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.
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 2020 event.
On October 24, 2020, almost 200 Catholic women from around the Archdiocese of Baltimore gathered at St. Joseph Catholic Church Fullerton for the “Made for JOY!” event. Archbishop William E. Lori celebrated Mass in the morning, followed by talks from Kelly Wahlquist, Jeanne Link, and Annie McHugh. Attendees participated in the Rosary before Mass, several priests were available to offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and the day ended with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Thanks to the event planning committee, in addition to Fr. Jesse Bolger, pastor of St. Joseph Fullerton, Fr. Francis Ouma, associate pastor, and many staff and volunteers from St. Joseph’s Fullerton, the Catholic Men’s Fellowship, and the community, it was a JOY-filled day of faith and fellowship.