Kimberly Hahn, left, and Colleen Carroll Campbell are featured speakers at this years Dynamic Women of Faith conference. Photos supplied

Conference puts women at centre stage

By 
  • March 20, 2020

There’s a long-held perception that the voice of women in the Church is one that is seldom heard. It’s why Colleen Carroll Campbell sees the importance of galvanizing that voice so that it doesn’t get drowned out.

Campbell was to bring one of those voices to Mississauga, Ont., March 28, where along with Kimberly Hahn she was to deliver keynote talks to the annual Dynamic Women of Faith Catholic Women’s Conference. The conference will now be held online due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

It’s conferences like these where women find “the support the Lord intended for us, so we can continue this journey to Heaven and evangelize others along the way,” said Campbell in an e-mail to The Catholic Register.

Campbell is an award-winning author and journalist and was a speechwriter for former U.S. president George W. Bush. Since 2002 and the release of her book The New Faithful she has been a regular on the speaking circuit, delivering talks at Christian conferences, women’s and youth conferences and universities. She was also a North American delegate to a Vatican Congress on women, all the while raising and homeschooling her four children in St. Louis.

It’s conferences like Dynamic Women of Faith that help women “find fellowship that can then be strengthened in smaller group settings, and reminding them that they don’t walk this road alone,” she said.

“So often in our secular culture we feel isolated and marginalized because we take our faith seriously,” she said.

She praises women like Dorothy Pilarski, the founder and organizer of the Dynamic Women of Faith ministry and conference, for offering a space for women’s voice in the Church to be heard.

“Those who do the hard work of organizing women’s conferences perform a true service to their sisters in Christ. I’m always impressed, as I travel for speaking engagements, by how many amazing, Spirit-led women I meet and how many pockets of vibrant faith are hidden all across North America,” said Campbell. “Seeing the faith of so many women from so many different backgrounds united in their desire to spread the Gospel is a powerful reminder that even in times that appear bleak for the Church, God is always at work.”

Hahn said there are so many ways for women to share the faith. It could be just passing it down through your family, or being part of an international speaking and writing industry (of which she is part of with her husband, Scott Hahn, the renowned theologian, speaker and author).

“All have different ways and means of living that out … but if we as women give our lives completely to the Lord, He’s going to reveal how He wants us to share the faith,” said Hahn, a former Presbyterian who converted to the Catholic Church in 1990.

“The main thing is God is looking for a woman’s heart yielded to Him totally.”

Hahn will be sharing the example of Mary in the two talks she will deliver at the conference. She plans to speak on Mary’s seven joys and seven sorrows and “how that interweaves in her life, testing her, giving her an opportunity to trust God when it was difficult to see how things would work out.” Mary is the perfect model for us, women in particular, by trusting God when things were difficult, at the same time trusting Him when times were joyful, she said.

“There are ways in which she has gone before us as a first disciple, ways in which she walks with us as our own spiritual mother and then ways that her life teaches us how to respond to the joys and sorrows in our lives,” said Hahn.

Campbell will speak based on her book, The Heart of Perfection: How Saints Taught Me to Trade My Dream of Perfect for God’s.

Pilarski said she herself is an example of a woman whose faith life was deeply impacted by women speaking at such a conference. Ironically, it was Hahn, along with Alice von Hildebrand, who made the dramatic impact.

“Being raised in a Polish parish, I mistakenly began to believe the Catholic faith was basically a cultural phenomenon,” said Pilarski, who beside the Dynamic Women of Faith ministry and conference also heads up the Catholic Moms Group that is in more than 35 Toronto parishes, one in Calgary and another in the U.S.

“Hearing intelligent, articulate women, theologians, talk with such passion and confidence about the Catholic Church was life-changing for me. I had never met women like that before. It awakened something in me.”

See dynamicwomenfaith.com.

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