Introduction to BioSpiritual Focusing: A Weekend Retreat

 “Out of God’s infinite glory, may you be given the power,

through the Holy Spirit, for your hidden self to grow stronger.”

                                                                        Ephesians 3:14-19

This retreat weekend is an overview and introduction to the history and practice of BioSpiritual Focusing. For Christians, BioSpiritual Focusing provides a way to bring the body’s sense for grace and God into everyday awareness, helping you to become more fully present to self, others and to God. Learning will take place in the respectful atmosphere of small groups.  This weekend is open to both beginners and those who wish to renew their commitment to this bodily form of healing, discovery and discernment.

Dates & Times: Fri., Oct. 2 at 5pm through Sun. Oct. 4, 2020 at 1pm

Leaders: Sr. Elizabeth Oleksak, SP, Becky Crane, Kathy Irr, Donna O’Connor

Fee: $295 (all inclusive)


About the Presenters:

Becky Crane, LICSW is a spiritual companion, licensed psychotherapist, and BioSpiritual Focusing facilitator. She is an active lay leader in both her UCC congregation and an outdoor ecumenical worshiping community.

Kathy Irr, RN is a spiritual companion, retreat leader, BioSpiritual Focusing facilitator and author of two books.  She lives in Norwich, CT with her husband and has two married sons and three grandchildren. Website:

Donna O’Connor is a spiritual companion and BioSpiritual Focusing facilitator, with a keen interest in helping people who struggle with weight, body image, and disordered eating. She has been a fitness and yoga instructor for over thirty years.

Sr. Elizabeth Oleksak, SP, Foundress of Genesis Spiritual Life Center in Westfield, MA, is an experienced retreat leader and spiritual companion, as well as BioSpiritual Focusing facilitator and teacher of Centering Prayer. She is also an eco-spirituality resource person, historian and Genesis Arboretum/flower garden supervisor.


Write Your Spiritual Autobiography

A Spiritual Autobiography is a written account of the events, people and places that have influenced your relationship with God.  It tells the story of how you have come to hold your beliefs, and from it, you may identify patterns or motifs by which you can recognize the flow of your life.  The process of reflection and writing is itself a spiritual practice; many find that it’s a powerful time for encountering God, and adopt it as a lifelong tool for discernment.

In this retreat, I will provide suggestions for how to structure your work, and guiding questions to help prompt your memory.  We will also meditate on Scripture passages and artwork to help us make connections with our own paths.  You will have time alone for reflection and writing, opportunities for spiritual direction, and the option of sharing with other participants within the sacred space we have created.

Like the original disciples, we, too, have a story, or testament, of God’s presence and action in our lives.  Give yourself the gift of time to reflect deeply on your spiritual life, and put pen to paper to create an account of the fullness of your journey – the mountaintop experiences as well as the mundane, the struggles, the joys, the doubts, and the grace.

Date & Time: Fri., Sept. 11, at 5pm through Sun., Sept. 13, at 1pm

Presenter: Rachele Grieco

Fee: $275


About the Presenter

Rachele Grieco, retreat facilitator and spiritual director, serves as a resource for adults who seek to explore and deepen their spiritual lives. She has been a lay leader in the Episcopal church for over 20 years, engaging small groups in Lectio Divina and Bible study, spiritual conversation and reflection. She also serves as a healing prayer minister, has lead workshops in prayer practices, and was commissioned to compose a healing circle liturgy.

Rachele holds degrees in English Literature and Christian Spirituality.  She resides in New York City with her husband, where they enjoy discovering diversity within the natural landscape as well as in the urban environment.

Being Here: Life Itself is an Unimaginable Gift

Life itself is an unimaginable gift. Even as we meet its challenges, the things that move our hearts and break our hearts, the griefs and losses, they are never the end of the story. Within every circumstance is a deeper dimension that exceeds what we’re going through. As author Andrew Harvey writes, “Our shared planetary future depends on our taking-alone and together and soon- the journey into love.” Join Paula D’Arcy as she presents a very special silent retreat weekend.

Date & Time: Fri., June 26 at 5pm through Sun., June 28 at 1pm

Presenter: Paula D’Arcy

Fee: $395 (all inclusive)


About the Presenter:

Paula D’Arcy, MEd in counseling psychology, author, speaker, retreat director, president of Red Bird Foundation, and adjunct faculty at Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX, is a well-known author of 13 books, and has also toured for ten years preforming in an original play. She is an internationally recognized speaker and retreat facilitator. In 2001, she founded Red Bird Foundation, which supports those in need of healing.

The Seven Pillars of Forgiveness

“Where there is no forgiveness, wounds cannot heal.”

The pervasiveness of the lack of forgiveness of self and others is one of the biggest secrets of the human race.  We walk around looking like we have it together and yet, almost every human being struggles with forgiveness issues during the course of their lives.  For example, a mother who cannot forgive herself for mistreating her child; a person suffering from a painful divorce and inability to forgive one’s ex-partner; someone unable to resolve a  grinding resentment toward a friend or co-worker; or groups that continually recycle historical conflicts.

Some can find it hard to understand the extraordinary gift of forgiveness.  And yet, when a person is approaching their deathbed, often their greatest fear is not the physical pain, but the emotional pain of what they have not been able to resolve, forgive, let go of.

But our purpose as humans is not just too forever replay our ancestors’ levels of consciousness and response, but to walk a path of refinement – a path that leads towards kindness, understanding, forbearance…  But it is not easy sometimes to leave history behind; to let go of wounds from the past. This work on forgiveness is to help us humans walk that path of finding a better way; to bring deep healing and spiritual uplift.  Forgiveness is not the end in itself – but it is the necessary work needed to walk through a door that liberates us into being truly human and being able to be agents of something higher; of the future; of refinement

People often ask “How do I actually start the process of forgiveness?  Are there any practical things I can do?”

This weekend retreat offers profound access into our ability to forgive, through a depth of content and experiential processes – connected with

The Seven Pillars of Forgiveness:  Understanding, Freedom, Remedy, Warmth, Enhancement, Hope and Continuance.                         

Dates & Time:  Fri, May 15, at 5:00 pm through Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Presenter:  Eileen McGowan, Elizabeth Lyell and Carla Ascoytia from Feminenza North America

Fee: $275 (all inclusive weekend)


About the Presenter: 

Eileen McGowan is a Co-Founder of Feminenza North America and is passionate about humanity and its future. she has facilitated 9-day forgiveness seminars and trauma healing workshops in the US, Kenya, Israel and Ireland, along with facilitating a young women’s leadership program at Peekskill High School in New York.

Elizabeth Lyell is a Co-Founder of Feminenza North America. She served on FNA’s board as Education Director from its inception in 2008 until 2013. She has conducted Forgiveness workshops in the US, Canada, and England, and has helped to facilitate 9-day training workshops in the US and Kenya.  Earlier in her career, she taught Philosophy at college level (12 years), and also worked with K-12 students and teachers in the area of reasoning skills. Presently, in addition to promoting Feminenza’s programs, she is a Washington state certified counselor, in private practice since 2013. She has an MA in Philosophy, an MA in Teaching Philosophy at K-12 level, and a PhD in Mythological & Religious Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology.

Carla Ascoytia is currently the president and chairperson for Feminenza North America.  She is a published contributor to peer reviewed articles on medical qualitative research in the areas of Quality of Life and Behavioral Health, and has conducted focus groups, individual interviews and panel discussions internationally. Her advocacy work has included behavioral health, suicide prevention, hospice, inmate visitations and domestic violence in addition to training in the Feminenza Understanding and Managing Fear and Forgiveness programs.   For the past 15 years, Carla was employed as a Senior Research Manager for Patient Reported Outcomes.

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