Second women’s conference set for Nov. 5

ValLimar Jansen, a singer, composer and catechetical speaker, sang during a keynote presentation at the first Archdiocese of Louisville Catholic Women’s Conference Nov. 7 at St. Patrick Church. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)
Women attending the Archdiocese of Louisville’s first Catholic Women’s Conference last year took part in a song with Archbishop Joseph. E. Kurtz during a keynote presentation at St. Patrick Church. (Record File Photo by Ruby Thomas)

By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer

The Archdiocese of Louisville is preparing to host its second Catholic Women’s Conference Nov. 5 and organizers say they are prepared to receive between 800 and 1,000 women this year.

The first conference, held last year, drew close to 700 women. This year’s event — themed “Encountering God’s Mercy” — will take place at St. Patrick Church, 1000 N. Beckley Station Road, from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. And online registration is open at /2016-registration/.

The conference will be a bit different this year, said Janet Millen, a parishioner at St. Patrick and chairperson of the planning committee.

It will feature a keynote address followed by two breakout sessions, a children’s workshop and a closing liturgy celebrated by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz. Participants will also have the option to attend a session in Spanish or Swahili.

Last year there were close to a dozen workshops, which complicated the flow from one event to the next, Millen said. She hopes the format this year will simplify things.

Participants will hear from Lavinia Spirito, an attorney and founding author of Catholic Way Bible Study program. She will present the keynote address on the day’s theme. And, she will apply the theme, “Encountering God’s Mercy,” to Scripture, said Maureen Grisanti Larison, who is consultant of adult formation and initiation for the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Spirito is a “dynamic speaker” who “has been well received” nationally and internationally, Larison noted.

“She brings energy and passion for the message of the Catholic faith. She’s very knowledgeable, but her style is down-to-earth and people will be moved by what she has to say,” said Larison, who is also the archdiocesan liaison to the conference’s planning committee.

Millen said she expects the event to be “another inspirational time to bring women of the archdiocese together to worship and hear about God’s

mercy together.”

Following the keynote, attendees will attend two sessions. Session one, scheduled for 10 a.m., offers the choice of three speakers.

Sarah Fellows, Catholic campus minister at the University of Louisville, will present “Culture of Encounter: Seeking Justice in Right Relationship.” Fellows’ presentation will include the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

Participants also will have the option to hear from Dr. Lete Ansera, a licensed marriage and family therapist, who will present in English and Swahili. Her presentation is entitled “Walking in the Light of Christ: African Experience of Encountering Mercy.”

Spanish-speaking attendants may attend a presentation by Eva Gonzalez, Hispanic ministry director in the archdiocese’s Office of Multicultural Ministry. Her presentation is entitled “Hispanic Women Encountering Mercy.”

Session two, scheduled for 11:30 a.m., features one presenter, Dr. Veronica Morgan-Lee, an adjunct faculty member of Point Park University in Pittsburgh. That session is entitled “Reflecting on God’s Mercy in Our Lives.”

The conference will also include a workshop for children called “Discovering Mercy as a Child” and it will be presented by Audrey Penman, director of the Catholic Enrichment Center (CEC) and Dorice Firmin, family life skills coordinator at the CEC.

Priests will be available throughout the event to hear confessions in English, Spanish and French.

Larison said she’s heard from many women who are “anxious to see what will happen this year, because they had such a wonderful experience last time.”

She wants to encourage all women to attend, because there will be something for everyone, she said. ‘

“It was very moving seeing so many Catholic women together,” she said of last year’s event. “We had many positive responses last year and I’m sure it’ll be that way again next year.”

The cost of the event is $30 for adults and $5 for children in kindergarten through fifth-grade. 

The deadline to register is Oct. 20. Those who need assistance with online registration or need financial assistance to attend the event should contact Lynn McDaniel at 448-8581 or For more information, visit

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