“There is nothing God cannot do with an unconditional ‘yes.’ ” These are words that Cardinal Wuerl spoke to the 60 religious and 300 young women gathered in the crypt of the National Shine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC for the opening Mass of the GIVEN Forum. The event was the result of a very generous grant given to CMSWR for the Year of Religious Life. The Council in turn decided to host a leadership training for women ages 20-30.

There was at least one attendee from each of the fifty states. Yes, that includes Hawaii and Alaska! To be accepted they had to complete an extensive application and propose an action plan for some program, event, or product they will initiate in their local Church. They came eager to learn and we, the religious, were eager to work with them.

The week was PACKED! There was time for prayer, confession, Mass, socializing/networking, and fantastic presentations from women like Helen Alvare, Dr. Carolyn Woo, Gloria Purvis, and Laraine Bennett. (Not to mention a concert/testimony by Audrey Assad!) The attendees were mothers, newly married women, professionals, and students.

Catholics in America, get ready! These young women left on fire and they have been equipped to spread that blaze throughout the United States! There is already talk about it being an annual event, so please keep that in your prayers. It was a tremendous blessing to be part the first GIVEN Forum. The synergy among the sisters of different religious communities was amazing to see. That in itself spoke volumes to the young women.

Please pray now that the action plans they have proposed will be led by the Holy Spirit and defended from attacks from the evil one. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so if you’d like to visit the websites here they are: http://www.givenforum.org/ ; http://bit.ly/28OYZ14 (Youtube Chanel); http://bit.ly/1UEsxZb (Facebook Page).