Birth of a new 70Candles! Group

Roseann, Age 70

I would like to share the wonderful birthing of a new 70 Candles Support Group in New Jersey. This past Sunday, Feb. 18, 13 women gathered together at my home for a most beautiful and meaningful Sunday afternoon.

I learned of a day before my 70th birthday this past Jan. 5. I was immediately drawn to its beautiful healing energy, and the hope, comfort and inspiration afforded to women as we enter these last precious decades…I decided almost immediately that I wanted to form a group, began spreading the word to friends, and asked them to invite their friends etc. I also purchased Jane and Ellen’s book, and the Leader’s Guide. I called my friend Linda who is a therapist like myself, and asked if she would like to co-facilitate with me. The day turned out more wonderful than we could have imagined…

The kitchen table was set with cake, cookies, a fruit salad, some dip and chips, and some cheese and crackers…We also had a box of Valentine chocolates! Everyone came in and filled out information cards and began chatting, as they had coffee, tea and goodies…Then, we went into the living room and officially began our meeting.

The feeling around the room was wonderful…It was as if everyone was hungry for the same things and they felt that here, they could and would receive the emotional and spiritual nourishment they were looking for.

After a brief introduction of the history of 70 candles, we played some music (I chose “A Million Dreams” from the Greatest Showman- I love that song! to begin the group. We ended with a hand-holding circle to John Denver’s ” I Want to Live.”)

We went around the room as each person introduced themselves and spoke about why they wanted to be here, what they were looking for and so on…So many of us were sharing common concerns. We found comfort in being listened to, as we each spoke about our feelings about aging our life situations etc.

We also read and discussed John O’Donohue’s poem, “For a New Beginning”- a beautiful poem that opened the way for lots of wonderful sharings.

We also did a little “Bucket List” exercise, where the women wrote down, not only things they want to do in their life, but who they seek to be, qualities they want to engender in themselves etc. We explained that our list would be visited each month, and could be amended and added to in any way they wanted. We placed the lists in envelopes in a brightly colored yellow bucket- in safe keeping.

The women began talking about how we can be a loving and supportive group for each other- we could visit one another, meet at a diner for breakfast, lunch or dinner, go to a movie, walk or hike with one another, visit each other, run errands for one another and so on…There would be someone to call or email if we needed a helping hand or just felt like having company. We will make an email and phone list to share, so that people could communicate with one another, as well as with the group at large.

We also decided to meet once a month- and in addition to talking about our lives, perhaps have a half hour or so for some educational topic or spiritual practice or physical exercise routine. Members could take turns sharing some of their special techniques or strategies for aging with dignity and love and respect for ourselves and one another. Every one has some gift or talent or story to share- by the age of 60-70, we truly are all teachers!

Our group is filled right now. 13 were there and there were several others who wanted to come, but were unable to, and my home cannot accommodate more than 20 or so comfortably. I will let you know if we can include more as time goes on.

It is easy to form a group…All you need is a friend or two…A cup of coffee or tea, and a willing and listening Heart… Where two or more are gathered, wonderful things can happen.

Dear Friends, we all get lonely and sad…But we can do something about it to make it easier. Sharing our loneliness and sadness with another, truly helps…Please do not isolate- when there are so many who are feeling exactly as you…They too need a friend. Perhaps offer an invitation to just come over and “let’s be 70 together…”

I live in Central New Jersey in the Somerset area-midway between Princeton and Morristown. Even if our group is filled, feel free to connect with me, and I can share with you how perhaps you and a friend or two can begin to form a gathering that will provide you with the comfort you are so deserving of.

I hope you have found this helpful…Women love to help other women…We have so many stories to tell…so much life experience and wisdom to share. And yes, we have so much we can learn from one another.

Blessings to you all…on this amazing Journey we share.
With Love and Peace,

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5 Responses to Birth of a new 70Candles! Group

  1. Roseann Cervelli says:

    Dear Mary Lou,
    One of the things I learned long ago from Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams movie is the famous line, “If you build it, they will come…”
    Perhaps you can just invite one friend over for coffee or tea, and talk about the 70Candles mission- there you go, the group has already started!

    For our next meeting, we decided that the topic for discussion would be that we will each reflect upon and share “our gifts,” those internal qualities or accomplishments we have lived- raising our children, the impact we have had in big and little ways on life, our God-given talents that we have lived or still desire to live…
    I think just telling our stories reveals to ourselves and to others, gifts within us that we may have not given ourselves credit for, or gifts that others may not have appreciated or gifts that we may never have had the time or opportunity to develop and express…
    So just meeting with a friend and sharing our stories, sharing our gifts, can help us rebuild our confidence and connection to ourselves and others.
    I wish you every happiness in Virginia- a new life! The literature seems to show that two of the things that keeps our brains young and active are Novelty and Challenges! Moving to a new place and a new lifestyle surely fits those categories!
    Blessings to you in every way,

    • Mary Lou says:

      Thanks for the reply, Roseann…… a very positive approach!
      Yes, I’m finding that taking that leap into novelty and challenges has done exactly what you’ve said. “gifts within us that we may have not given ourselves credit for, or gifts that others may not have appreciated or gifts that we may never have had the time or opportunity to develop and express…”
      Blessings to you also!

  2. Mary Lou says:

    Roseann …… Your support group sounds fantastic! I moved to Virginia from Central New Jersey because of cost of living realities there. I’ll keep a look out for new groups here in Central Virginia.

  3. Blog Mavens says:


    What a treat to read your description of the formation of your 70Candles! Group. It sounds like you and Linda planned beautifully for a heartwarming initial session. The response of the women you gathered reminds us of the groups we led across the country when the 70Candles! project began.

    Women do seem hungry for connection…especially with women of a similar age, facing similar joys and challenges in their lives. The opportunity to assemble, in a safe environment, to speak freely and to listen to each other is priceless.

    We wish you all the best as your group continues and matures in its endeavors.

    Thank you for continuing the 70Candles! spirit.
    Jane and Ellen

  4. Susan Broadwell says:

    Thank you Roseann for starting a new group!I especially felt encouraged by your comments on loneliness. I have shut myself away and know it is not helpful. I have had so many encounters with overbearing, judgemental people, so I am a bit fearful of entering a group. Your words of encouragement of helped thank you.

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