The Maryland Catholic Women’s Conference couldn’t have come at a better time! Just like any other individual who had been tired of missing event after event since last March, I was eager to attend something where I could actually talk to others in person!  The major takeaway from the conference’s theme was learning to be joyful, without always having the “feeling” of joy, is essential for a heathy social, physical, and spiritual life.

Attendees of the “Made for JOY!” event listen to a speaker.

The beginning of the conference consisted of Reconciliation, the Rosary, and then Mass. There was nothing better than starting everything off with the reception of God into the souls of all of the women attending! It was very special to have that time of celebration with the Lord with generations of women from all over the state. There were grandmothers, mothers, and their daughters sitting together, all enjoying the crisp weather and day.

Each speaker had their own messages, yet all of the talks intertwined in the perfect way.  Similar messages of women’s unique role in evangelization and how we are social beings, along with not letting fear hold us all back from being the women that God want, and even the role that memories can play in our lives and spirituality were discussed.

Keynote speaker, Kelly Wahlquist founder of WINE: Women in the New Evangelization, had a way of making everyone forget about their dramas and troubles; she was like a close friend who chats with you at lunch during a hectic day. Her anecdotes were unforgettable! She had some really great insights of sharing our stories of the Lord in our lives to others, and asking for the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom in moments of sorrow and in moments where we must bear witness of the faith to others. She was extremely relatable, for all ages, and a model for women striving to be all that the Lord intended us.

Second event speaker, Jeanne Link, is the original founder of the Maryland Catholic Women’s Conference and a strong woman of faith and family. Her talk was geared toward not letting fear overcome us, and not lead us away from the faith, especially during such a tumultuous time. She gave a call to action to be joyful in the midst of a wave of fear and anxiety.

Annie McHugh shares tips on seeking JOY, rather than settling for happiness.

Annie McHugh was my favorite speaker of the day. Being a younger person myself, she was the closest to my age and phase of life. Annie spoke with much poise and energy, as wisdom radiated from her! She emphasized that joy is “cultivated in the inner recesses of our souls being united to the inner recesses of God himself.”  Annie gave practical tips on making joy attainable for the everyday Catholic woman: through prayer, through the sacraments, and spiritual readings, among other tips. She also discussed the importance of trusting the Lord during the uncertainties of life and the need to constantly remind ourselves of his faithfulness.

Leaving the day with Adoration was another highlight, as quiet time with the Lord is important in a world where no one seems to get enough one-on-one time with its Maker! I highly recommend bringing your female friends and family members next year for more faithful insights and fellowship with women who are desiring the same virtues and meaningful truths.