CatholicCare Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains operates a drop-in centre in the heart of Springwood in the Blue Mountains where all members of the community are welcome to come in and connect.
They say things happen for a reason, and exactly why Leanne took a spare moment to pop into Springwood Drop-In Centre became apparent not long after she walked in the door.
“I dropped in to sit while my son was having blood tests next door,” she recalls. “I ended up speaking with Sally, the lady who runs the Women’s Circle. I was invited to join and I accepted because my other women’s meeting had been cancelled due to COVID.”
Leanne is one of a growing number of local women joining CatholicCare Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains’ Women’s Circle. The Circle started this year as a way of helping women to build social connections and friendships.
Community Outreach Worker Sally Butler initiated the program, after receiving an Australia Post grant, and facilitates the gatherings.
“The concept of women sitting in circle is an ancient, ages old tradition,” explains Sally. “It is a gift of time out from the everyday, to connect with self and others, to refill your cup and bring a little magic into your life, doing something you wouldn’t normally.
“Having a group program like a Women’s Circle encourages women to make a commitment to self-care. When women take care of themselves, they are stronger and more resilient, and this has a roll-on effect within their families and communities,” she says.
The Women’s Circle is held fortnightly on Fridays at the Springwood Drop-In Centre from 10am–11.30am. Women sit in a circle and share conversation, take part in writing, craft and other activities. Each Circle ends with a guided meditation written by Sally.
“The women seem to really enjoy the meditation—it’s important they leave feeling ‘uplifted’ or nurtured to a degree,” she’s observed.
Leanne described the Circle as “caring and heart-centred in today’s world”.
“It gives me some respite in my difficult life of caring for others,” she admits. “The community and caring aspect reflect my own values. I grow, learn and am enriched, which then blesses others.”
To find out more about the Women’s Circle, contact the CatholicCare Springwood Drop-In Centre at ccss.org.au/springwood-centre/ or phone (02) 8843 2545.
This article was originally featured in the Ordinary Time/Winter 2021 Edition of the Catholic Outlook Magazine.