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Hello Beauty!: Calling busy women creatives to come with us for a weekend



Kathryn Jean Lopez - published on 04/10/17

Space, time, and freedom to explore—sounds great, right?

As spring turned to summer last year, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious held a first-ever GIVEN forum for young women, “Cultivating Authentic Femininity for the Life of the Church.”

The women who attended were expected to, with the encouragement of their local bishop, develop an action plan that would contribute to the life of the Church in the world.

A few weeks ago, I was a speaker at one young woman’s action plan, a religious-freedom festival in St. Augustine, Florida, in support of persecuted Christians.

Another, upcoming in May, is the Hello Beauty Retreat, in Golden, Colorado, at the Mother Cabrini Shrine.

Inspired by John Paul II’s letter to artists, it is hosted by Scatter and Sow, founded by Erin Day and Tara Wright, both GIVEN alumnae.

Scatter and Sow describes its vision and mission as “to reveal and elevate God’s presence through beauty, creativity, and relationship” and “create a space for women to cultivate beauty, creativity, and relationship in a uniquely feminine and authentically Catholic way.”

Courtesy of Frameworthy Designs | Loan Vu Photography

Courtesy of Frameworthy Designs | Loan Vu Photography

Wright is an Oklahoman artist living in New York City. (She moved to New York when her now-husband, also from Oklahoma, got a job at National Review magazine, where I’ve been for some two decades as of this month.)

Wright talks about why they’re doing what they’re doing and why you or someone you know might want to be a part of it.

Lopez: Who should go? And why? It may cost more than a few pretty pennies for some to get out to Denver for it! 

Wright: When I think of the women who might join us for the weekend, I often imagine women who are “busy” – they’re juggling work, family, finances, maybe school or graduate school. They have an appreciation for being “creative” and might have a hobby like writing, singing, dancing, or painting, but don’t necessarily have the time to do those things as often as they’d like.

Or maybe they have an inclination to make art and are drawn to beauty, but don’t really understand why. I think those women will benefit from Hello Beauty.

They’ll receive space, time, and freedom to explore and make messes. They’ll receive affirmation of their femininity and their desire to make things. To be clear though, you don’t have to be an artist to attend. You don’t have to be Catholic either. All are welcome.

Lopez: You’re leading a workshop on brush lettering. How is brush lettering going to change my life? And … what is it? 

Wright: Brush lettering is illustrative lettering using a paintbrush and ink or watercolor. And, I guess it could change your life, because it could help deepen your prayer! That’s what it’s done for me.

I’ve found that lettering (brush and traditional calligraphy) has helped develop consistency, persistence, and order in my life. Especially when I’m in a routine of lettering daily, I find that my life has a steadier rhythm.

Lettering is also a great way to meditate on Scripture or Christ’s words for us. There are other aspects of lettering and art—composition, repetition, challenge/facing the unknown, overcoming creative “blocks”—that correlate to our spiritual lives as well.

But! The retreat features more than brush lettering. We have workshops for floral design, stained glass, and rosary making. Furthermore, we’re blessed to have Leah Sedlacek (from FOCUS) as our keynote speaker. We’ll be participating in activities like SoulCore, Visio Divina, and of course Eucharistic Adoration, Reconciliation, and Mass.

Lopez: Why just for women?

Wright: We know that women relate to and experience God’s love in a unique way. Women are perceptive and relational. Our physical bodies are made to receive, labor, nurture, and sacrifice. There are just so many things that make women unique and we want to celebrate and reflect on those unique qualities during the retreat.

Lopez: What drew you to GIVEN last year and what difference has it made in your life?

Wright: Erin and I attended GIVEN last year on a leap of faith. We both had recently moved to new cities away from family and friends (and each other), but felt like God was wanting us to continue creative pursuits through Scatter and Sow. We were drawn to the overall theme of the conference, and thought it might give us some clarity and direction regarding the “future” of Scatter and Sow.

The conference itself opened my heart and mind to God’s love for women in a deeper way. Since the conference, I’ve been filled with hope for the future of the Church. There are so many talented, driven women who care deeply about the future of the Church and the salvation of souls. Their dedication, and their support of one another is so inspiring.

Lopez: Why is having a GIVEN action plan so important? 

Wright: The action plan has kept us accountable and has made us be really intentional. I have a tendency to over-extend myself and get busy, but knowing that I’ve committed to doing this big thing helps me make Christ a priority in my life.

It’s also been an adventure in trust. A lot of life has happened in the past several months—I got married, Erin had a baby—and then we’re planning this retreat in Colorado, and we don’t even live there. It seems crazy at times. But, in spite of the doubt, we trudge ahead, because we know that God is good, and He’ll provide if we keep showing up to do our part.

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