Q&A with Donna Cori Gibson

This spring, internationally-known singer and speaker Donna Cori Gibson will be leading a women’s retreat with us the weekend of May 11-13. We hope you enjoy getting to know Donna a little bit better before her weekend retreat!

Q: Donna, please tell us a little bit about yourself!

Donna: I work for my own production company, Golden Arrow Music, LLC. I set Catholic prayers to my own music, organize the recording of them, design the final product, market and advertise to the public, write spiritual reflection emails, and occasionally sing for other artists’ projects. I keep the books, pay the bills, manage inventory, and ship out orders. The only thing I don’t do is answer the phone, return phone calls, or take phone orders. I have someone else do that because I’m an introvert and reclusive by nature and would rather be invisible. Besides, I do most of my work after 9:00 pm, and you can’t make phone calls that late. It’s kind of odd that I’m a public speaker and performer and a hermit at the same time.

Q: At what age did you first begin singing? Who were/are your musical role models?

I started singing at age 9 in the elementary school special choir. We recorded two albums and I had a few solos. I liked Donna Summer and Barry Manilow.

Q: What is your favorite prayer to sing and why?

My favorite prayer to sing is the Anima Christi at Masses. It is very simple, direct, heartfelt, and the words, by St. Ignatius, are very complete, I feel, as to what is most important in the spiritual life and what our true goal is. Everyone seems as moved by it as I am when I’m singing it, and that’s always fun.

Q: What other countries have you performed in? What are one or two “bigger events” you have performed at?

I’ve been to New Zealand for a few of their Marian conferences, Trinidad and Canada many times. The Atlanta Eucharistic Congress had 10,000 attendees. That’s pretty big…

Q: If you’d like, please share an experience from this past year where you had an impactful experience in your ministry, or where you saw someone have a conversion experience through music.

I don’t “see” conversions. The closest I get to them is when people come up after a concert and tell me how much my music has impacted their lives, brought them back to the Church, helped them through a difficult time, etc. Many times they have tears in their eyes. I get letters and emails sharing the same. They are always very moving and humbling, as I know it is not me they really love. They’ve been touched by the power of God who just allowed me to be the instrument he used. I’ve made myself available, put myself out there, even though I’d rather be invisible. Before every concert, I always pray, “Not by my words, Lord, but by Your power.” He can do so much with so little if we are just willing to do SOMETHING.

Q: Your spring women’s retreat is called “Having a Mary Spirit in a Martha World.” Could you explain the theme? What might women expect from this retreat with you?

The music I share and this apostolate is based on prayer, which I believe is the most important thing we can do this side of eternity. Without it we can do nothing, so I try to offer insights and help to all who have a desire to be closer to the Lord, but “lack” the time or method, have distractions, don’t realize it’s importance, or need to increase their…desire…for God to get over that threshold where we tend to linger many years before moving to higher levels of prayer, if we ever do.

With prayer as a foundation, we can thrive in any apostolate- that includes being the best woman, wife, and mother God has created us to be, as well as having any kind of effectiveness in the Church and the Body of Christ. Within the parameters of prayer, and with a few sung prayers thrown in from time to time, I can share with others from personal experience that the unique abilities and even power of women to be effective is only possible with the help of God, which we get, of course, from prayer.

Martha, who is called out for being “ANXIOUS about many things,” teaches us the lesson that work, which is important, only has a limited place and needs to be mingled with prayer in order to be fruitful and not bring about bitterness. A woman’s effectiveness comes from her ability to be quiet (if she can – if not, to learn how to be), patient (which means suffering without complaining -oooh, who wants that? We’d rather DO something!) and prayerful (trusting the Lord to do the heavy lifting, being persistent until He does). I would also share about Our Lady, her life and example, a few of the saints and the Mass, how to get the most out of it by bringing more to it.

The Lord shows us the way if we will just listen and be humble and obedient. A woman’s strength IS in the joy of following the Lord. I look forward eagerly and with longing to my meditation time, my “date” with the Lord, my true lover, provider, friend and God With Us, with whom nothing else matters. I hope to share that love with others and inspire a greater desire in their hearts to grow ever closer to our Lord and change the world.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself, your work, or this upcoming retreat?

I’m looking forward to spending time with like-minded ladies with the same interest… drawing closer to God, sharing experiences and insight. How exciting to be sisters helping each other on the same journey to the same goal, union with Christ. I love my “work!”

 

We encourage all women 18 and older to register for Donna’s retreat today!