Friday, March 5, 2010

Boston Pilot article today about my recent conference

[Photo caption: A sell-out crowd of nearly 2,000 pack the Cathedral of the Holy Cross for the 2010 Boston Catholic Women’s Conference. The day-long event featured adoration, confession and inspirational Catholic speakers. Pilot photo/ George Martell, The Catholic Foundation]

SOUTH END -- A sellout crowd of women, estimated at about 2,000, from parishes across the Archdiocese of Boston gathered for spiritual renewal and solidarity at the 5th annual Boston Catholic Women’s Conference at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Feb. 27.

“It’s nice to see 2,000 women who are on the same page -- from all different nations and all different nationalities,” said Claire Nicholson, a parishioner of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Sudbury who has attended all but one of the conferences to date. “It’s a great day.”

Annamarie Monks, a parishioner at St. Mary Parish in Mansfield, attended her first conference this year.

“It was very uplifting,” she said. “I felt a lot of joy.”

Monks recalled her father who recently passed away. She said he was a staunch Catholic whose faith inspired him to be active in the 1960s civil rights movement.

“I feel like I was honoring him too by being here today,” she said.

The all-day event included four speakers, confession, adoration, praise and worship music, a chance to meet with exhibitors in the adjacent Cathedral High School gymnasium, and Mass with Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley.

Saturday’s first speaker was Leah Darrow, a former participant in the television show “America’s Next Top Model,” who spoke of her Catholic upbringing, modeling career, and return to Christ.

Darrow was followed by Patti Mansfield, a Catholic author who has also participated in Catholic Charismatic Renewal, who spoke about the role of Mary in the lives of today’s Catholic women.

After lunch, noted Catholic author Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle spoke to participants about how they can share their faith with others, using the example of Mother Teresa.

The speakers’ portion of the program was rounded out by Sister Olga Yaqob, an archdiocesan hermit and chaplain at Boston University, who spoke of her journey from Iraq to becoming a nun in the United States.

Saturday’s program concluded with a 4:00 p.m. Mass.

“The conference provides an opportunity for women all over the archdiocese to come together in a community of women and be nurtured in their faith and grow closer to God and one another,” said Jennifer Schiller, a member of the conference’s leadership team and master of ceremonies for each of its five years of existence.

This year’s theme was taken from Phillipians 4:13; “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.”

Schiller said that the theme was appropriate this year because of the challenging economic and cultural times that mark today’s society. She said St. Paul wrote those words while in a Roman prison.

The article in the Catholic Pilot newspaper is continued here.

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