Five years ago, Theresa Campbell heard about a new event at the Monsignor O'Dwyer Retreat House in Sparks. Billed as a "Serendipitous Soulful Slumber Party." It promised 24 hours of peace and quiet for women, with some food, wine,yoga, swimming and shopping thrown in.
She and Julie Lanzetta, both of Parkton, went to that first pajama party. Since then, they've just about worn the fuzzies off their slippers by going back each year to the annual party.
The two friends plan to arrive wearing their pajamas for the sixth annual slumber party on Sept. 10 and 11 at the retreat house on York Road in Sparks. It begins at 9 a.m. on Sept. 10 and finishes at 11 a.m. the next day.
"We started doing a countdown as soon as last year's was done," Campbell said. "You couldn't pack more fun and rejuvenation into 24 hours. Whether you're Catholic or not, whether you're young or old, you'll come away from this weekend feeling rested, but maybe tired from all the laughing."
The party is a fundraiser for programs at the retreat house, which sees 8,000 kids of all faiths come through its doors each year.
Former QVC host and author Lisa Mason is this year's guest speaker. Mason, who won an Emmy for her PBS documentary, "Faces of AIDS," speaks at 10 a.m. on Sept. 10.
Her hourlong talk, "The Journey to Peace," is based on a book of the same name, written by Mason, that will be published shortly.
"As soon as I heard this was a fundraiser and a slumber party, I was hooked," Mason said. "My talk will be about ways to create peace within ourselves."
Mason will also be signing and selling copies of her current book, "Big Lessons From That Still Small Voice."
And she said she's bringing three goodie bags to raffle off that are filled with QVC items she's collected over the years.
Women who can't spend the night can sign up for activities from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., which include Mason's talk, massages, reflexology, cooking classes, water aerobics, yoga, vendor demonstrations, shopping and lunch.
For those staying overnight, other events include lessons on how to make custom paper, chocolates and herbed vinegars, as well as self-defense classes and tips on gardening.
There is also a wine-tasting party, dinner, pajama and slipper contest, and a movie with popcorn, candy and ice cream before bedtime.
The party ends on Sept. 11 after Mass, followed by breakfast and group photos.
Bernadette Moyer, chief operating officer for the retreat house, came up with the slumber party idea in 2006.
"Too many women are too stressed out these days," Moyer said. "This gives them a break from their families, from their phones, from their jobs. We have women in their 20s and in their 70s, and they all go home feeling refreshed and relaxed."
Cost is $175 for the entire event, or two women for $275. The day-only package is $50.