Washington D.C., Jun 11, 2016 / 08:37 am
Young women and religious sisters from around the country are gathering in Washington, D.C. to discover and share their unique talents, training them to use those gifts for the good of the Church and of the world.
“There are a lot of leadership initiatives for high school and college women, but we’ve never seen one in the Church that brings forth consecrated women working together, speaking to young women regardless of vocation,” said Sister Mary Gabriel of the Sisters of Life.
“We had a sense that if young women are encouraged and believed in, they’ll fly,” the committee chair for the GIVEN conference told CNA.
GIVEN is bringing together more than 300 women between the ages of 20 and 30 from every state in the country to Washington, D.C. in order to focus on each young woman recognizing, cultivating, and using the unique gifts she has received.
Throughout the June 7-12 conference, the young women will listen to talks on a range of topics from prayer to reclaiming one’s place in the world, as well as pray, talk, and plan their own projects for when they return home. GIVEN is put together by the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, or the CMSWR, one of the two major councils of women religious in the United State.
Attendees were given a full scholarship to attend the conference, after completing an application process detailing why they wanted to attend the conference and what they would bring back from the conference to put into action in their communities. The conference was sponsored by a grant from the Hilton Foundation and the GHR Foundation for the Year of Consecrated Life.
Sister Marie Bernadette, OP, of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, serves as the Council Coordinator for the CMSWR and told CNA that GIVEN’s focus on making use of women’s gifts was very important, both for the sisters as they planned the event, as well as to have as one of the conference’s themes.
“Truly it’s our joy and privilege to support the local Churches, to support bishops, and to support the dioceses these women will go back to. As women religious, that’s really why we’re here: we’re here to serve the Church and to uphold and build the Body of Christ,” she said.