The day has come and gone and what a glorious day it was! First of all, it’s an incredibly moving sight to see 300 Catholic women gathered in one place.  You can feel the buzz of the room, the laughter floats through the air as if were the background music of a reception.  Everywhere you look, there are hugs being given, smiles being shared and more often than not a sweet baby being bounced by a mother or a sister or a friend. That alone is a powerful message.  You are not alone.

It’s easy as a Catholic woman to get shut into your own domestic church and to feel like you’re the only one.  You’re the only one trying to go against the current of today’s culture and consistently choose things that are hard.  Because that is the message Christ leaves us.  He calls us to take up our cross, to abandon the culture of “do whatever feels good in the moment” and to follow Him.  But He also leaves us with great hope.  In our suffering, in our quest to be more like Him, He will give us strength and peace.  He will comfort our hearts and make us strong for the journey.  We send up our struggles to our Blessed Mother and to all the Saints in Heaven and we cannot begin to fathom the worth of our sacrifice in the Heavenly Kingdom we are meant for.

Danielle Bean told us that we have to support each other.  Ladies, we must reach out to one another and build each other up.  “No one can tear down a woman quite like another woman.  But likewise, no one can build up a woman like another woman,” Danielle says.  We must stop playing the comparison game.  Lay down our differences and help each other reach higher and higher for Jesus.  We will all have different crosses to take up but the solution to that burden is always the same.  Through Him we find peace and strength.

Lisa Hendey was a breath of fresh air.  She makes theology fun and bubbly!  This lovely woman shows us that Saints don’t have to be stodgy! With her creative game of Catholic Jeopardy, which she calls Catholic Certainty (isn’t it great we can be so sure in our faith), we were comforted by the Saints who are there for us.  Whether we knew the answers or learned a great deal on Saturday, Lisa showed us that there is great wisdom to be found in the lives of the Saints.  We cannot leave them in the background of our lives (and our web browsers).  We must reach out to them, learn from them and use them as inspiration to get through this world.  And guess what, it can be really fun!  Go learn about the Saints and then share them with others!  Talk about Saints with your girlfriends.  Think of ways the Saints can help you get through your daily life.  They’re always there, ready to hear your prayers and to pray for you as well.

Teresa Tomeo is pretty much exactly what you’d expect her to be.  She’s dressed impeccably with the soft jingle of her bracelets as her own soundtrack.  She smells absolutely lovely!  I asked, by the way, and it’s a special perfume she only gets in Italy.  I won’t tell you which one.  I kind of like to think it’s made just for her!  This woman is a diva in the best of ways – a woman who is so strong and so secure in the Lord that she speaks with clarity and power.  And everyone around her listens.  Everything she says draws you into her personal relationship with Christ.  And I experienced all of that with her BEFORE she even told her amazing conversion story.

I think we often hear stories of great pain and struggle and how tragic situations bring people to Jesus.  And those stories are powerful.  But I find Teresa’s story to be just as powerful because she explains how the trappings of success, the glittering fame of the lime light, the perfect life on the outside can be just as empty.  It can feel like your own personal tragedy even if no one around you knows what you’re going through.  She showed us how we can turn away from the things that the world values, embrace Christ and find great value in His plan for our own life.  When you find success in Him, you are truly happy even if it’s not measurable by the world’s standards.

Thank you for all the women who made this conference possible!  It’s such a joy and a privilege to bring this conference together and to share it with you ladies from the Pacific Northwest!  I hope that you made some friends.  If not, I hope you will reach out to other women in your parish who you don’t know and become their friend.  We need to stick together, build each other up and create a strong community around living our life for Jesus.  That’s what we were meant for.  It’s so easy to get distracted by the world and forget what our purpose is.  But together we can be focused, strong and use the gift of softness (both in our hearts and in our hips) to love each other!