderful to have a worldwide community that supports, prays for and uplifts one another online. The sincerity of each member has resulted in the forming of friendships and the desire to meet in person.
As great as technology has become, there is still something special about meeting, praying and working together in person.
As our group bonded there was often a comment like, “wouldn’t it be awesome to all go to Mass together”. It was clear that we would love the opportunity to meet, but the idea seemed like quite the task. We have members that live across the United States, in England, Central America and Australia.
It was a neat thought, but other than that, it was just a thought.
Then something happened that was almost like a green light from heaven. . .
The Trappistine Quality Candy Sisters offered their mansion to our group for a weekend retreat.
After lots of planning, that retreat was held April 27th- April 29th 2018.
It was a huge success!
The group truly enjoyed praying together, socializing with one another and learning skills to help them spread Our Lord’s Gospel even further.
Here are some testimonies from the experience:
The Reignite Your Fire retreat was the perfect blend of work and relaxation. We couldn’t have asked for a more stunning location to be for the weekend, and it was simply amazing to sit around with other Catholic influencers whom we had never before met in person, and instantly feel like a family. We were truly living out that we are all family in Christ.
Emily Ricci, President and Founder of Gloriam Marketing, LLC.
I go to about 6-8 conferences per year and have found that these smaller group conferences (200 people or less) tend to be the most valuable, by far. I’ve found that it is almost impossible to not walk away with relationships and contacts that are extremely valuable. They force you to get away from a normally hectic schedule and dedicate time to getting to know others (which might be the most valuable takeaway in any conference).
I left the conference inspired by all the potential we have as Catholics in the online world. There is a lot of opportunity for us to use this medium to evangelize, support each other, teach each other, and to learn.
My big takeaway was to spend a week focusing on Pinterest to see what results I could generate. Seeing what everyone else was doing there was awesome. The results have been really positive out of the first week!
Definitely looking forward to the next conference!
Mark Doust, owner of Quiet Light Brokerage and CatholicSingles.com
I was blessed to be able to participate in the Reignite Your Fire Retreat, which proved a wonderful blend of community, prayer, learning, and peace. The location was gorgeous! The sisters so joy-filled. The chocolate delicious. The community meals enjoyable. The presenters so helpful! Sharing stories, learning from one another, praying, chatting, taking time to think and walk… All of it was delightfully blessed.
Martianne Stanger, Writer and Blogger at Training Happy Heart
The Reignite Your Fire Retreat provided the perfect opportunity for me to distance myself from my normally hectic schedule. The location was inspiring and the presence of the sisters added a unique opportunity of reflection on the call to do the Lord’s work. Add in fellowship with some awesome Catholic social media types, good food, great talks, and opportunities for networking, this retreat was a slam dunk!
Pete Socks, Managing Editor at Catholic Stand
Although it might seem a little ironic given the name of the group (Catholic Social Media Influencers / Catholics Online), there is nothing like meeting in person, face to face, to build lasting relationships and collaborations…because you get to see the “whole person,” in context. We’re a sacramental people, after all! We celebrate the Incarnation, we celebrate our “embodiedness.” And the sisters couldn’t have been more hospitable, creating a great space for that personal encounter. They fed us chocolate, they fed us with well-stocked kitchens, and they fed us peace and quiet! And good liturgy!
Just to underline the importance of personal contacts…I can think of five separate times where I made an important connection just by virtue of the fact that I was in the same room with the person and “forced” to get to know them. And then we could have longer conversations, unmediated by a screen.
Oh, and several people brought children, which was a bonus. 🙂
Jerry Windley-Doust, Founder of Gracewatch Media and Peanut Butter and Grace
Catholics Online would like to publicly thank the Trappist Nuns at Mt. Saint Mary’s Abbey for graciously donating their Retreat Mansion and Guest House. Their holy presence and prayer witness was inspiring and their hospitality was exceptional. If you are looking for a new place to Retreat, we highly recommend the McMahon Mansion at Mt. St. Mary’s.
Each retreat attendee truly enjoyed their experience. As an added bonus, each attendee was given a swag bag full of inspiring, faith-filled products. Check out this awesome swag, and remember these shops when you are shopping for Mother’s Day, birthdays, Sacraments and graduations!
Rakstar Designs for donating inspiring mugs and gorgeous jewelry!
Adalee Hude (Brighly Hude) for your stunning greeting cards and bookmarks.
The Cookie Nook for the delicious Catholics Online logo cookies.
Telos Art Design for the beautiful Miraculous Medal bracelets.
Prayer Wine Chocolate and Trappistine Quality Candy for the scrumptious chocolate.
Sweet Little Ones Blog and Shop for the inspiring print.
Someday Saints for the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart Key fobs.
To Jesus Sincerely for the notepad and pen.
The success of this weekend has set in motion the plan to do this retreat/conference annually!
Are you a Catholic that desires to encourage faith and prayer through social media? Would you like to join us? Become a member to stay in the loop and be a part of an amazing community!