Westboro Woman Finds Conference a Re-treat
By Mary Donovan.
At one time she thought she couldn’t afford a Saturday for herself, she said. Her work, her small daughter, her husband and her home produced enough claims on her time to keep her committed. Then Ms. Farmer attended her first Diocesan Women’s Conference, Gather Us In, 2005.
She needed a spiritual jump start.
” I was at a point in my life when I needed enrichment and guidance,” she said.
She found that and more.
”I remember coming home feeling as though I had a jet pack. I was flying,” she said.
Since then, Ms. Farmer, homemaker, businesswoman, community involved person and now mother of two young girls aged 14 and 8 has attended every conference.
”They give me a little retreat for myself,” she said, ”a treat for Mommy.”
Ms. Farmer had a career that was ”going great guns.” She was working in marketing for big corporations. Then marriage and a baby girl convinced her she had to use her time differently. She cut back. In 1999 she opened a small business, Christine Anne Farmer, Executive Consultant, in her home.
She went small time on purpose. The scope of her career changed. Formerly, she was one step in a large fabric of production. Now she has direct contact with people and is in a better position to help them as individuals. In addition, she said, the move freed up her time and gave her an opportunity to be involved with her church and the community.
This busy woman is devoted to the conference. She has seen the event grow and change. She has seen changes in the audience as well. When she began attending 10 years ago, she said, the audience was mostly older women. Now she sees many contemporaries as well as college women and women with teen age daughters.
”The conference is good for any young teens from high school age and up,” she said.
According to her, there are at least two good reasons for this. Attending the conference with her mother is an experience a girl will never forget. she said. In addition, the girl will see the kind of woman she will probably be – she will get a sense of solidarity.
”The message transcends the physical age of our beings. It’s a message that is timeless in terms of our message serving God,” she said.
What iis it she likes about the conference? Everything, she said. Being with the sheer volume of women is exhilarating. She finds it exciting to watch so many women filling the streets around the DCU Center, converging on the building, crowding the escalator to the conference floor, snaking their way around tables to find friends at lunch time.
She said she finds the day inspiring, from the words of the speakers to casual conversation at lunch. And the liturgy at the end of the day ”is the capstone.”
What would she say was the most important part of the day? She raised a hand to ward off the question.
”That’s like asking which petal of a flower is most important,” she said. ”It’s the charisma of the whole experience – the Holy Spirit covering us with grace.”
Gather Us In 2011 will present two keynote speakers, singer-composer Sr. Kathy Sherman and television journalist/humanitarian Liz Walker. In addition, four workshops will be available, two in the morning session and two after lunch. At the close of the conference, Mass will be celebrated by Most Reverend Bishop George E. Rueger, DD.
Information about the Conference may be attained at the commission website: worcestercommissionforwomen.org or click on the link to Commission for Women at the website of the Worcester Diocese, worcesterdiocese.org. The day-long conference, Gather Us In, 2011, will take place November 5, 2011 at the DCU Center, 50 Foster Street, Worcester