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Listen, I was going to give you a practical step-by-step-how-to-throw-a-mini-retreat guide, but I’m getting distracted by all the cool retreat prizes that I have to share with you before I explode from the awesomeness.
So, I’m sorry, but you’re just going to have to read the fun part first and we can get down to the how-to business later.
When planning a retreat, everybody loves to go home with something!
I’m planning a last minute mini-retreat at the moment, and I can’t wait to share some amazing gifts with my attendees!
First, everyone is going home with one of these prayer journals: Walking Holy Week with Jesus.
We’re going to be using them during our retreat for a prayer journaling activity, so it’s the perfect take-home.
But one person will go home with something special! I put together a basket (an Easter basket – since it was so timely and perfect) of amazing Catholic devotional products.
I want to give a huge thank you to the amazing Catholic ministries that I work with who generously donated their products to make this Easter basket amazing!!!
Let me show you what’s in it, then I’ll tell you all about how I planned this mini-retreat, and how you can plan one, too!
Gifts from Saongjai
Check out the Etsy shop from Aleesa, called Saongjai. She makes all kinds of bracelets, rosaries, scapulars, you name it!
Aleesa donated her new (gorgeous) Stations of the Cross printable. The colors and style are simply breathtaking! I can’t wait to share these with the winner.
They are perfect for meditation this time of the liturgical year – or any time, really! It’s always a good time to reflect on the sacrifice Christ made for us.
Aleesa is also going to send an article of jewelry from her shop. What item exactly? It will be a surprise for me, too!
But I’m going to share one of my faves from Aleesa, to give you an idea of how wonderfully unique her work is.
You’ll have to spend some time browsing her shop: Saongjai to see what’s available!
Learn more about Aleesa’s work on the Catholics Online Directory.
Gifts from Uplift By Lily
This is so cool. Craig is the owner of the shop Uplift by Lily. He’s a great guy with some amazing stories of God’s grace, but you have to check out his work.
He makes everyday items into something uplifting that can help you live your faith.
He even has holy shoes!!! WHAT?!
Craig is donating a Catholic puzzle for our prize basket! And two matching Catholic pens to go with.
You can learn more about Craig’s work on the Catholics Online Directory.
A Gift from Lorelei
Pause for a random thought I’m having – can I just say that writing this post is opening my eyes to how many great Catholic friends I’ve met online?!
And she’s sending this beautiful, gorgeous, Catholic calligraphy how-to book that she made.
I admit I’m a little jealous I have to give this away and not keep it for myself… but you can bet it’s going on my wishlist!
You know what, do yourself a favor and add this one to your cart.
A Gift from Colleen
I didn’t even know this was a thing, but Colleen is sending anamazing kitchen rosary for our basket!
It’s like a little abacus, with beads to help you keep track of the mysteries, the Our Fathers, and the Hail Marys.
We’re all busy as can be – and it can be so easy to lose track of our Rosary when we’re praying while we go about our household work!
Seriously, I can’t get over how unique this is. And, once again, I’m jealous of our winner.
Colleen has a whole shop full of neat little gifts like this. She also writes a blog over at Elevator to Heaven.
Colleen and I just connected for the first time recently, but I love the fact that we’ve already had several opportunities to work together and share our gifts with each other!
Gifts I’m Adding
I’m throwing in a few extra gifts I just couldn’t resist.
My daughters and I love to make mini prayer shrines out of wooden panels and Holy Cards from our massive collection.
While I helped my girls out making their latest prayer shrine, I assembled one for the prize basket – and even put a magnet on the back so it can be a fridge prayer shrine!
Here’s a pic of my 5yo’s latest shrine. I didn’t get a pic of the one I made before it got dark out.
Hopefully the winner will love all the prizes – and be as excited about receiving them as I am to give them!
Another huge thanks goes to all the generous Catholic makers who donated. Please support their small businesses when you can!
Now… down to business!
How to Plan a Mini-Retreat in 7 Simple Steps
Have you ever thought about hosting a retreat?
Retreats are a wonderful time to step back from the business of life, relax, pray with other faithful Catholics, and get a renewed sense of God’s presence in your life.
But man, a lot of work goes into it. Planning, prepping, feeding everyone, advertising – there are so many details to take care of!
Well how about just a mini-retreat?
Today the Holy Spirit planted the thought in my head, and I ran with it.
And I want to tell you how it’s done, so you can plan one, too!
1. Grab a Friend.
My first tip: don’t try to go it alone.
Grab a friend. Or two or three. But at least one.
Presto, you have your first retreat attendee!
2. Set a Date.
Once you have a friend on board, plan your date and time around their schedule.
I like to do this whenever I plan an event or get-together. This way, I know that no matter what, at least I won’t be left alone if no one else shows up.
But another great reason to choose a date around at least one other person is that it allows you to think broader than your own schedule. You can get a sense of things that might be an issue – like work schedules, bedtime for littles, holidays you forgot, and other deal-breakers that might affect your attendance.
For our mini-retreat, we picked 2 hours on a Saturday evening, after dinner time.
That way, we could provide snacks, but not a meal.
And moms can leave kids home with their husband for bedtime (if they so choose).
And we can stay up late if we’re having the greatest time chatting and no one has anywhere to be!
3. Choose a Place
This is just a mini-retreat, so no need to go fancy!
Who’s got a big dining room table? Or a spacious living room? Or a sunny backyard?
If you can host it yourself, go for it! Don’t worry too much about what your house looks like. I’m going to focus on getting the dining room in order and we will gather there. The rest of the house will remain in its state of lived-in-ness (aka chaos).
If you don’t have the space, ask around for someone willing to host!
Again, no need to go fancy. What’s important is to have somewhere that you can gather, pray together, relax, and chat! Anything else is a bonus.
4. Choose a Theme
My retreat will take place as we move into Holy Week, so it’s going to be Holy Week themed.
But you could do a retreat at any time! I would recommend you pick a theme you love and are passionate about.
Here are some ideas:
- Anything on the liturgical calendar
- Something based off a Scripture Verse
- A Particular Virtue
Anything, really! What do you love? Go with it, and see where the Holy Spirit takes you.
5. Plan an Activity
Again, this doesn’t have to be something big and involved. Plan something you’re good at or that you want to lead. Maybe even find something new to try!
- If you love speaking, give a little talk.
- If you love creating, plan a quick craft.
- If you love teaching, organize a small workshop.
For my mini-retreat, I chose to center it around a prayer journal. We are going to read, reflect, and journal the first entry together.
You don’t have to have every moment of the retreat planned out, though. One of the best things about retreats is a chance to come away and rest. To get to talk about what’s on your mind and heart.
So plan a small activity, but plan for down time to chat, too!
6. Details, Details…
Will you provide snacks or make it potluck? Bring the kids or ladies night out? What details are important to you?
Don’t try to do everything, but consider what things are important to you, and make sure that the details are worked out.
7. Now the Best Part!
Everybody loves to have something to take home with them!
For my retreat, every person will have a prayer journal to take home with them afterward, but one person will win a raffle basket packed with amazing Catholic devotional products.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money purchasing gifts to send home, but it would be nice to have something small for each participant and perhaps something special for one lucky winner.
You’re ready to start inviting people!
I bet you already have a plan in your mind about the perfect retreat you can host. I hear those wheels turning from here.
If the Holy Spirit is calling you, go for it!
What do you think, are you up for planning a mini retreat?
Let me know if you do!
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