When planning the conference, organizers also sought to link together Catholic women, and speak to the loneliness facing so many young adults today. "This is a culture where it's very easy to be alone, even when you're surrounded by people," Sister Mary Gabriel said. From the response so far, the experiment seems to be getting positive feedback from the attendees. "So many have said, 'Oh my goodness, I've been waiting for something like this.'"
That is the message that has resonated with Chanelle Leonhardt, who is attending the conference from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. She told CNA she was impressed by "being surrounded by so many young women – just knowing that you're not alone," as well as the communal feel of the conference.
Applying after hearing about the conference from the Sisters of Life, Leonhard said she was particularly inspired to put the conference's mission into action by a talk by Sr. Norma Pimentel, MJ, who works with migrant families on the US- Mexico border. "I really want to get a group of friends and drive down to see the hands-on work and help," she explained.
Long-term, Leonhardt also hopes the conference will help her to "own my gifts consistently," and can help drive the work she is doing writing several books. "I want to carry this conviction I have."
Ali Hoffman from the Archdiocese of Dallas also has plans to take what she has learned from the conference and apply it to her calligraphy and other artwork, as well as to her work with youth ministry. What has been most impactful for her have been the lectures on the concept of the "Feminine Genius" and the special role of women in the world.
That special role of women is especially evident in the "calibre of the women speaking," and the other attendees present, Hoffman said. "I'm realizing here how the gifts of 300 other women are all here for building up the Church," she told CNA.
"I'm so excited to see what's going to happen 20 years from now from this conference."