MADISON Today’s Catholic women all have something in common — the desire to take time for their faith and to affirm who they are in Christ.
Because of today’s fast-paced lifestyle, St. Paul’s Inside the Walls: the Diocesan Catholic Evangelization Center here is inviting women of all ages to make time in their busy schedules for its second annual Women’s Conference March 21 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The conference, titled “Today’s Catholic Woman: Feminine, Faithful and Fearless,” will feature three speakers: Dr. Debora Savage, a professor at the University of St. Thomas, Minn.; Megan Murphy, a stay-at-home mom and catechist; and Clare Byrne, an occupational therapist.
The event will also feature music, a presentation on Blessed Miriam Theresa Demjanovich and will end with prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
“No matter what stage of life we are in, we are all so busy. We never seem to find time to take those minutes to ourselves and recollect where we are, what we are doing and what are our priorities in life,” said Nancy Hefele, a parishioner of Our Lady of the Lake in Sparta and a volunteer who is helping to coordinate the day.
Following the overwhelming positive response to the inaugural conference, the Diocesan Evangelization Center decided to host the conference in its second year. “Across the board women wanted this to happen again,” said Hefele.
Eniola Honsberger, director of the family life office at St. Paul’s, said, “What makes this conference different is our focus on the diversity of what today’s Catholic woman is, while still appreciating our unifying faith. We try to represent all women through our diverse speakers.”
Last year, women — from college students to seniors, including women who were single, married and in religious life — attended the conference. Women who attend are encouraged to bring friends, mothers and sisters and even, high school-age daughters.
Laure Veet, a doctor and a parishioner at Holy Family Parish in Florham Park, was so inspired by last year’s conference that she wanted to help this year in coordinating the conference. “The women’s conference will be such a wonderful time to just take a few hours to be with other women and be inspired,” she said. “Last year all of the speakers were so inspirational. In particular, I recall Dr. Diane Traflet (associate dean for graduate studies at Seton Hall University) speaking about how her 2014 year was dedicated to ‘joy’ and about how throughout the year she would not let anything steal her joy. That stuck with me and inspired me and still does now, a year later.”
A highlight of the event is time before the Blessed Sacrament, which occurs near the end of conference. “When we pray before the Blessed Sacrament, you never know what inspiration comes in Jesus’ presence,” Hefele said. “That experience was hugely appreciated by all the women at the conference. The women were inspired and they really allow God to come into their hearts.”
Because of the important role women play in the Church and the world, the conference is meant to empower women in building stronger families, which is at the heart of making the world a better place, and making sure they make time for their faith.
“Women have such a vital role in families, in the Church and in the world, it is important that we take the time to take a step back from our busy lives and come together,” Dr. Veet said. “This conference gives us a chance to do that once a year. It is also the reason I went from being an attendee last year to volunteering to be one the planning committee this year. Last year, I brought my mother and sister. This year they are coming back with me and I am hoping to bring a few friends as well.”
Information: (973) 377-1004. Tickets: $20. Reservations: www.insidethewalls.org