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Light the Path to Your New Season

A   Journey to Empowerment, Purpose & Service

Mercy by the Sea, in Madison, CT

November 14-18, 2024

If you are a woman in transition who wants to discover your God-given potential and achieve your greatest dreams, then join us on this inspiring journey, where you'll let go of old limitations, embrace your true self, and begin walking your own unique path to grace and fulfillment.

You step onto the serene grounds and take a deep breath of the fresh air. The sound of the waves crashing against the shore is like a lullaby, and the lush greenery all around you is calming and inviting. You feel yourself starting to relax, and the stress of everyday life begins to melt away.

You follow the path to the elegant home overlooking the Long Island Sound, and you can hear the laughter and conversation of the women inside. You open the door and step into the warm and inviting space. There are women everywhere, chatting and laughing. 

You join the circle of women and introduce yourself. You quickly feel at home, as you share stories and laughs. You realize that you are surrounded by women who share your values, your mindset, and your faith.

As the night goes on, you realize that you are exactly where you are meant to be. You feel a sense of peace and belonging that you have never felt before.


You smile as you look forward to the days ahead. You know that this is a place where you can be yourself, and where you can grow and learn. You are just where you belong, for just a time as this.

Why Should I Attend?

Can you imagine how fulfilled and content you would feel if you truly knew your purpose in life?

On this sacred retreat, through prophetic prayers, meditation, and quiet time with God you will receive inspired revelations about your purpose so that you gain clarity about your next step.


How freeing will it be to live your authentic self not pretending or needing to put on a mask?

You'll learn how to identify your authentic self, live in alignment with your true values, and how to say no to things that don't serve you so that you'll throw off your mask and feel a sense of freedom and liberation that you've never felt before.


Wouldn't it feel wonderful to be trained in how to develop connections in the community around you?

A theatre professional and playwright teaches you how to effectively facilitate a story circle, a powerful tool for building connections across boundaries through story-sharing.


Wouldn't it be amazing to have a community of like-minded women who understand what you are going through and can support you when needed?

Through structured and unstructured group activities and adventures, you can share your stories, laugh together, cry together, and receive support, love, and acceptance. You will create memories and build relationships that will last a lifetime.

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The Venue

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Imagine walking along the shore, the waves crashing against the sand in a soothing rhythm. You can smell the salt air and see sailboats in the distance. The seagulls soar overhead, and you feel the peace and calm of Mercy by the Sea.

The air is fresh and clean, and you feel relaxed and at peace. 

The main building is a beautifully restored mansion with a chapel, art gallery, and quiet spaces to read, relax, pray, or meditate. The grounds are beautifully landscaped, with lawns, flowers, and a labyrinth. You feel safe and supported, ready to deepen your relationship with God.

As you enter the large Great Room at Seascape, the main lodging for our group, you are immediately drawn to the floor-to-ceiling picture window framing the natural beauty of the Long Island Sound. The centrally placed fireplace is the perfect place to cozy up on a cold winter day, gather for a fireside chat, or play a game. 

Seascape was donated to the Sisters of Mercy in 1995 by actress Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue. The finely crafted details, such as the hardwood floors and the fireplace, create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Seascape has everything you need for a comfortable stay, including a second-floor conversational area and shared guest rooms with ensuite bathrooms. All the guest rooms provide a quiet sanctuary for reflection, journaling, conversation, and rest.

You are in a place where you can be yourself and create lasting memories.


Imagine yourself sitting down to a delicious autumn meal in the McAuley Dining Room. The wall-length windows capture the light and beauty of the landscaped grounds, and you can even see the shore in the distance.

The menu features simple, healthy dishes made with local and organic ingredients. 

You can start your day with a breakfast featuring both hot and cold items, such as oatmeal, yoghurt, fruit, eggs, and pancakes.


The salad bar at lunch is always fresh and vibrant, with seasonal greens, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Soups, sandwiches, and entrees provide more variety to choose from.


Dinner is a hearty meal with protein, starch, vegetables, and salad, plus house-made desserts.

And don't forget about the beverage station, which is open 24/7 and offers coffee, tea, juice, and water.


Chef Joe is a talented chef who takes pride in creating delicious and nutritious meals that everyone can enjoy. He is happy to accommodate vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free diets.


Here's a sneak peek at what your days will be like at our women's retreat:

  • Hear from a woman of God who overcame depression and other emotional issues through faith. Her story and teachings will inspire you and give you hope.

  • Set goals based on your values and create a plan to achieve them. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you're clear about what you want.

  • Spend time in prayer, meditation, and quiet time with God. This is your chance to connect with your Creator and experience His peace.

  • Delight in fun activities, and creative stations. Let loose and enjoy yourself!

  • Take time for self-examination through the mirror of God's Word. See yourself as God sees you and discover your true worth.

  • Enjoy an adventure through structured and unstructured group activities with a community of like-minded women. Share your experiences, laugh together, and grow together.

This is your chance to step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and focus on your own spiritual growth. You'll come away feeling refreshed, renewed, and ready to take on the world.

And even more takeaways! You will…

  • Identify your authentic self and live in alignment with your true values.

  • Learn to say no to things that don't serve you.

  • Throw off your mask and feel a sense of freedom and liberation.

  • Receive spiritual and practical techniques to live a life full of faith, purpose, and joy.

  • Develop a confident mindset and self-image with custom affirmations based on Bible truths.

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The Bonuses…

Access to an exclusive online community before and after the retreat, where you prepare for and then continue practicing the lessons learned. Share your challenges and successes with women you have grown to know. Plus share your photos from the retreat!

After the retreat, we will have an in-person gathering to reconnect and have fun!

Attendess at the 2019 Escape

What’s Included:

  • 4 days of teaching, hands-on workshops, and activities; Thursday through Monday!

  • All group activities, including an excursion.

  • Comfy accommodations at the gracious Seascape House (double occupancy) beginning Thursday, November 14th at 4 p.m. through Monday, November 18th. Guests enjoy shared rooms which sleep 2 guests per room with 2 twin-size beds and ensuite bathrooms. Single occupancy rooms are available.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, and Beverages; from the opening reception on Thursday evening, through Lunch on Monday, and includes a celebration dinner on Sunday night.

  • An excursion to a mystery location for an awesome hands-on creative activity!

  • Pre- and post-retreat exclusive community group

  • Pre-retreat group coaching call via Zoom with Olive and other coaches

  • Post-retreat Zoom & gathering: one month after the retreat we will have a Zoom call followed by an in-person gathering!

  • What’s Not Included:

  • Your transportation from and to your home

  • Your optional excursions during free time 

  • Shopping for souvenirs and personal items

  • Private sessions with Olive or Pastor Forshia

  • Additional food or drink (other than our planned meals together)

  • Any item not specifically detailed in the itinerary.

  • Alcohol is not allowed on the Mercy by the Sea property.

Your Presenters

Pastor Forshia Ross, Speaker, Author

“Forshia, you seem to hear God’s voice so clearly,” say many who have heard her speak. “How did you know that’s exactly what I needed?” A gifted teacher, speaker, and author, Forshia Ross has a strong ability to identify where you are in your struggles and bring you where you need to be. Change happens! Healings happen!


Nothing is impossible when God speaks His plan and purpose! A dynamic speaker with a heart after God, Forshia has a passion to see His redemptive plan played out in the lives of others. And because God has so graciously and powerfully healed Forshia from destructive patterns in her life, she desires that others experience healing as promised in Isaiah 61. She gives hope to the brokenhearted and stirs the hearts of the complacent. She challenges others to lead a life of obedience to God.

Her two books, "No Secondhand Rose" and "The Wilderness Shall Blossom Like the Rose", tells of her unabashed struggles with emotional and mental illness, physical infirmities, and years of past abuses that led to personal encounters with God. These encounters created in her a faith that enables her to impart hope to people that helps them believe for the impossible.

You will be amazed as Forshia provides just the right keys to unlock the hindrances of the heart that keep you from serving God with greater joy and purpose. After all, the Bible says that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Using her own experiences as a backdrop and the Word of God as a foundation, she will unfold the scriptures in such a way, that you will definitely come away saying, "I can do this! With God's help, I can really do this!" You won’t be disappointed when you discover that God wants the best for you.

Pastor Forshia Ross is a licensed and ordained minister. She has also been certified in Mental Health First Aid given by the National Council for Behavioral Health, Mental Health First Aid USA.

She and her husband, Eric, live in southern New England and have two children and seven grandchildren.

Tara Brooke Watkins, PhD, MA, BA

Tara Brooke Watkins is a New England-based theatre director specializing in community engagement practices. Currently an assistant professor at Salve Regina University, she holds a Master’s in theatre education from Emerson College and a PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies from Tufts University.

She is a story circle facilitator and advocate for its use in creating dialogue across boundaries. Using applied theatre techniques in collaboration with story circles, she promotes an embodied communal healing experience around oft-hushed topics like interracial relations, sexual violence, and fatphobia.

Out of this desire, she has co-led groups such as “Shatter the Silence” at Bethel AME Church in Boston with Rev. Gloria White-Hammond and antiracism accountability groups such as “1619 Reading and Action Group.” 

As a playwright, she develops theatre productions rooted in the story circle process. Such plays include The Bible Women’s Project, an official selection of the New York International Fringe Festival and winner of three national Kennedy Center College Theatre Festival Awards, Tulsa ’21: Black Wall Street about the Tulsa Race Massacre, The Father Bill’s Play about homelessness in Massachusetts and Shatter the Silence, a short play about sexual victimization in religious institutions.

In 2019, she directed Sleeping Weazel’s The Audacity: Women Speak, which received the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Theatre Production (small/fringe).

She is the founder of South Shore School of Theatre and an award-winner for experimental theatre work like her immersive production of August Strindberg’s A Dream Play and her traveling neighborhood production of for colored girls….


Olive P. Knight, Life Coach


I am your host, Olive Knight, a Christian Transformational Life Coach. I was born in Jamaica and now live just outside Boston, MA with my husband, Alphonse. I am a mom of two, and grandma to three.

I am a retired librarian with a Master of Library Science degree. For many years I have been involved in church work as a board member, youth leader, on the women’s ministry board, and paid administrator. I really love to plan and carry out uniquely crafted women's retreats, cruises, and events.

During the pandemic, I needed to find some way to connect with others. and realized that other women probably felt the same. I founded the SPA Women’s Circle: A Spiritual, Practical, and Affirming online community where women can connect with each other, share their stories, and grow in their faith.

My newest achievement is authoring the book, "7 Ways to Identify God's Purpose For Your Life." I'm so excited to share this book with the world and help people discover their God-given purpose.

I'm passionate about helping women live their best lives. Every woman has a unique purpose and calling, and I want to help women discover and fulfill their God-given potential.

I am also the Executive Director of The Vibe Coffeehouse, where I work alongside an amazing and creative team in a non-profit that seeks to showcase Christian artists of all genres, in an intimate setting.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is this retreat for me?

    • If you are feeling overwhelmed by the changes in your life, this retreat is for you. You'll have the chance to rest, reflect, and relax in a serene setting, learn from wise teachers, and receive prophetic prayers to help you step into your new season with confidence and joy.

  • What is included in my registration?

    • Lodging, meals, teachings, a mystery excursion, and more. See the “What’s included” list above.

  • What is your cancellation policy?

    • The deposit is non-refundable. See the full cancellation policy on the registration page.

  • I need a roommate – how do I arrange that?

    • You may choose your own roommate who you know will be attending. Provide the name on the retreat application form. Or we can choose for you.

  • Can you accommodate dietary restrictions?

    • The chef can accommodate vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free diets. Ask if you need anything else.

  • What is the dress code?

    • Casual and comfortable wear. 

  • What do I pack?

    • Casual and comfortable clothing (plan for fall weather), Bible, notebook/journal, pen, toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, hair care, skincare, soap, etc.), pajamas, earplugs/noise-cancelling headphones, phone charger, water bottle. One night we will have a special celebration dinner. Please plan to wear something dressy.


Got Questions?

©2023 Olive P. Knight | SPA Women's Circle
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