April 6, 2017
Three ‘dynamic and inspiring women’ to speak at annual women’s conference
By Peggy Weber
SPRINGFIELD – The 10th annual Catholic Women’s Conference will be held Saturday, April 22 at the Bellamy School in Chicopee and features three dynamic and inspiring women, according to Sister of St. Joseph Cathy Homrok, chairperson of the event.
The featured speakers are Mother Olga of the Sacred Heart, Patricia Livingston and Therese Wilson Favors.
“We are so excited about the speakers for this year’s conference. It will be wonderful to welcome Mother Olga back to our day. She brings a deep level of spirituality and inspiration,” Sister Homrok said. “Patricia Livingston is known for her great storytelling style. And Therese Wilson Favors will bring new insights to us, especially with her work with the National Black Catholic Conference.”
Mother Olga of the Sacred Heart returns to the conference as one of the most popular speakers in the past decade. She is the founder and mother servant of Daughters of Mary of Nazareth, a new religious order in the Archdiocese of Boston.
Mother Olga was born and raised in Iraq and lived through four wars. In 1993, as a young lay woman, she started a lay movement called Love Your Neighbor and invited young men and women from Christian and Muslim communities to be part of this community to serve the needs of the poor in Iraq. In 1995 she established the first order for religious sisters in the Assyrian Church of the East in 700 years.
She came to the United States in 2001 where she received her master’s degree in pastoral ministry from Boston College. She was involved in the campus ministry of the Catholic Center at Boston University and later served as the university chaplain for the Roman Catholic community at Boston University.
Mother Olga was received into the Roman Catholic Church on Sept. 8, 2005, in the Archdiocese of Boston. In summer 2009, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley gave her the permission to start a new apostolate on the Boston University campus, the Nazareth House, a house of prayer and discernment for young women. In April 2011, the cardinal allowed her to establish the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth.
Favors is the director of African American Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. She previously served as the coordinator of elementary and family catechesis for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. From 1985 to 1987, she served as the planner for the 1987 National Black Catholic Congress and shortly thereafter was named the executive director for the National Black Catholic Congress. Prior to these positions, she served as director of evangelization and community Outreach for Corpus Christi Church in Baltimore.
Favors has extensive experience as an educator in both Catholic schools and parish religious education programs. She served on the advisory board of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops from 1973-1976 and as adjunct professor for the DeSales School of Theology, Loyola Marymount and at The Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University.
Favors is the author of Rise Up and Re-Build, an educational resource commissioned by the National Black Catholic Congress as a follow-up from Congress VII to assist African American families in combating racism as well as to encourage spiritual and cultural development.
Livingston is a noted speaker on spirituality. She is best known for her storytelling style of illuminating the presence of God in everyday life. In addition to leading workshops, retreats, and seminars throughout the United States and abroad, she is an award-winning writer whose work has been featured in Living Faith, Living With Christ, Catholic Digest, Liguorian, and US Catholic.
The former associate director of the Center for Continuing Formation in Ministry at the University of Notre Dame, Livingston was awarded the U.S. Catholic Award for furthering the cause of women in the church. She is the author of several books of Christian spirituality. She is married, a mother and grandmother.
“This day is a highlight for many women,” said Sister Homrok. “It creates a sense of community and support while enriching the spiritual and emotional lives of those attending. We really hope people will take the time to come and listen, learn and unwind.”
“The conference offers time for individual prayer, reconciliation, togetherness and so much more,” said Sister Homrok.
For registration information, call 413-452-0812.