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I love the cathedral, and I love the Boston Catholic Women’s Conference. So, from my perspective, it would be hard to find a better way to spend a Lenten Saturday than at the cathedral attending this year’s Catholic Women’s Conference. On the last Saturday in February, the conference comes just as Lent hits full-swing. Perhaps that is why the theme of the event is particularly appropriate, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)
I think that Bible verse should be a personal motto for every woman. The first part of it, at least, already is. We live in a time and culture where we’re taught that that we can, in fact, have all things, be all things, and do all things. We women can have a career, a family, hobbies, pets, nice cars, and vacations. We can be corporate-forces-to-be-reckoned-with in the morning, soccer moms in the afternoon, and completely fulfilled wives in the evening. Our homes can be clean, and our offices efficient. Our children, inordinately beautiful, can graduate with both honors and friends. The hitch is that when we try to do “all things” on our own power, we throw the breakers, burn the fuses, and end up in the dark.
Most women are expert at burning the candle at both ends. We are, after all, the mothers of all multi-tasking. That is why we need a day to recharge not only ourselves, but our souls.
Like most of us, I can’t afford the time or the money to really get away on vacation or retreat. But a one day conference is something I can -- and should -- do. Why? Because I for one, could really use a day where I am reminded that who I am is far more important in the eyes of God than what I can or cannot do. I need a day filled with feminine voices raised in prayer and in song; a day where conversations are all about the things that really matter in life. I long to be in a place where I can look around and know that just about everyone I see shares my values, and my faith. I’d love to spend a day in a church large enough to hold all my sisters, at least the ones that live nearby. All that, before any of the speakers say a word, or I finally get myself to confession, or spend time with the Eucharist.
As a Conference Team member, my job is to coordinate Eucharistic Adoration for both the women’s and men’s conferences. Bringing the women of this archdiocese into the real presence of Jesus Christ is pure pleasure. Seeing them gaze at him with love written all over their faces, it is easier to find that love again myself.
I’m certain that Patti Mansfield, Donna Marie Cooper-O’Boyle, Leah Darrow, and Sister Olga of the Eucharist will say some things I’ll never forget. The witness each one of them has to offer is powerful and uplifting. I’m sure the Eucharistic procession will be spellbinding, and that Mass with Cardinal Seán will be lively even though it is Lent. But for me, the day will be more than worth the effort simply because of the hundreds and hundreds of women who gather there for it.
The Holy Spirit never declines an invitation. That is why you and I shouldn’t either. God is everywhere. But I know that on Feb. 27 his spirit will be at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to reassure the women of Boston that we can do all things, if we only do all things through Christ.
Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a wife and mother of eight children, and a disciple of the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. She is an author, speaker, musician and serves as Faith Formation Coordinator at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Lynnfield.