A group of women, some of whom had never met before, came together to be a part of Johnette Benkovic’s Full of Grace Study Series. What initially brought these ladies together was a desire to learn more about and to be active in their Catholic faith. Growing in friendship, they begun to ask themselves how they could make a difference. There was already a growing Columbus Catholic Men’s Conference but nothing for the women of the area. It became clear that they were being called to start this local conference for women. The group began with the goals to bring women together and foster appreciation for the Catholic faith, Church and Sacraments. They also wanted to create an opportunity for fellowship with other women around the diocese that would extend beyond the day of the conference. That first group of ladies came to memorize Romans 8:28 as their inspiration: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God who are called according to His purpose.”
Through much prayer, discernment, and work, the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference was born. The first conference was held at St. Andrew’s Church in Upper Arlington on February 16, 2008. Johnette Benkovic and Karen Reinhart were the first speakers. The reaction was incredibly positive and the conference continued to grow, eventually moving to the Ohio Expo Center where it continues today.
Speakers through the years:
2017 will mark the tenth Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference and is the largest conference of its kind in the United States. The CCWC is anticipating almost 4,000 attendees on February 18. Along with some of the most sought Catholic speakers, the conference also invites many organizations and vendors to attend, all with the aim to provide women with ways to continue celebrating and learning about their Catholic faith. The CCWC offers Mass, Confession and Adoration with the help of Bishop Frederick Campbell, many priests and deacons, and the Diocese of Columbus.
We pray that you will join us at the conference in fellowship and celebration of our Catholic faith. We also pray that you will bring your girlfriends, your sisters, your mothers, or those that the Holy Spirit has tapped you on the shoulder to invite.
(The Misson Statement and Vision Statement)
The leadership of the first CCWC:
Patty Boll, Lisa Bruening, Nancy Cleland, Eileen Fantozzi, Michele Faehnle, Maria Gutierrez, Christina Klein, Marie Lessells, Amy Long, Lisa Schechter, Marisa Webb, Amy Wulf, Rosemary Finneran, Melissa Lentz, Monica Mack, Patty Myers, Margaret Schuman, Joyce Shea, Chrissy Wilson, & Joann Wilson.
The current board of the CCWC (our names?) wants to take this opportunity to recognize these women but also all the women that have made the conference possible through the years. Without our volunteers and host parishes (every two years we ask a parish to be our main source of volunteer resources), the conference would not happen. Thank you all for saying “YES!”