I had the privilege of attending the third annual Women of Christ Conference in late January.The speakers included Immaculeé Ilibagiza who survived the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, Fr. Larry Richards and Helen Alvaré with Vicki Thorn as our Emcee. Immaculeé's presentation was amazing! Her devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is palpable and very inspiring, and her story is one of amazing conversion that challenges anyone who desires to know God to go deeper. I hope to read one of her books and learn more about her story. Her second presentation on the approved only apparation of Mary in Africa - Kiboho, was an important message for today. The part that stuck in my memory was Mary's message to the people of Africa who were praying for the death of their corrupt and unjust president: "Do you know what can happen if he dies- pray rather for his conversion."(my paraphrase)The President's assasination was used to ignite the the hatred that spurred on the genocide causing the death of hundreds of thousands of people. How important prayer is and how important that we are known by our love.
Father Larry Richard's Presentation was great - he's a blunt, "take me as I am" sort of Priest that isn't afraid to say it like it is. His examination of conscience was great! The beauty of our Catholic faith is that it liberates a person to truly be themselves and Father Larry is a great example of a man of faith who knows himself and has a great understanding of human nature. His stories and examples were excellent.
Since I attended the conference with Luke, I definately didn't catch every part of the presentations. The final presenter before Holy Mass, Helen Alvaré, was excellent in her no-nonsense, factual approach to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. She spoke using concrete statistics bearing proof that when you break the natural law, you can't escape the natural consequences and that the Church's moral teachings are based in a true understanding of what is best for every human person. I unfortunately missed most of her presentation due to a necessary diaper change but would love to hear her speak again.
It is an amazing experience to see over 2000 Chrisitan women coming together in one place to learn more about the beauty of the Catholic faith. It's also a great blessing to have Eucharistic adoration available during the whole conference and the sacrament of Confession available as well. I am always inspiried by how long the line gets for this beautiful sacrament! The vendors and display tables with many great Catholic resources were great as well, it is helpful to see the many ministries and Catholic resources that are out there.
What a great blessing it was to attend this conference and though my state in life makes it difficult to attend every year - I look forward to the years I am able to be there.