In January I resolved to avoid participating in online events. Now I’m registered for this year’s Dynamic Women of Faith Conference, and I’m not looking back! After two years of being overwhelmed by a sudden influx of amazing online Catholic content coupled with a growing desire to connect more intentionally with the people God has placed in my geographic proximity, I didn’t make the decision lightly. Heading into the New Year I was determined to focus on building (and rebuilding) in-person relationships. No more zoom. And then the keynote speaker for this year’s conference was announced— Antonia Salzano, Mother of Blessed Carlo Acutis.
I was attending the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, PA when a perceptible hush fell over the crowd numbering in the tens of thousands. Dr. Gianna Emanuela, the youngest daughter of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, took the stage. The evening’s outdoor event was full of families and quite a ways back from the stage, where I stood with my young family, the kids were running around with new friends. Happy screams and giggles drifted lightly through the air as hearts grew collectively quiet, preparing to receive the words of a Saint spoken by the daughter for whom she sacrificed her life.
The experience of hearing Dr. Gianna Emanuela speak was a powerful reminder of my own call to holiness, the call to be a saint. When I saw St. Gianna’s daughter, the fruit of her immense sacrifice speaking to me in real-time, my own call became more urgent, more tangible, and in a sense seemed more true.
I don’t know how my heart will be moved by the words of Antonia Salzano but I know I need reminders that God is making saints, right now, today, and He’s doing it in families just like mine.
There are plenty of good and reasonable reasons not to attend another online conference but here are a few more reasons that helped me make this one happy exception to my resolution:
I’m a bit nosey when it comes to the lives of the Saints (and those likely headed in that direction). I want to know what their family lives looked like, how they prioritized God in their day, what they liked to eat for breakfast… it’s the most important meal of the day after all! I’m mostly kidding on that last point but you get the idea. I want inspiration for my daily life and practical, tangible examples of how to seek God first in my family life.
I had an experience that brought clarity to my sense of mission within my vocation while attending a previous Dynamic Women of Faith Conference. It was the first online event I attended during the pandemic and I was amazed at how the Holy Spirit was able to work so powerfully through zoom. Of course, the Creator of the Universe can work through online technology. Why did I ever have any doubt?
Online conferences give me room to be vulnerable in a deeper way. It’s the vulnerable I can be when the only other one who can see me is the Lord. I can messy cry if need be or laugh without reservation when a speaker’s words bring a funny memory to mind.
My perspective broadens when I hear the testimony of others. I develop a deeper sense of the unique giftedness of each person as I hear the stories of their lives and how God has utilized their unique experiences, strengths, and weaknesses to bring about His greater work of salvation. I am inspired to a greater love of my sisters and brothers. We are a body with many members, each of us essential to the Body of Christ. This year’s group of speakers are diverse with stories and experience I can’t wait to hear.
I am blessed when I seek and follow the Will of the Lord. It’s a blessing of trust that develops a little more each time I say yes to Him. I don’t know what His plans are for me in attending this conference or how He might speak to me through it, but I’m excited to see!
I’ll leave you with one final question to ponder. It’s the only question that really matters. Is the Lord inviting you to attend this year’s Dynamic Women of Faith Conference? If He is, embrace Him whole-heartedly in this opportunity. Trust Him to prepare the way and prepare your heart as you wait in joyful anticipation for the day He has planned just for you.