Christmas decorations at OLC

Christmas Decorations at OLC

Thanks to our staff and dedicated volunteer Bonnie Gearin the Christmas decorations here at Our Lady of Calvary are especially beautiful this year.

Last week the staff enjoyed a hearty lunch prepared by Chef Bill, then Bonnie, and our staff, assisted by little Joseph Miceli, Ron’s grandson set about transforming the retreat center. We are thrilled with the result and wanted to share it with you. We hope you enjoy these photos!

Our gift shop is open for your Christmas shopping convenience, Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Come shop and see the decorations!

happy holidays

Happy Holidays?

Every December the angry debate rages again. Should we wish others a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? Popular rhetoric sets this issue up as a battle between Religious Freedom vs. Political Correctness and claims that Christmas is under attack. Why is this such a hot-button issue?  Have we thought it through? If you are trying to figure this out, here are some ideas to consider.

It’s important to note that the word holiday is derived from holy day. The Oxford dictionary says the word holiday comes from the Old English hāligdæg. So, when you say Happy Holidays you are really wishing the other person happy holy days.

In the posts I have seen about “the war on Christmas,” the writer’s attitude is pretty much, “too bad if we give offense, wishing others a Merry Christmas is an American tradition and our right – part of our freedom of religion.” Actually, for more than one hundred years of American history, Christmas was not celebrated, so it’s a bit of a stretch to claim that saying Merry Christmas is an old American tradition. The best American tradition, based on our nation’s founding documents is to protect and honor the religious beliefs of all our citizens. The issue is not about our right to express our own beliefs, but our deeper Christian obligation to be sensitive and loving to all our brothers and sisters of every faith.

With this in mind let’s think about when we should say Merry Christmas and when should we say Happy Holidays.

Obviously, it is perfectly appropriate to wish someone we know is Christian a Merry Christmas. I am sure that most of us wish our Jewish friends a Happy Hanukkah. But . . . what if we know that the person we are speaking to is not Christian, or we don’t know what, if any, religious tradition they are part of.  Should we say Merry Christmas? In these cases, wouldn’t it be more sensitive and more loving to wish them Happy Holy Days, by saying Happy Holidays?

This year at Our Lady of Calvary we are reflecting on peacemaking. We are praying,

Lord make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred let me sow love.”

This Christmas let’s try not to get caught up in belligerent debates over words. Instead, let’s try to be bearers of the peace Christmas promises.

Sister Mary Ann Strain, CP


A Cornucopia of Blessings

Dear Friends,

As Thanksgiving approaches, we are reminded of how very much we have to be grateful for.  Here at OLC, we have a cornucopia of blessings for which we are so grateful–all of the people who create our community–the Sisters, our beautiful retreatants, our amazing volunteers, and the staff here which has bonded into such a terrific team.

We are also so honored and grateful that we have had eight Parish Secretaries join us on our Theme retreats thus far this season.  They bring such a wonderful energy and enthusiasm and blessed us as they were blessed.

As we look ahead to the coming weeks and months, we are very excited to announce that we will be holding two Confirmation Retreats this coming Spring.  Please see below for details about upcoming dates for our Theme Retreat for Women as well as some wonderful day and evening programming in November and December.

We wish you and your families a most blessed Thanksgiving!

Becky Bridges
Office Manager

Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace
Our theme this year, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace, is both powerful and timely. It comes from one of the most popular and well-loved prayers in the world: the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis.
Peacemaking is not an optional commitment. It is a requirement of our faith. Time and again, Jesus calls us to be peacemakers. Faith intensifies our desire to address the questions of our times, precisely, in the light of the gospel:  What is peace?   What does it mean to be a peacemaker?  What is the Christian response to violence?  During our retreat, we will explore how we can place ourselves in the center of the storm and be an instrument of peace.
2017-18 Theme Retreat Dates
                                   January 12-14, 2018             March 2-4, 2018
                                   January 19-21, 2018             March 9-11, 2018
                                   February 16-18, 2018            April 6-8, 2018
                                   February 23-25, 2018            April 13-15, 2018
  Link to Theme Retreat flyer:
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Program $35 
Bring your friends for a fun and festive night. Attendees will learn how to make three-holiday cocktails while enjoying scrumptious hors d’ oeuvres.  Three festive cocktails will be prepared and sampled. Recipes will be provided.
You will also learn how to select affordable wines for your holiday dinner table from the west coast vineyards of Oregon, Washington State, and California.
Presenter: Patrick R. Miceli is a Central Connecticut Restaurateur and Entrepreneur. Patrick is owner of the critically acclaimed 50 West Bistro in Plainville, CT as well co-owner of Little River Restoratives Cocktail Bar and Bob Ramen in Hartford, CT. Patrick received his Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In addition, he worked for many years in the high-end hospitality industry in southern California and New York City. Patrick is the son of OLC’s Administrator Ron Miceli and wife Sharon.
Register by phone at (860) 677-8519 or online at
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Offering $30 – Includes lunch   

By considering the infancy narrative of Luke we will discover how this Christmas story actually summarizes and focuses the message of the Good News of the New Testament, and invites us to make this good news personal.  Then, in keeping with the gospel’s foundational message of the Word made flesh, or Incarnation, we will learn how our ordinary and seemingly secular preparations for Christmas may become vehicles for a contemplative practice which will prepare us spiritually for the birth of God, the mystery of the Incarnation.
Register for this program using the form below, or download: She said Yes: Making Room for the Birth of God
Presenter: Celeste Calabotta, music minister, pianist, and retreat team member at Our Lady of Calvary Retreat House in Farmington, CT has over thirty-five years of teaching experience.  A Lay Carmelite and Spiritual Director, Celeste began studying contemplative prayer 10 years ago and coordinates Lectio Divina prayer groups at St. Thomas The Apostle Church in West Hartford and Our Lady of Calvary.    She has two grown children and lives with her husband in West Hartford.
Register by phone at (860) 677-8519 or online at
March 18, 2018 @ 2-6 pm
April 8, 2018 @ 2-6 pm

What car part would you be as a disciple? What is the plan to get a car and ensure its safety and maintenance? Come to this interactive confirmation retreat and find out.
Presenter:  Shawnee Baldwin 
Shawnee served as Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministry at the Archdiocese of Hartford for 20 years. During that time, she coordinated, among many other programs and retreats, the Annual Catholic Youth Spectacular with 1400-3200 young people!!
Shawnee holds an MA in Religious Studies from Hartford Seminary.
The offering per person for this retreat is $35. If you are a DRE interested in bringing a larger Confirmation class, please call OLC at 860.677.8519 to talk with us about a group rate.

The program includes dinner.

OLC Enrollment Cards

Our Lady of Calvary offers a selection of Mass and Prayer enrollments that can be used for special prayer needs. Each enrollment comes with a beautiful Card that can be presented to the recipient or kept as a prayerful reminder. These cards were designed especially for OLC.

Enrollments make a loving and thoughtful gift for someone in need of comfort, healing, or encouragement-or just to let a loved one know they are in your thoughts and prayers every day. Recipients will be prayed for at the Holy Masses celebrated during retreat and in the prayers of the Sisters and retreatants. Holy Mass is celebrated once a month for all members of the Calvarian Society.
OLC Enrollment Cards are available for purchase online at

November is National Diabetes Month

Every 17 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes, a disease which kills more people each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.   The American Diabetes Association’s website states that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless steps are taken to stop this disease.

Early detection is critical.

This is why Our Lady of Calvary Retreat is hosting Life Line Screening, the nation’s leading provider of preventive health screenings on Friday, November 10, 2017.  One of the tests is a simple blood test for glucose (sugar) which can determine if a person is at-risk of developing diabetes.

Other screenings include tests to check for blocked carotid arteries, atrial fibrillation, and high blood pressure, which are the three leading risk factors for stroke.  Nearly 800,000 strokes will occur this year, taking a life approximately every four minutes.

There are also tests to check for abdominal aortic aneurysms and PAD, also called “hardening of the arteries” in the legs.

Diabetes is a major risk factor for stroke and is directly related to Peripheral Arterial Disease.  Recommendations for people with diabetes included a PAD test starting at age 50.

Screening packages start at $139. Single tests cost around $70.

For more information regarding the screenings or to schedule an appointment, call 1-888-653-6441 or go to or text the word circle to 797979. Pre-registration is required.