The Commission for Women of the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts is pleased to announce that registration is now open for their biennial women’s conference, Gather Us In 2013, which will take place on Saturday, November 2. The theme of the conference is “Responding to our God of Creation, Redemption and Inspiration.”
Held in the DCU Center in Worcester, Gather Us In 2013 will feature two dynamic keynote speakers. The morning keynote will be delivered by ValLimar Jansen. Blessed with an extraordinary voice, Jansen is a highly regarded singer, cantor and recording artist. She is also a college professor, a leader of worship and prayer and a workshop presenter at conferences across the United States. Ms. Jansen, a recording artist with Oregon Catholic Press (OCP) brings together her rich style of gospel music and storytelling abilities passed down from family members to provide a deep, heartfelt experience of the Good News.
Ms. Jansen’s keynote address, “Responding to our God of Creation, Redemption and Inspiration” is meant to inspire the listener to live a life defined by the inspiration of Holy Spirit, just as she has done. “We need to search deeply within ourselves to recognize that we are created in the image and likeness and God; each of us has a purpose for which we are created. It's love that transforms us to fulfill the purpose to which we were created.”
The afternoon keynote will be delivered by Teresa Tomeo. Recognized from her frequent appearances on EWTN, Tomeo hosts a daily syndicated radio program, “Catholic Connection” produced by Ave Maria Radio. Ms. Tomeo is a columnist and special correspondent for the national Catholic newspaper, Our Sunday Visitor. She has also published several books, the latest being Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ, Not Conformed to the Culture from Ignatius Press. She co-hosts EWTN’s “The Catholic View for Women” and has also been featured on Fox News and MSNBC discussing issues of faith and media awareness.
In her address, “Handmaids of the Lord: Re-discovering the Dignity of Women” Ms. Tomeo will show the depth, beauty, and truth in the Church's teaching on women. Her talk will examine more closely the roles of women in the Church. Ms. Tomeo draws from her personal testimony as well as her work as a Catholic journalist. As one of only 250 women in the world invited to Rome to take part in a 2008 Vatican congress on women, she shares her insights from the historic 2008 Rome gathering focusing on how the Catholic teachings represent real freedom for daughters of God.
Gather Us In 2013 will also offer workshops between the keynote presentations. They include Peggy Patenaude’s presentation, “All is Well.” “Many unwanted ‘interruptions’ color our landscape and challenge our peace of mind. God, however, is present in every circumstance of our lives,” she says. “When we accept what is, and remain open to grace, all is well. Ms. Patenaude recently spoke at the annual Secretaries Day luncheon sponsored by the Commission.
Sr. Bridget Haase, OSU offers her life experiences in her workshop, “Walking the Path of Faith: Three Practices of the Abundant Life,” affirming through her many inspiring stories that God is everywhere, even in the most unexpected tragedies. Her infectious joy despite the difficult life she has led offers a powerful witness to the grace of God in our lives. Sister Bridget, along with her brother, Fr. Albert Haase, OFM host a weekly radio program together, “Spirit and Life,” carried every Saturday on the Relevant Radio syndicated network. She is also the author of Generous Faith: Stories to Inspire Abundant Living, published by Paraclete Press.
Teresa Tomeo is offering a workshop called “Extreme Makeover: Seeing Yourself Through the Eyes of Christ.” Ms. Tomeo describes the presentation in this way: “Whether it’s losing weight, having cosmetic surgery, remodeling the house, or even finding that dream job, everyone seems to be taking the topic of makeovers to extremes. Long before the words ‘extreme makeover’ were part of our everyday vocabulary, I was learning the hard way that true happiness and fulfillment can’t be found in one’s appearance, job, or home but only through faith in Jesus Christ.”
Looking for different ways to pray? A special workshop called “Many Ways to Pray” will be offered by a panel of sisters exploring Lectio Divina and Taizé. Participants will not only learn about these methods of prayer, they will have a chance to experience them. Led by Sister Yvette Bellerose, Sister of Saint Anne and leader in her congregation, Sister Mary Ann Azanza, RA and Sister Jurgita Sereikaite, RA, both members of the Religious of the Assumption, this workshop on prayer promises to be inspiring and powerful.
The day will conclude with mass celebrated by Bishop Robert McManus.
Registration forms for Gather Us In 2013 can be found throughout the diocese at local parishes and Catholic bookstores. They can also be obtained online at www.worcestercommissionforwomen.org, or can be requested by sending an email to email@example.com or calling 508-839-3055 and leaving a message with your mailing address. The fee is $50 (which includes lunch) and scholarships are available. Registration closes on October 26.
The Commission for Women is excited to present this conference for all women in the area. Chris Farmer from St. Luke the Evangelist in Westboro, Massachusetts has attended the conference since 2007 and brought her teenaged daughter to the conference in 2011. “I was just blown away the by magnitude of the number of women who were gathering to learn more about their faith,” she says. “What I love about the conference is it is a retreat that is convenient for my family time, my personal time. It is a retreat you can commute to very easily.”
Copyright 2013 Susan Bailey
About the Author
Susan Bailey is the author of River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times (Ave Maria Press), and Louisa May Alcott: Illuminated by The Message (ACTA Publications), part of their Literary Portals to Prayer series. Along with her blogs Be as One and Louisa May Alcott is My Passion, Susan writes for the Diocese of Worcester newspaper, The Catholic Free Press.