Start a Small Group

Infertility is an extremely isolating cross that can pose a significant test of faith for Catholics. Springs in the Desert Small Groups are a place for women to grieve infertility and pregnancy loss, acknowledge their pain and suffering, and encounter others who understand and are on the journey with them.

With our Small Group Guides, you can create a space for women to form bonds of friendship in the community, breaking the barriers of isolation and helping them to grow closer to the Lord through this heavy cross. Do you feel called to establish a small group in your diocese or parish? Here’s how it works:

  1. Order your Facilitator and Participant Guides from our shop.
  2. Complete Facilitator Orientation, which can be scheduled after purchase. Use the Contact Form to get in touch!
  3. Host your first Small Group session! If you have any questions along the way, the Springs in the Desert team would be happy to consult with you.

Pilot Groups

Springs in the Desert Small Groups are currently being piloted. We will update this page as more Small Groups get started around the country—and the world! Please see the contact information below if there is a Small Group in your area:

Steubenville, Ohio (book study of Under the Laurel Tree by Nicole Roccas):

    • Meetings on Sept. 7, 21, Oct. 5, 19, Nov. 2, 16, and Dec. 7 from 9am–11am
    • Calovini Room located at Holy Family Church in Malara Hall (2655 Alexander Street)
    • Contact Bernadette bmrjuliano@gmail.com or Meg mreister@franciscan.edu

Christchurch, New Zealand:

Participant FAQ

We’re women and men just like you, with hopes and dreams for children, yet who find ourselves carrying the cross of infertility. We felt isolated and alone, too. When we started this ministry, we discovered that, while each of our experiences are unique, we’ve all encountered similar thoughts, emotions, and difficulties, and these are what bind us together. Now, we walk this path along with hundreds of others, discovering the fruitfulness God has planned for all of us!

Our ministry is known for our virtual events, such as our annual Lenten “Desert Pilgrimage” series, and for in-person retreats. There’s something special and important about being able to support each other and create friendships within our own communities, and that’s why we’ve created our first Springs in the Desert Small Group series for in-person use. These groups can be organized by a diocese, a parish, or by women who see their own need for community and want to invite others to meet for support and friendships.

Our first small group series includes eight sessions and is for women only, although there is an optional ninth session that husbands are invited to join. We will be creating additional series on various topics, because infertility is a shared cross and impacts our marriages in many ways.

Women at all different places on their infertility path are invited to participate. If you are a newlywed, trying to conceive or receiving treatment, taking a break from charting, nearing or in menopause, or anything in between—you are welcome. 

Springs in the Desert is a Catholic ministry, and our belief in her teachings, the importance of prayer and the Sacraments, and her wisdom on marriage and the human person guides all that we do. We are blessed to offer support to non-Catholic Christian couples, many of whom have been a part of our community since our founding. Our shared faith in Christ and God’s plan for our marriages bring us together in friendship and prayer.

Springs in the Desert small groups are led by other women from your parish, diocese, or community. Facilitators know the experience of infertility and loss, because they’ve walked this path and want to walk it with you, too. We know our Facilitators; they have been trained by our Team and receive on-going support from us. We trust them to create a warm and inviting space for the group, have an open heart to receive your story, guide the conversation so that everyone is heard and respected, and keep everything shared in the group in strict confidence.

This is your time to let down your guard, to share your burdens with others who understand, without fear of judgment. Our small group series addresses various aspects of the infertility experience, and the suggested readings and discussion questions offer opportunities for sharing your own story and receiving those of others. This listening and sharing broadens our perspective, allowing us to grow in compassion, sensitivity, and charity. Small group facilitators are there to welcome you, create an environment conducive to sharing, and help guide the discussion.

Each meeting begins and ends with prayer; facilitators and participants are encouraged to pray silently for each other during sharing time and to pause for vocal prayer if a participant needs spiritual support after sharing something particularly emotional or difficult. Everything shared in the small group is strictly confidential, and we ask that our facilitators and participants pledge to hold the small group space sacred and respect everyone’s privacy. 

As a small group participant, you are invited to share as much or as little as you choose during any given meeting. Everyone is asked to listen to others with sensitivity and respect, and refrain from offering solutions or giving advice. The purpose of the small group is mutual sharing, spiritual support, and growth in our relationship with God. It is a place of respite from either explaining our emotions to others or avoiding them, and a time to be with others on the path who listen without judgment.

The frequency of meetings is determined by the facilitator and the needs of the group. You can meet weekly, every two weeks, monthly, or according to a schedule that best fits the group. Meetings are designed to allow adequate time for prayer and for everyone to be able to share. We suggest setting aside about an hour and thirty minutes.

Yes, infertility is hard. Really hard. And stepping out in faith to talk about it with others—even with those who are going through it too—can also be hard. Be not afraid! You will be among friends and in a safe place to share your heart as little or as much as you feel comfortable. While a peer-based small group doesn’t replace spiritual direction, counseling, or therapy (and we do recommend seeing a good spiritual director or counselor if needed), it is an opportunity to find a sense of belonging during a season where we may feel isolated and misunderstood by others.

Email us at info@springsinthedesert.org or use our Contact Form and we’ll answer any questions you have.