SCRANTON – From our earliest memories, we can all remember being taught those precious words, “Hail Mary, Full of Grace.” This year’s Catholic Women’s Conference will delve deeply into the meaning and beauty of those words and the special relationship all women have with Mary, the Mother of God. We pray to her for the safety of our children and our families, to protect the unborn, to guide us as we navigate an increasingly complex and harsh world. The conference will help attendees explore their own special relationship with Mary and realize the beauty and grace of being a woman in modern times.
This year’s keynote speaker, Colleen Carroll Campbell, will share her incredible journey of success as a presidential speech writer, the youngest op-ed columnist for the St. Louis Post Dispatch as well as her numerous appearances in television, radio and print to being a sleep deprived mother of twins wondering if she could do it all.
Her spiritual journey led to her acclaimed book, “The Heart of Perfection.” In her work she explores the perfectionism that was almost her downfall.
‘Tiger Moms,’ ‘Helicopter Coaches,’ and ‘Work Martyrs,’ along with today’s social media where everyone seems to have a perfect life, people are stressed and unhappy, feeling that imperfection is failure. In exploring how to be kinder and gentler with herself and her family, she discovered that she had become a spiritual perfectionist. By studying scriptures and the lives of the saints, she found the tools to live a grace-filled life that is the gift of God’s love.
As mothers and caregivers, women say a prayer to the holy mother each time their children leave the house, pick up the car keys, or leave for college.
For most, those prayers are answered with the safe return of our children, the sound of the car pulling in the driveway, the quick text from a college freshmen telling us everything is ok. Featured speaker Debra Hadley was living such a life when tragedy struck. Her young adult daughter died of a sudden epileptic fit. While trying to process her own grief and that of her family, her teenage son was killed in an automobile accident with three of his friends, throwing not just Deb into despair, but her whole community. Deb will share her heartfelt message of love and her journey from the depths of despair to rediscovering her faith and restoring her will to live and to reach out to others.
Dunmore native Megan Murphy, a Catholic speaker, teacher, and evangelist will talk about the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, which all focus on Our Mother, Mary. As each prayer of the rosary is said, a candle will be lit. When the rosary is completed, the room will be aglow with an illuminated candlelit rosary. Guiding the participants through the day will be Olyphant native and founder of the “15 Minute Rosary” Natalie Gubala-Magdon. Mass will be celebrated by the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton. Worship artist Molly McManus will provide inspirational music throughout the day. Participants can also enjoy a continental breakfast, lunch and shopping at the Catholic Vendor Marketplace.
Cost to attend the conference is $45 for in person ($50 after May 29). Student tickets are $20, and women religious are welcome free of charge.
Volunteers are always needed and those who sign up for four hours at the conference will receive a free ticket. For more information and to register, visit cwcnepa.com