Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
14 Mar 2014
More than 180 women of all ages gathered for the 6th Annual Sisterhood National Catholic Women's Conference, at Stanwell Tops last Saturday to celebrate International Women's Day.
The theme for this year's conference was 'Beloved Daughter'.
Karen Doyle is a member of the Sisterhood team and a passion of hers is to see Pope John Paul ll's teachings on womanhood communicated and embraced by women of all ages.
"For me sisterhood is very much about a movement of women who understand who they are in Christ and the incredible gift that their femininity is to the world."
The conference evolved from several Sisterhood small groups that had been running for three years in Canberra, alongside the brother ministry Young men of God. Karen had spoken a couple of times at the men's conference but in 2008 she was standing at the back of the room watching all the men in praise and worship and felt the Holy Spirit say, "These men are only half of the picture, it is time for the women to take their place alongside them."
She shared this revelation with her Sisterhood small group and they discussed it together joking that they couldn't pull off a conference, they all had young children and knew how much work something like that would take. But God had other plans and the first Sisterhood Conference was held in 2009. Each conference has always been a sell out, and the blessing of God has always been with us, Karen says.
The vision behind the conference is to provide a weekend which provides deep authentic Catholic teaching and formation of what it means to be a woman. To encourage women in the vocation of womanhood, and to celebrate femininity as a gift, a gift this is desperately needed in the life of the Church, the culture and the family.
One of the fruits from the Sisterhood Conference is that more Sisterhood small groups are created all over the country. These operate on a fortnightly basis throughout the year and there is a national team who co-ordinates and maintains support and contact with the groups.
The groups provide a place of support and encouragement as well as an opportunity for formation. The format of the groups involves praying together, personal sharing about four key areas and reading of a variety of resources to deepen their formation of authentic Catholic teaching.
2014 was as an especially exciting Conference as Karen launched The Genius Project, which is a four part DVD resource unpacking John Paul II's rich teachings on womanhood. In Karen's own words:
"The Genius of womanhood refers to the spiritual qualities that are unique to womanhood. John Paul II referred to them as the feminine genius, qualities which he believed to be essential in humanizing culture and building a culture of life and love. He encouraged women to be true to their authentic nature and not seek to be like men, when they do this he says they will lose what constitutes their essential richness."
The DVD is designed to be used in small group settings and is accompanied by individual discussion guides. For further information about the resource visit: www.beingcatholic.com.au/genius1.