In 2007, Jeanne Link was in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the Adoration Chapel of her home parish, St. John’s Church in Westminster. She prayed, “Jesus, what do you need from me now?” The answer she received: an Archdiocesan-wide women’s conference with worship, prayer, inspiring speakers, and fellowship.
With the help of a dedicated team of committee chairs and volunteers, the first event was held in 2009 at St. John’s in Westminster. The two-day event was supported by the group’s advisor and spiritual director, Msgr. Art Valenzano. Friday evening included fellowship, a teaching Mass, a Catholic comedian and the rosary followed by adoration. Saturday featured Mass, 2 keynote speakers and 20 breakout sessions. Two hundred seventy-eight women attended from across Maryland and four nearby states.
After three years at St. John’s, the event moved to Mount St. Mary’s University, where it became a full weekend event beginning on Friday evening and concluding on Sunday afternoon. The weekend included time for fellowship and music, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and discussion in addition to the sessions with well-known Catholic speakers and Mass celebrated by the Archbishop.
The most recent event in October, 2018 was a one-day conference in Catonsville featuring keynote addresses by Dr. Ralph Martin and Kathleen Beckham.
Past themes have been: Mercy, Fearless, and Fire Within. Past keynote speakers have included Christina King, Sr. Helena Burns and Fr. Chris Alar.
After over 10 years of spearheading the planning and organization of this large event for the Catholic women of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Jeanne stepped down from leading to discover the next call God has for her. Catherine Liberatore and Stephanie Clancy attended the event in 2018 and were inspired by the gathering. After learning that Jeanne was ready to pass the torch, Catherine and Stephanie stepped up as co-chairs of the next event, to be held in October, 2020.
We are grateful and blessed for Jeanne’s vision, leadership and her countless hours devoted to the Maryland Catholic Women’s Conference. We are thrilled that she will continue to share her talents with us at the 2020 event as a speaker for our breakout sessions.