MADISON In today’s fast-paced world, sometimes Catholic women are so busy that finding time to sit back and think about faith and spirituality is difficult. But whether they are stay-at-home moms, physicians, teachers or bank managers, they need to make time for praying and reflecting to strengthen their faith.
To help Catholic women in this important part of their lives, St. Paul’s Inside the Walls, the Diocesan Evangelization Center here, will host its annual Women’s Conference — ‘Feminine, Faithful and Fearless’ — from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Saturday, April 9. The daylong event will consist of presentations, a question and answer session, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, networking with other Catholic women and fellowship. Speakers include Valerie Lewis-Mosley, a retired nurse and evangelist; Susan Timoney, secretary of pastoral ministry and social concerns for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. and Rosario Rodriguez, a speaker, who has served around the world with various Catholic ministries.
Eni Honsberger, diocesan director of the Office of Family Life, said, “The women’s conference committee and I are excited for yet another faith-filled conference, especially in the Year of Mercy. We have stayed true to the format that keeps women engaged and desiring to come back. This year’s speakers are so diverse in experience, every women will leave with a better understanding of who we are as daughters of Christ.”
This is the third women’s conference offered at St. Paul’s and Genevieve Kowalski, a parishioner of Sacred Heart Parish in Dover, will once again be attending the conference. “The depth of the speakers with various backgrounds provided a well rounded program. As usual, God surprised me with unexpected blessings and insight through their different message that hit home and my heart,” she said.
At the previous events, women who attended the conference included those who were single, married and in religious life. The age range was broad — from college students to grandmothers. Women who attend are encouraged to bring friends, mothers and sisters and high school-aged daughters.
One of those religious sisters in attendance last year was Missionary Sister of the Immaculate Conception Jane Abeln, who said, “Each year, I’ve been inspired and challenged by the speakers, witnesses and team who put the conference together. In the audience, I’m inspired to see women, young and old, professionals, collegians, singles, moms and grandmas and religious sisters like me. I go out with zeal to live my faith and to love Jesus and share his Gospel with someone who longs for the treasures we have been given by our faith.”
Because of the important role women play in the Church and the world, the conference is meant to empower women in building stronger families and a stronger Church. For some, the conference has also proved to be life changing.
Nancy Hefele of Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Sparta and a volunteer of the conference, said, “When I became involved with the Women’s Conference as a volunteer in 2014, I didn’t know how much I would personally get out of the conference. I was amazed that day at how much I learned from the speakers. The same held true for last year’s conference. I was truly humbled by the knowledge these women had and inspired by their personal testimonies that I could easily apply to my own everyday life. Speaking with other women, I saw that it wasn’t just me, they also felt the same way regardless of the fact that our ages and circumstances in life were so very different from my own.”
The three speakers will discuss the theme of the conference — “Feminine, Faithful and Fearless.” The first speaker, Valerie Lewis-Mosley, recently received her doctorate in ministry from Drew University Theological School in Madison. She has since retired from clinical work at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center and now serves her parish as spiritual director and director of religious education at Christ the King in Jersey City. The second speaker, Susan Timoney is secretary for pastoral ministry and social concerns for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. The first woman to hold this position, she oversees the evangelization mission of the archdiocese toward families, youth, young adults, persons with special needs, life issues and ethnic communities. The final speaker, Rosario Rodriguez, is a survivor of two violent crimes and spent most of her life working in the U.S. Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom with Catholic ministries serving inner-city youth, campus ministry, pro-life groups and the poor and homeless.
“Women today are so very busy and pulled in so many different directions,” Hefele said. “It is not always easy to set time aside for things like this, but that is exactly why women need to make the time. Just ask any women who has attended in the past. The conference was worth their while.”
St. Paul’s is now accepting registrations and is offering an early bird special of $20 until March 7. Registrations after that date will be $25. College students have a discounted price of $10 and early bird registrants may also sponsor a college student for $5.
Information: www.insidethewalls.org, (973-437-9735) or firstname.lastname@example.org.