“I remember at one point, she said, ‘My daughter, you must do this. God wants this. Prayer is the answer to the world's problems.’ I'll never forget what she said. So I think that gave us encouragement,” she said.
St. John Paul II also gave the organization two apostolic blessings, one in 1997 and the other in 2001. Pope Francis also gave his apostolic blessing to participants at the 22nd conference.
EWTN’s foundress, Mother Angelica, was the keynote speaker in 2000 and gave a talk on the Lord in the Eucharist. Jim Caviezel joined the conference in 2003 as the keynote speaker after finishing the filming of “The Passion of the Christ.”
Flynn told CNA that she is encouraged by how much more receptive Catholics are to prayer and fasting now.
“Years ago it was like pulling teeth to try to get people to see the importance of the rosary and fasting. Now I hear people saying, ‘Tell me how to fast, and could you recommend some good books on fasting,’” she said.
Flynn feels optimistic about other aspects of the Church as well.
“There are prayer networks everywhere now, compared with 30 years ago. The prayer networks are amazing. They give me great hope,” she added.
“There’s a lot of great ministries out there compared with 30 years ago; there are many Marian groups, many pro-life groups, a lot of publishers; there are just tremendous ministries out there now that weren’t there before,” she said. “So although the battle seems to be intensifying, you see the great goodness going on.”
This year’s conference will also be held virtually in addition to in person. The week’s events will be live-streamed on the IWOPF website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel beginning Oct. 1.