Twelve years ago, my friend Christina called me and shared the exciting news that she was starting a Catholic Women’s Conference for our diocese. She and her Bible-study group felt called to take on this enormous task and were looking for a few more volunteers to help fill the leadership roles. Since my husband had been attending Catholic men’s conferences for years, I was delighted to hear that something would be offered for women and immediately gave her my “yes.” Initially, I thought I would be taking on a simple task like helping serve bagels for breakfast, but by the time I hung up the phone I found myself appointed secretary of the board of directors for the conference!
I would never have dreamed that this small, little “yes” would change my life. I walked into the first meeting only knowing Christina, but by the end of the process I’d made numerous amazing new friends. Our hard work and preparation paid off and our first conference was a huge success with a sell-out crowd of 1,000 women! We expanded our volunteer team and moved to a larger venue for the second conference as our ministry continued to grow.
I worked closely with the director for several years and then eventually became the co-chair of the conference, a position I still hold today. It has been a remarkably humbling and beautiful opportunity to serve God by reaching out to my sisters in Christ and celebrating the great gift of our faith. Each year, our conference attendance grows, and we anticipate 4,000 women gathering this February.
The conference has brought a plethora of blessings into my life over the past nine years, most notably the extraordinarily faith-filled people, many of whom are now my closest friends. Today, I invite you to be part of our Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference this February 16, 2019. If you live near Ohio, I invite you to attend the event in person. You can register at ColumbusCatholicWomen.com. If you can’t be there physically, we hope you’ll listen live to all the amazing speakers and behind the scenes interviews by streaming it on your phone or computer. The live audio stream is absolutely FREE and possible thanks to our partnership with St. Gabriel Catholic Radio. Just wake up on February 16th and click LISTEN NOW.
Our amazing speaker lineup for 2019:
Sr. Faustina Maria Pia, SV is originally from Connecticut, is a twin and the youngest of eight children. She studied psychology at Franciscan University, and later went on to nursing school, where she discovered the Lord’s invitation to be consecrated to Him. She entered the Sisters of Life in 2009. The Sisters of Life, based out of New York, serve the most vulnerable, proclaiming with their lives the sacred dignity of every human life — especially those whose lives are hidden, weak, or wounded. Sr. Faustina has served her sisters in the postulant formation program and is currently the Assistant to the Vocation Director. She loves the mountains and all things rustic, but most of all, bringing to others the knowledge of the Merciful Heart of Jesus. Several years ago, while struggling with the Lord over the need for trust, she felt inspired to write the Litany of Trust, which has been an instrument of grace and deepened trust for countless souls.
Fr. Christopher Hartley is a missionary priest who seeks to serve Christ among the most needy. He ministered to Haitian sugar cane workers in the Dominican Republic from 1997 to 2006. For 13 years, he served the Hispanic population of the Bronx. He has also worked for many years with the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa’s sisters. Today he is ministering in Ethiopia. Fr. Hartley founded The Mission of Mercy Foundation, with the goal of improving the lives of the most vulnerable people through programs and projects developed in accordance with the principles of the Catholic Church. The teaching of the Word of God and the comfort it brings to those most in need lies at the heart of everything the Foundation does. The Foundation works in the poorest countries of the world promoting health and education in local parishes.
Magnus MacFarlane Barrow has lived in Argyll, Scotland, since the age of nine and began his career as a fish farmer. However, when the Bosnian conflict was making headlines in the early 1990s, Magnus and his brother Fergus were moved to help. Together they started Mary’s Meals, which sets up school feeding programs in some of the world’s poorest communities, where hunger and poverty prevent children from gaining an education. It was founded in 2002 and has grown from its first feeding operation of 200 children in Malawi, to a worldwide campaign, providing free school meals in hundreds of schools and feeding more than 1.3 million children daily. Mary’s Meals is named after Mary, the mother of Jesus, by Magnus & his wife Julie, who were inspired by their Catholic faith.
Colleen Mitchell is a bringer-upper of boys, Gospel adventurer, wannabe saint, author, and speaker. She is the author of the award-winning Who Does He Say You Are: Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels and When We Were Eve. Her latest adventure has taken her from the jungle of Costa Rica where she and her family served as missionaries for six years, to the wilds of Indiana, where she is still living her mission to give everyone she meets just a little Jesus.
Music will be provided by Lori Ubowski and Out of Darkness music.
Copyright 2019 Michele Faehnle