Workshops and Seminars
|"There are some people who are gifted in the art of changing lives. Francesca Gentille is one of them. She delivers her messages, life lessons, and art, in terms both embracing and exhilarating. I have been both student and teacher in a variety of spiritual disciplines, and can honestly say that Francesca is up there with the handful of Master Teachers whom I respect for their discipline, their humanity, and their joyous delight in life."
- Helen Noakes, Traditional Reiki Master, Usui Shiki Ryoho
|Nate and I had been engaged for seven months when we went into serious wedding planning mode. I have known Francesca for over ten years and have attended many of her workshops and rituals. Given that she is the best workshop leader I have had the pleasure to be led by, I knew of no better person to perform the most important ceremony of my life.
When Francesca first met with me and my fiance, Nate, it was four months before the wedding. Her first question was why do you want to marry?
She invited us to look into both the material reasons of comfort, stability, family and security as well as the spiritual reasons of personal growth, transformation, emotional healing and the path of the soul through the sacred container of marriage. She stated that she was only willing to be our minister if we were committed to being intentional and conscious in the sacred, initiatory process that betrothal and marriage are meant to be.
We talked about the difficult issues with the wedding; I am pagan, my family is Jewish, Nate tends toward a Nordic belief system, and some of his family are fundamentalist Christian. We wanted a ceremony that was sacred for both us and our families, in all their diversity.
Francesca led us through a process of discovering the primary meaning for us of getting married. For us it was all about deepening our relationship with community, lineage, tradition, heritage, and tribe. It was about increasing our connection with all our communities and the flow of giving and receiving upon which community is founded. We then went through a process of examining how we could appeal to the multiple traditions that would be present.
Francesca has extensive notebooks of ceremonies, rituals, and poetry from multiple cultural perspectives. Her sensitivity to and knowledge of the sacred in multiple cultures was crucial in this process. She had us go over these books, made lists of tasks to research and think about, such as researching specific customs from each of our heritages, and continuing to focus on the power of this upcoming life transition.
She sent us home with homework. As the stress of the wedding planning shifted into high gear, connecting our hearts, spirits and bodies intimately became harder and harder to do. She gave us a growing-closer ritual to perform each full moon. These rituals, that were Tantrically based. They connected us in heart space to each other.
By the time we met with Francesca and her partner John two months before the wedding, Nate and I were at each other's throats. The planning had gotten so stressful, the money so tight, the commitment suddenly so real and so scary, we were constantly irritated with each other. Apparently this is normal, but it was also miserable.
They had come to our place to discuss the ceremony, but one look at us and they changed their plans. Francesca went off with me and John went off with Nate to do a check-in. Then we all met together for several hours. By the time they left, Nate and I had remembered we were in love. Even now I'm not quite sure how they did it - and I'm a psychotherapist!
I knew Francesca well, but John had just met Nate. Somehow John was able to relate to my strong, stubborn, sensitive partner (who doesn't relate to just anyone) as effectively as Francesca related to me. They guided us through remembering why we were getting married, taught us some communication skills (the ones I teach my own clients all the time), and led us in making supportive agreements. We got no wedding planning done. What we were did was much more important.
Over the next two months Nate and I met a number of times with Francesca, as well as exchanging multiple emails. She continued to assign us tasks regarding the ceremony, guiding us (in our occasionally semi-panicked state) in finding our own meanings, our own intentions, and reflecting this in the details of the ceremony.
Several days before the wedding, Francesca led me in a Mikveh with my closest woman friends, in celebration of my Jewish heritage. She researched the history and meaning of Mikveh, checking in with me, and performed a meaningful ceremony in which I became cleansed and more ready for the commitment of marriage.
Just before the wedding, we had everything figured out except our personal vows! Once again, Francesca went off with me while John went off with Nate, to assist us in writing our vows. She again guided me to express the heart of my feelings, the core of my intentions in committing to this marriage. I didn't hear Nate's vows until we were at the alter. They made my cry.
Everyone who was at the ceremony found it sacred and moving, from the Christians, to the Pagans, to the Jews and atheists. Everyone exclaimed over how beautiful it was.
For me, the whole process, from engagement to planning to practicing, was a ritual of moving into a new phase in my life. Francesca's sensitive, strong, vibrant energy was vital in this process. Her counseling and ministering were priceless in contributing to a powerful beginning for me and my husband(!) in our new life.
Zoe Camwrath--Psychotherapist & Nate Camwrath-Grocer