in Bahia, Brazil

August 7-August 17, 2019


I joined "Paying Homage to Woman" retreat in Salvador, Bahia, in search of peace and tranquillity within myself, but at the same time I wanted a culture adventure. I honestly must say I had all of that within the ten days. This has to do with how well Francesca organized it. The daily activities, spiritual practice and our evening gatherings allowed us to share and reflect on our daily rich experiences.


As Paying Homage to Woman was at the forefront and in appreciation for all woman has done in history, the present, and also feeling inspired for what woman will do in the future. This retreat allowed us to be fully immersed in the Bahian culture and it linked to the history of Brazil and Candomblé religion. I learned a lot about Brazil and also reinforced how strong we are.


I joined the retreat not knowing anyone who participated on the retreat. Now I feel a great connection with everybody in the group. I have left Brazil with a deeper consciousness about the society we live in and feeling confident as a woman in this world.


Thank you Francesca. My Paying Homage to Woman experience will be cherished dearly. 


This retreat was rewarding, in every way. The spiritual practice in the mornings grounded and renewed me for the day ahead. Each day included activities designed to educate us about Bahia, the history, culture and spirituality of the Afro Brazilian people who make up the majority of its population. We met women who are important movers and shakers in their communities, heard their stories, and listened to the answers to our questions about their political and personal challenges.


We participated in cultural activities, including the beautiful Festival of Good Death in the town of Cachoeira. We visited important historical and religious sites, a museum of Afro Brazilian history and culture, a secluded and beautiful waterfall, and a gorgeous beach. There was plenty of time for learning, and for enjoyment and relaxation.


Our guide Josuel was incredibly informative, and attentive to the needs of the group. He took us to incredible places, excellent restaurants and impressive cultural events – not a single tourist trap. Francesca, our retreat organizer and leader, created an amazing program. She did a wonderful job moving the retreat forward positively through inevitable challenges. In addition to running the retreat activities, Francesca led the spiritual practice each morning, where she was encouraging and inspiring.


I thoroughly enjoyed this retreat. Anyone who is looking to be renewed and inspired will benefit from attending a retreat presented by Francesca James.


The closest I can get to verbalizing a testimony for “Paying Homage to Woman:  A Cultural Retreat in Bahia Brazil” is Gladys Knight singing, “Where Peaceful Waters Flow”.  Gladys said “Take my hand and walk with me a while. Let me teach you how to smile and I’ll show you skies where gentle breezes blow. I’ll take you where peaceful waters flow.” 


My wonderful journey of peace and discovery at this time in my life was co-facilitated by Francesca James and Spirit. Brazil was a calling to deepen my awareness of self. I was taken to places and experienced wonders I will never forget. My spirit has reached another level and I am forever changed by my interaction with the powerful women I met. I am also grateful for the masculine energy  that added balance to our journey. All is well with my soul.


The Spirit of Woman Retreat
Taino Cove Resort, Treasure Beach, Jamaica

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