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Women of the Church national conference planned for 2016

Responding to Pope Francis’ call for “a more incisive presence” of women in the Church, two Indiana Benedictine institutions are co-hosting “Women of the Church: Strength of the Past. Hope for Tomorrow. A Catholic Leadership Conference.”

The conference seeks to recognize and support the many ways that women participate in the mission of the Catholic Church. Although the conference is more than a year away, the planning committee has already prepared a program of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, liturgies and cultural events.

The conference, which is open to Catholic men and women, will be held October 7-9, 2016. Hosting the event are Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, St. Meinrad, IN, and the Sisters of Saint Benedict of Ferdinand, IN, where the conference will be held.

The conference will feature three nationally known keynote speakers. Dr. Carolyn Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, will speak on “Working for a Better World: God, Neighbor, Self.”

Dr. Kathleen Sprows Cummings, director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame and an associate professor of American studies and history, will give a talk on models of Catholic women’s leadership.

Sr. Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, will be speaking on “Go and Tell: The Testimony of Women and the Faith of the Church.”

Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis, IN, and Bishop Charles Thompson of Evansville, IN, will also participate in the program. Topics for the breakout sessions will include leadership formation, vocational discernment, spirituality, Catholic health care, youth ministry, the Benedictine charism, and cultivating leaders for a multicultural Church.

The conference is designed for both women and men in the Church, including professional lay ecclesial ministers, scholars, teachers, youth and campus ministers, active parish leaders and volunteers, healthcare providers and social workers, religious and those discerning a call.

For the schedule and more information on conference speakers, visit the conference website, www.womenofthechurch.org.