On Saturday, January 31st, I was greatly blessed to attend a local Catholic Women's Conference which was attended by nearly 2000 women in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The speakers were outstanding, my experience of confession was blessed and the time spent perusing displays and praying in adoration was beautiful.
For me, it was a day of grace to hear speakers talk about how important it is to be a woman and what a wonderful vocation it is to be a mother. I was uplifted and edified. Lately, I have been struggling in my role of mother (don't we all from time to time?). I was feeling far from perfect as my mind is often a million miles away during family times like dinner, when I should be focused on and connected with my husband and children. I had the opportunity to speak with a fabulous priest (Fr. Paul Hartmann) during confession, and he offered a wonderful suggestion to me which I hope to continue daily, forever. He suggested that I pray a decade of the rosary, and on each Hail Mary bead, I focus specifically on my husband and children and then choose four others for the last four Hail Mary's (I chose my four Godchildren), and while I was praying the Hail Mary, I should think about how that person most needs me and what it is that I can specifically do for that person to show them how much I love them. What a great idea!
It was also a day of grace because I met Marge Fenelon, an author I have long admired and have written about in the past(author of "When's God Gonna Show Up?). She left me with some very encouraging words. She told me that it took her twenty years to get to be a published author with the blessings and support of Archbishop Timothy Dolan. She encouraged me to be patient in my writing endeavors and for that, I am very grateful.
It was also a day of grace because I was finally able to meet Therese of The Musings of a Mom. A few months ago we discovered that we live close to one another and ever since then, I've wondered if we would ever meet. Who knew that we would find each other in that crowd of 2000 women?
So, here's where the humility comes in. In the past I have written about our wonderful deacon at my parish, Deacon Dave, who happens to be deaf. I never expected to see him at a woman's conference, but there he was! I was so eager to say hello when I saw him walking past, that I ran to catch up to him. The floor was slippery, and as I turned the corner, I fell! I was fine, but so very embarrassed! This happened before I met Therese. As I was picking myself up off the floor I was thinking, I bet she saw me fall and wouldn't that be a fine way to meet someone that I have long admired? (She didn't see my fall-another grace!)
Another humiliating experience happened very early in the day. Our new Archbishop Listecki was the first speaker of the day. When he was through, I left the conference hall to scout out some coffee and I saw him standing at the end of the hallway. I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet him and welcome him to Milwaukee. He was talking to someone for such a long time that I was beginning to think I should go back to the speaker hall and save meeting him for another time. As I was waiting, my friend, Fr. Jim Lobacz, who is the vocations director at the Seminary, was there and we began to visit with one another. (It was his job to assist the Archbishop and keep him on schedule.) While we were talking, I leaned back against what I thought was the wall, but it was actually a bubbler (what some know as a water fountain)! Suddenly, I felt my back getting wet as I had turned the bubbler on with my purse! So, sweet Fr. Jim was trying to help me dry off my coat and I'm sure my face was a hundred shades of red! Finally, my turn came to speak to our new Archbishop and I was greatly rewarded with a hug of welcome from that wonderful man! A grace indeed!
I thank God for this wonderful opportunity to spend a day sharing faith with so many beautiful women who are all deeply in love with God and I look forward to next year when I can experience it all over again. Only this time, I hope it is a day of grace minus all of the humility!