Joyful Again!

Here’s what past participants have to say

On the first day I was feeling scared and alone and by the end of the two days, I’m looking forward to the future.

What I learned this weekend is that I can move forward with my life and not feel guilty about it.

I felt that a program would possibly bring to the surface things and thoughts that I have not considered about my recovery. It has helped me in ways; especially listening to my fellow attendees and the various ways they are recovering.

[I now have] new ways to look at our shared sorrow and a desire to improve our lives.

[For my future, it’s] back to babysitting and enjoying the grandkids. When the weather cools down [I will be]walking the three miles a day and talking to the neighbors. [I will] approach the future one day at a time.

I felt like I needed a safe place to go to share my feelings of loss.

It has been a very helpful experience to learn from others, especially during the small group sharing. I loved my wife dearly and still feel that she is a big part of my life. I am not ready to let her go, but I also know that I need to put more balance in my life now without her being here.

It took me over a year after my husband died to attend a grief group. I just wasn’t ready. The invitation in the bulletin jumped out at me. It was time to deal with my grief and reach out for help.

After my husband died I had anger for the way the medical profession handled him. It was very difficult for me to observe all that and I was at his side every night and morning for the doctors’ rounds.

Anyway, I boxed that anger, taped it tight and put it in the back of my head to deal with at another time.

This retreat helped me deal with that box of anger and leave it here. Thank you.

I will always miss my wife, but the guilt about being “OK” is going away.

After years of searching, I finally found

a group of people who knew and could feel what I was going through.”


I had some ideas of what I wanted to do to move forward. All that is changed now.

I have found my purpose and will begin researching everything I can to make it happen.

God has surrounded me with many young people. Many of them have lost parents and some lost friends. I want to help them with grief. They are all so busy with work, marriage and children.

I pray that the Lord will guide me throughout this process. Thank you for the wonderful chance to be Joyful Again!


[Coming in I felt] unfocused, upside down and was hopeful I could settle this. [The last 2 days have] calmed the high-lows and I’ve recognized the need to focus.

I’m going to settle on new focus and pursue - and abandon the destructive.

The weekend was a miracle – I began to live again!

I wasn’t sure what to expect and was definitely nervous about coming.

I feel [attending Joyful Again!] has helped me resolve some issues and come to grips with others.

I’m going to contemplate on what has been discussed the last two days and try to face the future better as a single woman. I will try to work at healing.

Thank you for taking the time to help me through this journey.

I saw the weekend retreat advertised in my parish bulletin.

I immediately felt as if my spouse was speaking to me and God was telling me “Now is your time.”

When I decided to register I thought “it couldn’t hurt”. I was/am still missing my husband. I wasn’t sure I was moving forward. So many memories were flooding through my days and nights.

After my “Joyful Again!” retreat I learned that others had some of my same feelings and experiences. It was good to share. I was able for the first time to really put my thoughts in words and not feel uncomfortable.

The Thank You letter brought on so many emotions. It was hard work! But, I’m happy I did it.

I know that I don’t have a crystal ball to see into the future, but I know that whatever the future holds I am in God’s hands. And, I am ready to accept whatever He wants for me.


I was one of those people who wanted to back out the morning of Joyful Again!

I am so glad I came. I was very angry inside, not outside, and it became evident in my journaling.

As I answered questions and listened to the group I realized that I was not alone.

I felt as if I needed to meet some other folks who I could share some of my grief, who would understand how life changes [that] were going on in me, which I had never experienced before. I was glad I came as I was warmly welcomed as soon as I came in. I was hopeful to find good things here.

I heard many stories, including my own, and found comfort, companionship and understanding, particularly from the facilitators in my group. I think in the journaling process I was able to get more insight into how I can move forward into a new “normal”, God willing.

I am grateful for the recommendation of 2 good books for further reading.

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The first day I was looking for a new direction and to being closer to the Lord and the Holy Spirit! I will pray for them to show me a way to go.

I loved the program and the retreat helped me to understand myself better.

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I felt that it was time for me to move on.

I learned that God is there to help along with other skills.

The small groups were beneficial. The videos are good.

When I registered for the program I had hopes of meeting other widowed people with whom I could share my feelings. In previous support groups it was anyone grieving the loss of someone in their life, i.e. child, parent, friend or spouse.

Once I came to JA, I felt that there were many people who felt like I did, and I did not feel so alone.

I will be looking to the future in a more positive way. Thanks to the videos and small group sharing, I will look more to God to help me through the tough times.

The sharing from Angelica and Frank have helped me very much, as well as the direction that Rose has added. The forgiveness ceremony was very helpful.

On my first day I didn’t know how I would react since I have been through a Joyful Again! weekend before. I was anxious, nervous and timid.

In the last 2 days you all have renewed my confidence and given me support. I have met several new friends who have the same problems as I have and they too have given me courage.

I see my future as a strong continuation of my life. My husband commented many times how proud he was of me and my volunteer work. This will keep me affirmed as my world gives me new challenges too. Thank you to all of the participants, but most especially my Joyful Again! family. Thank you, Angelica and Frank for helping me back to a grateful and useful life. You have lifted my spirits.


I felt welcome the moment I picked up my name badge. I knew this experience would be okay.

The topics were well presented and in a good sequential order. They built upon each other and were very relevant. The format of listening, writing and sharing greatly assisted in addressing my grief.

A friend asked me to come with them to the program.

I’m not too good at sharing my life with others, but I felt safe and my experience was better than I expected.

Life is about beginnings and I’m so grateful for all that has gotten me to this new beginning.

I am not Catholic, but I felt truly welcomed and totally comfortable, as the Joyful Again Program is ecumenical.

The weekend has been a positive experience for me. I had one on one with Hospice, but there was something missing – interaction with others and hearing what they are going through. The videos, journaling, and discussion was exactly what I needed to continue my grief journey. The group size was appropriate and the facilitators were excellent. The length of the program was good also. The food was great. The venue was good. The Mass and water ceremony was great.

I am very satisfied with the whole weekend and would recommend your retreat to anyone who has been widowed.

My timing for attending (9 months) was good and the group of people was good also.

The first day I was looking for a new direction and to being closer to the Lord and the Holy Spirit! I will pray for them to show me a way to go.

Thank you.

My kids and grandkids say I’m not the same person after the weekend.

I’m alive. They want me to go again!

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I was so glad to hear about the Joyful Again! retreat . I liked the idea of 2-days and an overnight. I just seemed to know that it would help me and it did.

I thought I needed some help! Now I know I did!

I leave wiser and thankful!


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