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"3 things I took away from the Mothering with Grace Conference" by Kaitlyn Mason (CatholicMom.com) Copyright 2018 Kaitlyn Mason. All rights reserved.[/caption] A couple of years ago, I was a new mother, pregnant with our second child, in a new city. Fortunately, we quickly plugged in at a wonderful parish that we still call home, and I was able to connect with a lovely group of women in a group called Mothering with Grace. If you aren’t familiar with Mothering with Grace, they are a Catholic apostolate seeking to inspire and encourage women on their mothering journey through conversation and fellowship centered around Mary and virtue. They offer a beautiful format for monthly meetings. Learn more about them, including how to contact them about starting a Mothering with Grace group in your area. A few months back, I had the privilege of attending the Mothering with Grace Conference in Charlotte, NC. This event was held at St. Ann’s Parish, a gorgeous church in a quaint part of town, with rich murals and beautiful statues surrounding the sanctuary.  In fact, it was featured in the 101 Places to Pray Before You Die book from Franciscan Media, so I guess I can check one place off that list! At this large event, many mothers came together to share with one another, to listen to inspiring talks, and to pray together at Benediction, Adoration, and Mass. Here are 3 wonderful things I took away from the conference: 1. My day started very early in the morning with an optional Pietra Fitness class that was offered with admission. Optional free class? I was in! Pietra Fitness is not Catholic yoga. Instead, “to nourish the soul, Pietra Fitness incorporates prayer and meditation in the Catholic tradition.” Each class begins and ends with the sign of the cross and focuses on bodily prayer to strengthen mind, body, and soul. As Catholics, we must be cautious about using our bodies that are temples in God-honoring ways, and we need to realize that yoga is based in Hinduism. Pietra Fitness is “guided by St. Paul’s exhortation to focus on that which is true, honorable, just, and pure (Phil. 4:8).” Find a Pietra Fitness class near you, or purchase one of their workout/meditation DVDs! A pregnancy edition is coming soon! 2.  Fr. Matthew Kauth is a fantastic priest in the Charlotte area, and he said something at this conference that I will never forget. He said that as mothers, we cannot hold our children back from their own Cross. What did Mary do? She stood at the foot of the Cross. She walked with her Son on His journey. She did not try to hold Him back from what God the Father was calling Him to suffer and endure. As mothers, we want to kiss the boo boos, we want to take away the pain, we want to hold our children from peril and suffering. Yet, ultimately, we must not keep them from their own trials, from their own Cross. 3.  Speaker, author, and fellow CatholicMom.com writer Sonja Corbitt gave talks throughout the day. She encouraged us to L-O-V-E the word. As we read Scripture, let us first listen to God (L), observe what He is saying to us (O), verbalize what He says back to Him (V), and then entrust everything to God (E). This can be done through a journal entry, or even just through mental prayer. What a beautiful way for us to grow closer to God through Scripture, and what a fantastic tool to teach our children! Let us encourage them also to L-O-V-E the Word of God! Thank you to Mothering with Grace and CatholicMom.com, a conference sponsor, for the opportunity to share this beautiful day with you!
Copyright 2018 Kaitlyn Mason