Retreat for women offers comfort during difficult times

Carl McColman, facilitator at the St. Stephen's retreat.

Carl McColman, facilitator at the St. Stephen’s retreat.

Contributed / St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church of Ridgefield

The St. Stephen’s Mary Brewster Committee invites the women of Ridgefield to participate in a Zoom retreat, “Wisdom During Difficult Times,” taking place in two sessions Saturday, Oct. 10, from 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.

The event will consider how we can respond spiritually to this moment and what words of wisdom can bring us courage, comfort, and solace.

The retreat will turn to two English spiritual teachers who each experienced a pandemic. From the middle ages comes the wisdom of Lady Julian of Norwich, famous for saying “All Shall Be Well” and “the fullness of joy is to behold God in all.” Closer to our time is Evelyn Underhill, a laywoman who, in the words of Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey, “did more than anyone else in Anglicanism to keep the spiritual life alive in the period between the [two world] wars.” Lady Julian lived through the bubonic plague and Underhill the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918. Yet they both celebrate a spirituality steeped in divine love and filled with optimistic joy.

The morning session, from 9-11, will focus on Underhill, followed by a 1-3 session on Lady Julian. Facilitating the conversation will be Carl McColman, a contemplative Christian writer, blogger, and podcaster. His books include The Big Book of Christian Mysticism and Answering the Contemplative Call.

Cost of the retreat is $20. To register, contact Emily Santella by Sept. 25 at 203-448-9768 or email her at She will advise on how to make payment and will provide additional logistics, including how to get the suggested reading (included in the fee): Julian of Norwich: Selections from Revelations of Divine Love, by Mary C. Earle. Zoom training is available if needed.