All Things Women is an apostolate for women who want to discover their unique identity in Christ while building authentic sisterhood with others. A woman who is secure in Christ’s love is confident, mature, and focused on rising by lifting up others. All Things Women started in San Jose, California and offers retreats, formative events, classes, mentorship, spiritual direction, and pilgrimage experiences while creating a platform for each woman to share her gifts.
All Things Women was launched through prayer with an original core group of 11 women who decided to journey together through The Forty Weeks Program, started by Fr. Bill Watson, SJ, based on the spiritual practices of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and aimed at teaching the examen prayer through a week-by-week process over 40 weeks. Over the last four years, All Things Women has launched over 25 Forty Weeks groups of men and women throughout the United States and Canada.
In November of 2022, All Things Women organized a small group of women to journey to the Holy Land, including Magdala, the birthplace of the apostolate’s patroness, Mary Magdalene. This group of 14 women was led by a team consisting of Fr. Brian Shininger, LC; Fr. Thomas Vendetti, LC; Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi, Lisa Small, and Eileen herself. The goal of the pilgrimage – inner healing for women.
“When I first envisioned the Holy Land pilgrimage, I wanted to create an experience based on Fr. Eamon’s Sunrise Stroll and Chat,” says Eileen, who was inspired by the daily series by Legionary priest, Fr. Eamon Kelly, filmed out of Magdala. “I felt the peace of the nature surrounding Galilee and Mount Arbel through Fr. Eamon’s daily posts, and it seemed so different from the feedback I’d received from returning pilgrims, who would often say that their Holy Land experience was saturated, packed, and even a bit overwhelming.” Imagining a different experience for herself and for future pilgrims, one of quieter days, sunrise strolls, and peaceful walks along Galilee, Eileen set out to create something new for pilgrims. Although there is plenty of work still to be done to continue to tailor the pilgrimage experience to the desired vision, the feedback from this first pilgrimage that to the Holy Land that All Things Women led was very positive.
“What a blessing to be called upon as chaplain for this pilgrimage and this group in particular,” shared Fr. Thomas Vendetti, LC, the current program director for Our Lady of Santa Clara Retreat Center in San Jose. “Most of us already shared a deep bond in the Lord, and to experience the Holy Land together just took us to another level and accomplished the goals of All Things Women: identity and friendship in Christ.”
Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi, Lisa Small, long-time member and advisor of All Things Women shared:
“All Things Women is a beautiful apostolate for women to enter into an encounter with others, God, and themselves, to discover their true beauty and vocation of becoming a gift of self to all. Our trip to the Holy Land impressed me deeply – the women were so in love with the Lord, who continually blessed us in many creative and personal ways.”
The Holy Land pilgrimage included a four-night stay at the Magdala guesthouse, which is run by Legionary priests Fr. Juan Solano, Fr. Eamon Kelly, and Fr. Guillermo Garcia, as well as Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi, Kathleen Nichols, and David Delgado. The group also spent six nights at the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem.
For many of the women on the pilgrimage, one of the favorite moments was visiting the place of the Visitation, where Mary was greeted by Elizabeth. “We were reminded that women are called to be sisters, to be Mary and Elizabeth for each other,” says Lisa, “and that we can indeed find women in our lives who receive us just as we are, who build us up, and strengthen us.”
Besides being the founder of All Things Women, Eileen is a spiritual director, having served in this role within Regnum Christi for 28 years. She is committed to helping women grow in both self-knowledge and understanding of their identity in Jesus Christ. This understanding, along with an ever-deepening and personal prayer life, is what Eileen feels will ultimately lead women to the freedom and harmony they seek. Originally from Alberta, Canada, Eileen now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Vincent and her six beautiful children, where she enjoys spending time with her family in nature, having coffee with good friends, and gathering people together in ways that uplift and build community.
All Things Women works closely with Our Lady of Santa Clara Retreat Center in Cupertino, California for its retreats, and this partnership has been a great support to the apostolate. There are several upcoming events designed to nourish the body, mind, and soul:
The Restore our Hearts retreat will be held on March 17-19th, 2023. (This weekend retreat may be attended in an overnight, commuter, or virtual format.)
The Mother-Daughter Let Your Light Shine overnight retreat will be held on May 12-13th, 2023.
And save the date for upcoming events: the Replenish retreat on October 6-8, 2023 and the next Holy Land Pilgrimage in November of 2024! Registration for both events will be coming soon.
You can also check out their beautiful photo gallery, including pictures of their Holy Land pilgrimage here!