Blessed & Beautiful

Far away from Bangalore’s buzzing traffic, in a conference room prettified in purple and pink décor, gathered a group of vibrant women from CFCI Singles Bangalore. A two-day program of spiritual self-discovery and sisterly fellowship, beginning on 9th November 2019, at St. Gaspar Retreat Centre, Kithaganu awaited the young ladies.

The most beautiful aspect of the program was knowing that Our Father loves us more than anyone else.

I struggled to build relationships with other women because of my prejudices against them and my feelings of ‘not fitting in’. Though CFCI has helped me build better relations with women, this program made me realize the need for sisterhood.

I realized that I’m precious and beautiful in the eyes of our God which helped me respect and value myself just the way I was created.

These were just some of the many happy responses of the participants that attended the program. Such thoughtful reflections were the direct result of the female-led praise and worship, and the interactive sessions that ensued the same at the Blessed and Beautiful program.

How I view God the Father was the first question posed by the ones who conducted all the sessions. They explained that when our earthly father fails us, our heavenly Father finds us, and it is in His arms, that we find our worth and identity. The participants were then reminded that they are the crown jewels of creation and that a woman’s greatest genius lies in her being receptive. Mama Mary was posed as the model of ideal receptivity as she open-heartedly embraced her call to Holiness, despite the many challenges that she encountered. The animators gently drew a light on how our brokenness keeps us from being receptive to the will of God. They helped the participants identify their silent cries and through the group discussions that followed helped the participants pray for specific graces to combat the same.

The morning sessions were succeeded by the Holy Mass followed by lunch. The participants were encouraged to use every meal as an opportunity to get to know all their fellow sisters in the community on a deeper, albeit casual level. In the next session, the organizers taught the participants to travel light in life, advising them on how to avoid carrying baggage from past hurts into future endeavors. The day ended on a glamorous note. The conference room was transformed into a more free and festive space where the young ladies let their hair down and enjoyed a night of games, dance, fun, and fellowship.

The second and final day of Blessed and Beautiful commenced with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The participants then proceeded for a session on the ‘Joys of Sisterhood’, which focused on the spiritual and health benefits of hanging out with one’s girlfriends. The talk highlighted how cliques and romantic relationships may sometimes distance a woman from her sisters, and it advised the participants how to confront such situations without jeopardizing any relationship. Post that, a short session on how a woman should embrace modesty was given, the participants were also given practical tips on how to dress to impress while maintaining the dignity of their body. The final session paved the way forward by discussing the 3 vocations that awaited the ladies on their path to Holiness. Practically discerning the call of God and trusting that His plan is better than one can even imagine for one’s self was the key takeaway of the session.

The day concluded with the organizers praying over each of the participants and adorning them with a crown and a pearl necklace. The ceremony reminded the participants that they were far more precious than any pearl and in the eyes of their Father that they were His phenomenal princesses. On that profound note, the participants retreated from the venue with a deeper understanding of the Father’s love, a stronger bond with their sisters in the community and a blissful assurance of being blessed and beautiful.

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