Jennifer Reyes Lay
Jennifer Reyes Lay is a catholic priestess in the lineage of the Magdalene. A cradle Catholic, she attended St. Louis University for her undergrad where she received an Honors B.A. in International Studies and Theology with minors in Women’s Studies, Philosophy, and Spanish. This course of study was deeply influence by her study abroad experience in San Salvador, El Salvador at the University of Central America (UCA) where she was first introduced to liberation theology and feminist theology. Following the call to develop her skills for pastoral and ordained ministry, she later graduated with her Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO in 2019. Jennifer is an ecofeminist theologian, ritual leader, preacher, musician and songwriter, poet, facilitator, aspiring herbalist, midwife of justice, and lover of the natural world. She enjoys creating and presiding at specialized rituals to honor particular moments in a person’s life and to honor liturgical seasons, feast days, and earth-based cycles and seasons. She is fluent in Spanish and happy to offer her many gifts and skills to the Spanish-speaking community for their spiritual and ritual needs. Jennifer is also a skilled preacher and has been a member of the preaching team at Sts. Clare & Francis ECC for the past five years.
Jennifer finds joy in writing and sharing new songs, singing and praying together in ways that honor all beings, and learning more about the world around her. Jennifer leads Healing Earth Circles both virtually and in person as a way to foster this type of healing community and help us remember our place in and reconnect to the greater web of life. She is also an aspiring herbalist and seeks to reclaim women’s ancient ways of knowing and sharing the abundant medicine that surrounds us in the plant world.
Jennifer is committed to healing herself and her ancestral lineages, particularly from the harms of internalized sexism, white supremacy, and colonialism. She is passionate about sharing this healing work with others in the Christian lineage, and has created and led multiple workshops for faith-based communities over the past seven year on topics such as: Christianity, White Supremacy and Colonialism; Anti-racism; Ecofeminism and Ecowomanism; Microagressions and Unconscious bias; the Prison Industrial Complex and Abolition; and Human Trafficking. She is available as a consultant and/or facilitator of this type of work.
A monthly mini-retreats series with some of the wise and well ancestors of our Christian lineage
Registration Form: https://forms.gle/5Dc1TVRxU7MkgSWw7
You are warmly invited to join me for a series of virtual mini-retreats in 2023 where each month we will connect with a wise and well spiritual ancestor of the Christian lineage on their feast day to learn more about their life, reflect on how it speaks to our own joys and struggles, and listen to the wisdom they have to share with us today through song, prayer and guided meditation.
Each session will take place in the evening on the feast day of the saint from 7:00 – 8:30pm central time via Zoom. All sessions will be recorded so you can sign up and if you aren’t able to attend in person you will receive a copy of the recording. You can sign up for specific months for $20 per session, or for the full year at a discounted rate of $200 for all 12 sessions.
Here is the full schedule for 2023:
January 1 – Mary Mother of God
February 1 – St. Brigid of Ireland
March 24 – St. Oscar Romero
April 29 – St. Catherine of Sienna
May 30 – St. Joan of Arc
June 24 – St. John the Baptist
July 22 – St. Mary Magdalene
August 11 – St. Clare of Assisi
September 17 – St. Hildegard von Bingen
October 4 – St. Francis of Assisi
November 3 – St. Martin de Porres
December 6 – St. Nicholas of Myra
Online: February 18th 10am – 5pm central with breaks for meals and individual activities; cost $75
In person in St. Louis: February 19th 10:00am – 6:00pm; cost $150 (lunch included)
Registration form: https://forms.gle/eZjUxy4E5jnyahpi8
“Come to the desert if you will. If you choose. Come and pray with these desert mothers, who offer you a word and who already, in Christ, pray for you.” (Mary Earle, The Desert Mothers).
Prepare to enter into the wilderness of the Lenten season with the Desert Ammas – the wise women of the 4th and 5th centuries who went into the desert both alone and in community to focus on the love of God embodied in daily life. What word do these wise mothers have to offer us today, in our own Lenten journeys entering into the desert of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving? In a world facing catastrophic climate change, hyper-production and consumerism, exploitation, and violence – what can we discern about how to live and love through creating our own little prayer cave, slowing down to listen to that still small voice of the divine within and the wisdom she has to offer? Just as people of faith sought the counsel of these desert ammas centuries ago during times of chaos and change, you too can seek them in prayer and practice today, right where you are, to see what wisdom they have to offer you.
This day long retreat will draw on the wisdom and practices offered by Mary Earle in her book The Desert Mothers: Spiritual Practices from the Women of the Wilderness. Earle says in her introduction: “Praying with the desert women takes us back to the basics. They will remind us of the virtues of simplicity and stillness, of silence and of solitude. They will call us to balance and moderation – something Western society has all but forgotten. Praying with the desert mothers calls us to be open to conversion, to that deep transformation that can only be accomplished by the activity of the living God, moving and dwelling within us…”
Join me in this spiritual desert space to cultivate new, or maybe re-newed, prayer practices to engage throughout the Lenten season, learning and listening to the wisdom of the desert mothers and the wisdom of your own heart. All genders welcome – the Desert Ammas have wisdom to share for the benefit of all (not just women!).
All participants – both online and in person – will also be invited to be part of an optional ongoing virtual small faith sharing group throughout the Lenten season to continue supporting one another in these new desert practices and sharing the wisdom and challenges that surface.