Celebrating Our Identity

A retreat for lesbian sisters

“We need to tell our story, the deep meaning of our lives, that allowed us to do everything we have done.” – Teresa Maya CCVI,  2018 LCWR Presidental Address

December 5-8, 2019
5:00 p.m. Thursday to 1:00 p.m. Sunday

Siena Retreat Center
5637 Erie Street
Racine, WI 53402
(near Milwaukee airport)

Retreat Description

Womanjourney Weavings, a project of New Ways Ministry, is setting apart this weekend retreat for sisters who self identify as lesbians (or somewhere in the rainbow spectrum) and wish to celebrate the gift of their identity.  There will be opportunities for prayer, storytelling, dreaming and rituals. While engaging in a circle process that supports collaboration and transformation, sisters will be encouraged to share their experiences and gifts in a safe environment and envision a future filled with hope.

What to expect

Quiet reflection for personal prayer, input sessions, large/small group sharing, rituals, opportunity for Eucharist, social, movie night.

Come Early and /or Stay Late

The retreat will begin on Thursday, December 5, with dinner & a social and conclude after lunch on Sunday, December 8. Those who wish may arrive on Wednesday for supper and/or stay until Monday at breakfast. The extra time can be spent in private prayer or socializing with other sisters.

Retreat Core Committee

Image result for diana rawlings ascDiana Rawlings, ASC

Diana Rawlings is a member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, who has served her community in leadership, vocation ministry, and as co-chair of the Precious Blood LGBT Ministry Team. Diana has been part of New Ways Ministry conferences for lesbian sisters, congregational leaders, and formation/vocation personnel since they began in 2005. Presently, Diana works with women survivors of domestic abuse. She is an avid quilter and loves science fiction. Diana will oversee the retreat process.

Jeannine Gramick, SL

Jeannine Gramick is a Sister of Loretto who taught mathematics in high school and college before meeting members of the lesbian/gay community in 1971. She co-founded New Ways Ministry to serve this community and initiated its Womanjourney project in 1991 to support lesbian religious. Jeannine will manage the administrative portions of the retreat.

Image result for mary jennings cdpMary Jennings, CDP

Mary Jennings is a Sister of Divine Providence from Northern Kentucky. Mary served as director of a food pantry, was a volunteer for an organization to eradicate domestic violence in Ecuador, and worked in residential housing in New York City. Mary currently ministers with low-income families at St. Francis Serpha Ministries in Kentucky. Mary will lend her talents to the social aspects of the retreat.

Image result for mary kay dobrovolny rsmMary Kay Dobrovolny, RSM

Mary Kay Dobrovolny serves on the Sisters of Mercy New Membership Team. Her previous ministries include teaching scripture and theology at the university level and coordinating programs at Mercy’s original foundation house in Dublin, Ireland. She is part of a committee to enable the Mercy community to dialogue on gender identity and sexual orientation issues. During the retreat Mary Kay will share insights on the gifts and challenges of being out in ministry, community, and family.

 Some thoughts from last year’s retreatants

“I appreciated the level of honesty that occurred. It was a safe environment for sharing.” 

“This retreat made me realize I don’t talk very much about this topic and my story/experience. It helped me know I am not alone; others have similar struggles.”

“I felt really nurtured and affirmed.”

“The retreat opened windows & doors & my heart to a different way of looking at our sexuality.”

“Connecting with other lesbian sisters was the most important part for me.”

Cost & Other Information

Retreat Cost

In order to facilitate sisters’ participation, the retreat registration fee is being largely subsidized by grants from religious communities and New Ways Ministry. Retreat Fee: $50, postmarked by July 31 or $75 postmarked after July 31, 2019. Fee includes materials, overnight accommodations on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, meals from Thursday supper through Sunday lunch, and snacks.

Private Retreat or Social Days

Those who wish may arrive on Wednesday, Dec. 4, for supper and/or stay until breakfast on Monday, Dec. 9. The extra time can be spent in private prayer or socializing with other sisters. The cost for each day is $25.


To apply for funds to help with registration or travel costs, email [email protected] or write New Ways Ministry by September 30, 2019.

Cancellation Policy

Prior to Nov. 15, all but $25 is refundable.

When Making Flight Plans…

We will provide information about transportation to/from the Milwaukee Airport, which is 30 minutes from Siena Retreat Center and will try to arrange pick-ups, if possible. Please plan flights as follows:

Arrive at airport by 4:00 pm on Thursday, December 5

Depart after 3:00 pm on Sunday, December 8


Call 301-277-5674, email [email protected] or write New Ways Ministry, 4012 29th Street, Mt. Rainier, MD 20712.