What a day! Went to the Catholic Women’s Conference. When we got there this morning, it was already crowded with lots and lots, and LOTS of ladies who were ready to learn and grow in the Lord together. ^_^
There’s a group I’m still really newly involved with, Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and I was able to help out at their table. At first, I couldn’t find them, so I went to Mass, which was celebrated by our Bishop. His homily… was incredible. It really resonated with me. Of COURSE I took notes. ^_^
After Mass ended, I quietly scooted out and went to the other part of the building where all the vendor tables were to find my CCR friends so I could help out with the table. I couldn’t find them at first, and in my search, I found the Catholic Writer’s Guild, an organization I’d been wanting to connect with for about a year now. Got to chatting with one of the gals at the table, a fellow author and Tolkien fan. While we were talking, I glanced down and saw a book I’d been dying to get my hands on: a historical fiction about my Saint! Saint Dymphna visited me at the conference! :D The book was only a tenner, so OF COURSE I bought it. If I were to buy it online, I’d have to pay probably more than twice that much for it – after shipping and tax and whatnot – not to mention the frustrating wait. LOL I got super excited about seeing the book and we talked about Saint Dymphna for a few minutes. We swapped information, the lady I was talking to and I, and then I thanked her and told her I’d love to stay in touch. When I got home, I signed up to ‘follow’ her blog. :D
I found the CCR table a few minutes later… Lo and behold… the CCR table was just down the aisle and across a walkway from where the CWG table was. Hung out at the CCR table with my friends and passed out information about the Renewal, talked about the retreat coming up, Citywide… LOTS of nuns were there. Y’all, did you know… Nuns give the MOST AMAZING hugs! :D I got to hug a few nuns today, too, which made my day. I love, love, LOVE nuns. Always have, even long before I was curious about the faith.
I mean, how can you NOT? ;)
Saw several familiar faces, too, so that was wonderful! At one point, I wandered across the aisle to talk to a couple of people and our Bishop had stopped by our table. My friends at the CCR table got a photo with him, so I didn’t come back over to our table until they were done – I don’t like photobombing people. LOL He decided to go visit the other tables, and I walked back over to our table and hung out for awhile.
At around… I think 1130-noon(?) we decided to go back into the conference area b/c Fr Don Callaway was doing his talk, and we wanted to listen to him. Let me tell you… He’s got QUITE a story! I’d watched his interview with Marcus Grodi, I saw the video on YouTube not too long ago. When he did his talk today, he went more in-depth about his conversion story, which blew my mind even more, but I am not even joking when I tell you, I was given a CLEAR example of just how SERIOUS that statement is in Romans 8, St Paul’s statement about how God can use all things for the good of those who love Him. ^_^ Fr Don didn’t hold back at all. After he was done, my friends and I decided to go back to our table and as we were leaving, Fr Don was walking right next to me. I saw him out of the corner of my eye and realized, OH! He’s right HERE. So, I started talking to him. He was super sweet and when I asked him if I could have a photo with him. He said sure, could we do it on the way to his table, because he had to go straight there. Of course! So, as we’re coming out to where the vendor tables are, he gets swarmed by a bunch of Philipino ladies, so I held back. LOL I went over to his table and waited until the crowd died down a little and when it was my turn to go up to talk to him again, I asked him, ‘Father, I know you’re busy, may I please get a quick photo with you?’ ‘Sure! Come here, let’s do this!’ LOL He’s super down-to-earth!
After that fun, I wandered over and talked a little bit with a Polish nun, she gave me a couple books and a bracelet. We talked a little bit about her Order – the books she gave me were about the founders of her Order, so I’m really looking forward to reading them! - and she gave me a really pretty bracelet that was handmade and has a medal on it. On one side is Mama with the Baby Jesus, and on the other side is an Image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I’ve got it on my wrist with my St Benedict bracelet, Miraculous Medal bracelet, my Rosary bracelet, and a handmade bracelet that makes me think of the Divine Mercy.
Wandered back over to our table with my friends and we finished up with handing out information about the retreat coming up, the seminar that’s happening during Lent, helped them get stuff back to the one gal’s car so they would have it all packed and ready to go, and as I was getting ready to go to Adoration, I noticed a Franciscan TOR nun standing by her table, so I stopped and chatted with her for a few minutes. We helped the ladies next to her table take down their banner thing and then I went to Adoration. As it stands… I was there JUST in time for our Beloved Lord during Procession, but fortunately, I was on the opposite side of the room from where He was, so I hadn’t really missed seeing Him (I’d asked a nun standing there if I’d missed our Beloved Lord being Exposed, she shook her head no and told me He’s doing Procession right now, and then we’re doing Benediction afterwards). So, I’m standing there, and I’m watching the Procession and I’m thinking about all my loved ones I wanted to bring to Him, and as they’re going down the aisle on the far end of the room, I’m thinking, ‘Oh, boy. My Jesus is out, and here I am, STANDING. I’m so, so sorry, Beloved, I really am. I am afraid, though, if I sit down on the floor, I won’t be able to get back up!’ (bad knees and hip)… Plus I was concerned I’d be given a hairy eye for sitting on the floor with Jesus being out… and I’m kind of stuck as to what to do. So, He’s doing His rounds, as it were, and it hits me: wait a second… I sit at the Foot of the Tabernacle… ON THE FLOOR, all the time. Plus, other gals were on the floor, too, either kneeling or sitting, and no one reprimanded them, there were no priests dad-tone whispering to them to knock it off, so I prayed a quick apology again to my Beloved and then sat down on the floor. ha. When it was time for Benediction, I knelt for as long as I could handle it, but it wasn’t long, sadly. After Benediction and our Beloved Jesus was reposed, I got up and went to the lobby area and waited for my friend that I’d rode with to the conference so we could go home. By the time we reconnected, we were both super tired and ready to just go home and process through the day, all we’d learned and experienced. We discussed the day and she dropped me off.
I’m still sorting through everything I’d seen, discussed, and learnt today. I am nonetheless super grateful for the experience.