Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Detroit Catholic Women's Conference

Saturday, I attended the Diocese of Detroit's Annual Women's Conference. I had no plans to attend as I'm just too busy. So busy, I had no choice but to go.

My girlfriends kept asking me to go. A fellow parishioner, whose name I don't even know, asked if I was going. It was in our homeschool newsletter. I received several emails. This conference was in my face, but I denied it. I'm too busy. I don't have time. I can't go.

Then, just 36 hours before the conference started, my friend Mary Jo asked me to go again. I was about to start into my litany of reasons, but before I could say a word, Mary Jo added, "I have a free ticket." Okay God, I get the message. I went to the conference.

In fact, I went along with 17 other women, most from my homeschool group. We caravaned in three minivans. A two-hour drive to Detroit insured lots of girl talk. Even at 6:30 in the morning, there's nothing like girl talk. Especially when it's uninterrupted by littles. After the conference we stopped for dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant for even more girl talk.

In between all the girl talk, was an awesome conference with awesome speakers. Alice Von Hildebrand was an absolute hoot. She never cracked a smile, but the audience was in stitches. She spoke on the supernatural strength that lies in femininity. A serious topic, yes, but sometimes delivery is everything.

Dr. Janet Smith also managed to combine high ideals with humor. She spoke on Humane Vitae. She filled her talk with personal stories that lightened up the heavy subject. It's always a joy to hear Dr. Smith.

Coleen (yes, only one "l") is the originator of the Sex Respect Program, but her talk had nothing to do with sexual abstinence programs. She spoke about getting into the heart of Jesus. She is very inventive - she used a large blowup showing the intricacies of the human heart. She then used biology to explore the spiritual. She taught us to pray intimately, work diligently, suffer courageously, and to love generously. That's how we get into the heart of Jesus.

The high point of the entire day was a talk given by Ellen Salter. My eyes well up just thinking about it. She shared the story of her four-year-old daughter Meghan. Meghan has an undiagnosed medical condition. She is so weak that she requires life support to breathe and a feeding tube to eat. Ellen did not give us a story of sad suffering, but a story of love and hope. Every mention of her little girl's name brought a joyful smile to her face. You have to hear her story. Last I heard, videos will be available of all the conference talks at dignityofwoman@aol.com. I highly recommend getting the video of Ellen and sharing it with everyone you know.

There was Confession available throughout the entire conference and the day ended with Eucharistic Adoration and Mass.

And, that is how I spent my Saturday.

8 comments:

Love2Learn Mom said...

That sounds wonderful!

Jen said...

What a blessing to find 17 women to attend with. At our parish, we are lucky to find 2 or 3 to attend any given women's conference and they are typically over 60 years young. I dearly hope to find some younger moms to attend with. Sounds like a lovely day.

Maureen Wittmann said...

Sounds a lot like my parish. The 17 women were from various parishes all over the Lansing area. All were either from our homeschool group or a friend of a homeschooler.

Esther said...

Spending time with you and Mary Jo sounds like a lot of fun :-)

Maureen Wittmann said...

Well, Esther, Mary Jo and I would be more than happy to fly to Hawaii to hang out with you. Do you have a Catholic homeschooling conference there in need of a couple of speakers? Or, would you prefer to come to chilly Michigan? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Oooh, it all sounds wonderful, from the uninterrupted girl talk to the speakers who blessed you! What a great opportunity.

Esther said...

Maureen:
I mentioned your interest in coming out to HI to my friend Easter. Well, let's just say, this could be a reality some day ;-) Of course, Mary Jo would have to come too LOL!

Maureen Wittmann said...

I've got my sunblock packed. What time does the plane leave?