WINE conference keynotes talk ‘saints in the making,’ spiritual motherhood

| Sarah Moon | February 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

Women listen to keynote speaker Lisa Hendey, an author and founder of Catholicmom.com, at the WINE: Catholic Women’s Conference Feb. 25 at Mary, Mother of the Church in Burnsville. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Nearly 1,000 women from across the country gathered at Mary, Mother of the Church in Burnsville Feb. 25 for the third annual WINE: Catholic Women’s Conference. WINE, or, Women in the New Evangelization, is a national ministry that aims to inspire women to follow Mary’s example to do God’s will and minister to other women.

WINE works with the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The conference, with the theme, “Small Things, Great Love: It’s What We Do,” included speakers, confession, prayer teams, shopping at Catholic vendors and Mass with Bishop Andrew Cozzens.

Keynote speaker Lisa Hendey, an author and founder of CatholicMom.com from Los Angeles, spoke about how women who feel wounded can look to the saints for support.

Lisa Hendey

“I hope the words of the saints will be the warm hug that feeds your spirit,” Hendey said.

Hendey spoke about the lives of various female saints including St. Gianna Berta Molla, St. Josephine Bakhita and St. Edith Stein. Hendey said all Catholic women are working to become saints, and encouraged attendees to think about the women in their lives who are “saints in the making,” who she said help people to become storytellers.

“To me, the ultimate superheroes are Catholic saints,” Hendey said.

Erin Westbrook, 32, who attends Sts. Joachim and Anne in Shakopee, said hearing about the female saints made her want to learn more.

“It’s kind of like she opened a door that I had never seen before,” Westbrook said.

Prayer life is critical to the new evangelization, Hendey told the crowd, and God calls everyone in different ways with the gifts he has give them.

Keynote speaker Sister Clare Matthiass, a Franciscan Sister of the Renewal, talked about all women’s call to spiritual motherhood.

“Spiritual motherhood is the key to a woman’s identity,” she said, adding that it’s accomplished through prayer.

Before becoming a religious sister, Sister Clare wanted a spouse and children, but she said she realized being a sister was also a spousal life. Spiritual motherhood is light dwelling in God, father and Holy Spirit, she said.

“Your heart is a spiritual womb to bring souls to Jesus … you have to lay down your life and put others first, which is what mothers do,” Sister Clare said.

The three characteristics of spiritual motherhood that women can learn from Mary are receptivity, listening and joy, Sister Clare said. She also showed a short film she was featured in called “For Love Alone,” in which sisters speak about their decisions to live a religious vocation and what religious life is like.

Sister Clare’s message resonated with Alison Thiesfeld, 44.

“Any woman is a mother, not necessarily a biological mother to a child, but it’s all in the nurturing spirit of being a woman that makes [a woman] a mother,” said Thiesfeld, who attends St. John the Baptist in Savage.

Referring to “For Love Alone,” Sue Johnston, 58, from the Diocese of Superior, Wisconsin, said it was interesting to hear of how regular people become religious sisters. She enjoyed seeing what their lives were like as teenagers and young adults.

“How beautiful the calling was for them, and the charity and the love that they show other people was really touching,” Johnston said.

Leah Koch, 23, who attends Nativity of Our Lord in St. Paul, said hearing Hendey share quotes from various female saints made her talk relatable. Koch said she also enjoyed hearing about the women in Hendey’s life who are “saints in the making.”

“That really called me out to see the people around me that I’m blessed enough to know, and I’m blessed enough to be in contact with, and they’re bringing me to heaven,” Koch said.

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