Conference workshops planned for wide appeal
By Mary Donovan
Four very different workshops will be offered at the upcoming women’s conference. In the words of Susan Bailey, chairwoman of the Commission for Women, “There’s something for everyone.’’
The conference, Gather Us In 2011, is the sixth biennial women’s conference of the Diocese of Worcester. It is sponsored by the Diocesan Commission of Women and the Bishop of Worcester. It will take place on Nov. 5 at the DCU Center in Worcester.
The goal of the women’s conference is to appeal to all Catholic women. Hence the name – “Gather Us In.” The Commission for Women has learned a thing or two about Catholic women in its 10 years of presenting this event. Catholic women are a feisty lot. They do not walk in lock-step. They are thoughtful, independent, creative and individual. The composition of the program reflects this awareness, according to Ms. Bailey.
The workshop presenters are: Elizabeth Dryer, Ph.D, professor of religious studies at Fairfield University; Pat Gohn, wife, mother, writer and speaker; Christin Jezak, actress, and the two moderators of the fourth workshop who are commission members.
Elizabeth Dryer’s workshop is titled, “Women as Grassroots Theologians.’’ She is the author or editor of nine books and numerous articles, chapters in books and dictionary/encyclopedia entries. In addition, she is the general editor of the eight volume series, “Called to Holiness: Spirituality for Catholic Women’’ (St. Anthony Messenger Press) and the author of the first volume, “Making Sense of God: A woman’s perspective.’’
Workshop presenter Pat Gohn is a wife and mother to three young adults. Ms. Gohn holds a master’s degree in theology and has a special love for adult faith formation, she said. Ms. Gohn writes regular columns about Catholic subject matter at Catholic Exchange, Catholic Mom, and the Catholic portal at Patheos.com.
Her workshop is: “What return can I make to the Lord for all he has given to me? Exploring active responsiveness and spiritual motherhood.’’
Workshop presenter and actress Christin Jezak will present her one-woman show “Person-to-Person: A Mother Teresa Project.’’ According to Ms. Jezak this piece will demonstrate how we encounter Jesus in every person. The message is presented through the lens of Blessed Mother Teresa. It consists of monologues of different types of people in our society that Mother Teresa reached out to. “These are the people that society tends to forget,’’ she said.
The fourth workshop is called “Talk Back.’’ This is a new concept. In this workshop, attendees are invited to critique the conference, ask questions, seek information, make suggestions and otherwise discuss the event with two members of the Commission for Women. These two are Susan Bailey and Marie Fusaro Davis.
As Ms. Bailey said, “All of us on the Commission worked hard to be sensitive to needs of women who attend our conferences, and we have listened to their requests.”
“Gather Us In 2011” will present two keynote speakers, television journalist Liz Walker and singer-composer Sister Kathy Sherman. At the close of the conference, Mass will be celebrated by retired Auxiliary Bishop George E. Rueger.