Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What a weekend!

I just had one of those transcendent weekends that only come along once in a blue moon!

First, on Friday I was privileged (understatement) to take part in the Mini-Synod on Masculine Identity and Mission with our wonderful Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted and 18 august and faithful presenters. 


This is something so needed, so important, so necessary for the  health of family and culture, and right now this initiative of the Holy Spirit is in the germination stage, sprouting right here in the Diocese of Phoenix. I cannot wait to see where the Spirit takes it. Trust me, you all would have been blown away and so happy at what is percolating here. We had presenters from all walks of life, from scholars to generals to ordinary folks like me, some who flew in just for this gathering. I will keep you informed as things develop, and I ask for your prayers!

Then on Saturday, I was so honored to be a speaker at the 5th Annual Phoenix Catholic Women's Conference! What an amazing gathering of 500 beautiful sisters in Christ! The theme was "That Which is True, Beautiful, and Good". 

The speakers were gifted with these beautiful, commissioned icons
of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Such a blessing! 

My talk focused on the "True" for the most part, but I was struck by the talk on "Beauty" by sacred artist Ruth Ristow, a recent convert, who blew everyone away (and I was stunned and thrilled to realize that she is a member of my parish!). Former model and America's Next Top Model contestant Leah Darrow had everyone rapt with her powerful reversion story (baby #2 due soon!!), and Sr. Alison Conemac, SOLT, took us deep into the transcendentals (Truth, Goodness, Beauty). 

Dear friends, there is so much good happening. The Spirit is moving powerfully. Trust me on this. 

Okay, back to my regular life now! I hope your Lent is going well. :)


  1. Don't know about ads on American TV, but here in Australia, I wish I had a dollar for every commercial that pops up these days in which the man/boyfriend/husband/dad is portrayed "humorously" as a buffoon and a bumbling, stumbling, clueless idiot - whose stupid antics the cool, clever and collected woman in the narrative has, invariably, to remedy. It's not just an occasional ad of this nature here and here (which would undoubtedly be just funny) - there are so many, and so regularly, there's demonstrably a theme (a campaign by a bunch of man haters, of both sexes - who I know largely populate today's advertising industry - to devalue real men) running through this. I shudder to think what these repeated images are doing to the minds of impressionable young children, in regard to their respect and esteem for their fathers, for starters. Children will not learn to respect their fathers unless they see society in general and their mothers in particular doing so first. Just as boys will not respect girls unless they see their dads respecting their moms. Anarchy is afoot in the culture at so many levels (often subtle, blink and you'd miss it), working ever relentlessly to undermine its very foundations. It's good to hear that the Church is on to this particular threat and is seriously seeking to counter it.

  2. Francis, yes! And with the rise of fatherless boys, there is no mentoring, no teaching men how to be men. Men and women are NOT the same (we had a Stanford-trained psychologist on the panel), and they respond to the world differently. God made us different, though equal in dignity. So many angles were presented. So much to do to make us think rightly again about the dignity and the identity and mission of men. We have much richness in Pope St. John Paul the Great's work on the Feminine Genius, and now it's time to look at Masculine Genius.

  3. We heard Leah Darrow's talk when she was here for the Rediscover '15 conference in the Twin Cities last October. Her talk was amazing. I used to be (key words here being "used to") a big fan of America's Next Top Model and I remember seeing her on that show. Such a huge difference than the person she is now!! Only God knows the designs He has for our lives!

    So glad you had this opportunity to be a part of this experience!!

  4. It was an amazing conference, and your talk was fantastic! I am so proud of you!

  5. Becky, she is writing a book! I can't wait!

    JoAnna, thank you my dear friend! It was SO great to see you!!!

  6. Francis, this attitude is everywhere you look in America as well. It's particularly popular on out television sitcoms, and sadly, not in a way that would suggest satire, but one that suggests very strongly that this is how the world truly is. And though art imitates life with artistic license for amusement, life the has an unfortunate habit of imitating art, leading, in my opinion, to a subtle (or not so) downward cultural spiral.

  7. Congratulations on your wonderful weekend, Leila!

    Simply put, I agree with everyone's comments here on masculinity and the current culture's long-term attack on it.


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