EVENTS

Oasis retreat logo

May 1-2, 2021

Oasis: A Retreat for Grieving Mothers

Imagine stepping from a hot, dry desert into the peaceful cool of an oasis: fresh clean water, lush green plants, and shade for rest.

Now imagine finding others there, too.

Oasis is a retreat for grieving mothers. As we trek through the wilderness of grief, we long for a place of refreshment and a moment of peace.

This May, we’ll gather as bereaved mothers: women who know the love and loss of a child. All are welcome, from those who have lost a baby before birth to those who have suffered the death of an adult child. Your story matters here.

The Oasis retreat is virtual, coming to you in the comfort of your own home. We’ll gather on Zoom 3 times during the retreat weekend (including optional small group conversations) and spend time in prayer and reflection outside the group sessions.

The companion e-book will give you a complete retreat guide: prayer, Scripture, creative activities, and reflection questions—a range of ideas to meet your unique needs in grief.

Together we’ll pray and explore ways to connect with God, each other, and our children. As we enter into the oasis—of God’s love and each other’s support—we will find rest and rejuvenation: the company of those who understand, the gift of time and space to remember our child, and the promise of peace from God as our companion on this journey.

Join us on May 1-2, 2021, to remember you are never alone.

The Oasis Retreat is open to any mother who has lost a child, from miscarriage through the death of an adult child.

Oasis is a place of welcome for you if:

- You’ve wrestled with faith since the loss of your child

- You long to connect with others who understand your loss

- You feel distant from God or want to find new ways to pray through your grief

- You’ve struggled with defining your motherhood after your child’s death

- You want to give yourself (or a loved one) time and space to remember your love for your child

The retreat will offer large group presentations, optional small group conversations, and ideas for creative ways to pray and reflect on your own throughout the weekend.

The retreat will run from May 1-2, 2021.

We’ll gather on Zoom for 3 one-hour sessions of presentation, prayer, and reflection:

Session 1: Sat. May 1st, 9:00 am CDT

Session 2: Sat. May 1st, 3:00 pm CDT

Session 3: Sun. May 2nd, 3:00 pm CDT

Participants will have the option to join small group discussion for 30 minutes after each hour-long large group session.

Zoom links will be sent to participants via email, and all sessions will be recorded if you’re unable to join live (or simply want to listen again).

You’ll also get access to conversations with other bereaved mothers across a range of backgrounds and experiences. These videos will offer you the wisdom and comfort of women who have walked similar roads, ranging from miscarriage to child loss to suicide. You can watch their stories throughout the retreat weekend, to deepen your reflection and learn from other mothers’ experiences:

The Oasis e-book will guide you through the retreat and give you resources to keep reflecting afterward:

  • a guide for making an at-home retreat
  • Scripture, prayers, and reflection questions
  • space for journaling or drawing/painting

This retreat is designed to fit your life. You can watch live sessions later according to your needs, and spend each day in reflection and prayer whenever it fits your schedule. Together we’ll create time and space set apart to encounter God.

Oasis will meet you right where you are.

The retreat costs $50, which covers:

  • 3 retreat sessions held on Zoom on May 1-2, 2021
  • the companion e-book with complete retreat materials
  • all preparation and follow-up materials sent via email
  • access to recorded Zoom sessions and videos for 30 days following the close of the retreat

As a special bonus, retreat participants will have the option to buy a set of grief encouragement cards to use within retreat sessions and for personal prayer.

Grief Encouragement Cards 12 Pack image 0

Marie from Fawnly Prints has offered her card set at a 30% discount to participants (with a coupon code you’ll receive in your Retreat Welcome Letter PDF upon registration).

These beautiful cards will give you something tangible to hold and keep as we pray and reflect together. Purchase of the card set is encouraged but optional, to keep the retreat cost affordable for participants.

Please note: You will not receive the cards automatically upon registration for the retreat, but you can purchase them separately from Fawnly Prints using the coupon code in your Welcome Letter.

You must order the cards by April 26 to receive them before the retreat (May 1), although post-retreat activities with the set are also included with the Oasis e-book.

Laura Kelly Fanucci is a writer and speaker who spent over a decade working on theology of vocation at the Collegeville Institute at Saint John’s University where she earned her Master of Divinity degree. Laura is an award-winning columnist for Catholic News Service and the author of books including Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting and Grieving Together: A Couple’s Journey through Miscarriage. Laura has spoken nationally on topics ranging from vocation and calling to parenting and grief. She and her husband have experienced infertility, miscarriage, and infant loss. They live with their
five sons in Minnesota.

What do I need to make a virtual retreat?

All you need to join the retreat is a Zoom account. Once you register for the retreat, you’ll receive instructions for joining retreat sessions via Zoom.

The Oasis companion e-book will be available as a digital download to help you prepare and plan.

To enter into the retreat experience, it would be helpful to have:

  • a Bible 
  • a sacred image to keep before your eyes (e.g., an icon, cross or crucifix, or artwork)
  • a journal 
  • a candle
  • a quiet space in your home (even a chair) free from distraction

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The Oasis e-book includes ideas for making a virtual retreat possible in your daily life: ways to plan ahead, suggestions for setting aside the space you need, and practical tips for at-home retreat time.

Can I give the retreat as a gift?

Absolutely. Simply enter the recipient’s email address when you register, and they’ll be added to the retreat list. What a loving way to honor a grieving mother you know, especially at a tender time of year.

Can I make the retreat with others?

Yes: if each person registers separately. The beauty of a virtual retreat is that you can gather with friends across the country (or around the world) to pray and reflect together.

Imagine ways you might make the retreat together—with friends, family members, or a small group:

  • set up your own short Zoom call after the daily session to talk further about your reflections
  • text each other after you’ve read the day’s Scripture, for support and encouragement
  • call or FaceTime the weekend before and the weekend after the retreat, to prepare and plan next steps to continue praying together

Please note: Participants within the same household may join under one registration, but retreat sessions/links may not be shared with anyone else during or after the retreat.

What if I have a conflict during the retreat sessions? 

Life, work, and family needs may overlap with the retreat—this is natural for an at-home retreat. We’ll record each Zoom session so you can watch it later at your own convenience. You can stretch the retreat over several weeks if it’s easier for your schedule.

Retreat sessions and pre-recorded videos will remain available online for 30 days following the close of the retreat.

Is financial assistance available?

Absolutely. Our goal is to keep this opportunity affordable and available to all. If registration fees pose a barrier to your participation, please inquire about a sliding scale or scholarship funds.

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If you are interested in donating toward scholarship funds—including opportunities to sponsor a scholarship in honor of your child—please email retreat@laurakellyfanucci.com. Thank you for your generosity and support.

Feedback from Retreat Participants

"This retreat was life-changing for me. From the first night, my eyes were opened to a new way of looking at things I had struggled with for years. Laura, your honesty, your insights and your humor have helped me navigate this difficult year and feel inspired about what God has in store for me next."

"Having the retreat stretched out over four days and in between daily responsibilities was a gift to me. It gave me time for reflection (both conscious and unconscious) as well as immediate connection to my daily life. In addition, I'm so grateful you added in the small group discussion. It was a piece of what made the retreat so rich for me."

"I was so surprised how intimate and 'in person' the zoom retreat was. While there would be benefits to in-person, I also loved that the virtual format reached more people and allowed for the participation of kids, etc."

"I loved this retreat. The guidebook was very helpful to me, and the option of being able to access the retreat on your own schedule and go back to repeat sessions is so helpful for those of us whose schedules might be irregular. So looking forward to the next retreat!"

Past Retreats

Book Reviews

Grieving Together by Laura Kelly Fanucci & Franco David Fanucci

Grieving Together is a godsend for anyone grieving the loss of a pregnancy. It’s written with clarity, sensitivity, and compassion, and is equally accessible to women and men. Losing a pregnancy can feel like wandering through the wilderness, but this book is an invaluable guide and the Fanuccis are the wisest and most encouraging of fellow travelers. It’s not a stretch to say that lives will be changed by this beautiful, much-needed book.” 

— Ginny Kubitz Moyer

Author of Taste and See: Experiencing the Goodness of God with Our Five Senses and Random MOMents of Grace: Experiencing God in the Adventures of Motherhood
To Bless Our Callings by Laura Kelly Fanucci

"Laura Fanucci’s book To Bless Our Callings  is a theological, spiritual, and liturgical gem. Filled with insight into how callings relate to the stages of life, paid and unpaid work and the professions, and the liturgical year, it provides a comprehensive and eminently usable resource for pastors, religious leaders, and anyone who wants to relate their faith to every aspect of human life."

— Douglas Schuurman

Professor of Religion at St. Olaf College and author of Vocation: Discerning Our Callings in Life
Everyday Sacrament by Laura Kelly Fanucci

"With heart, honesty and humor, Laura Kelly Fanucci’s offering of a peek into her quest for God in the midst of the craziness of parenting will help inspire you along your own path to God. Full of tender moments and truth, Everyday Sacrament is a book that every Catholic who ever lived in a family will appreciate."

– Lisa M. Hendey

Founder of CatholicMom.com and author of The Grace of Yes

Book Reviews

Grieving Together by Laura Kelly Fanucci & Franco David Fanucci

Grieving Together is a godsend for anyone grieving the loss of a pregnancy. It’s written with clarity, sensitivity, and compassion, and is equally accessible to women and men. Losing a pregnancy can feel like wandering through the wilderness, but this book is an invaluable guide and the Fanuccis are the wisest and most encouraging of fellow travelers. It’s not a stretch to say that lives will be changed by this beautiful, much-needed book.” 

— Ginny Kubitz Moyer

Author of Taste and See: Experiencing the Goodness of God with Our Five Senses and Random MOMents of Grace: Experiencing God in the Adventures of Motherhood
To Bless Our Callings by Laura Kelly Fanucci

"Laura Fanucci’s book To Bless Our Callings  is a theological, spiritual, and liturgical gem. Filled with insight into how callings relate to the stages of life, paid and unpaid work and the professions, and the liturgical year, it provides a comprehensive and eminently usable resource for pastors, religious leaders, and anyone who wants to relate their faith to every aspect of human life."

— Douglas Schuurman

Professor of Religion at St. Olaf College and author of Vocation: Discerning Our Callings in Life
Everyday Sacrament by Laura Kelly Fanucci

"With heart, honesty and humor, Laura Kelly Fanucci’s offering of a peek into her quest for God in the midst of the craziness of parenting will help inspire you along your own path to God. Full of tender moments and truth, Everyday Sacrament is a book that every Catholic who ever lived in a family will appreciate."

– Lisa M. Hendey

Founder of CatholicMom.com and author of The Grace of Yes

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