BY JOANNE KERSTEN
On the evening of Saturday, Feb. 1, the Finnegan Fieldhouse was filled with the voices of Franciscan University of Steubenville women as they gathered to praise the Lord and listen to the wisdom that six keynote speakers had to share with them.
This year’s event was themed around “The Hobbit,” focusing on the unexpected journey that women find themselves on. The night began with praise and worship before diving into talks given by women in all different states of life. After the talks, Fr. Dominic Foster, T.O.R. led a holy hour for all the women present.
Amy Roberts and Courtney Desmond kicked the event off by sharing about the single life. Roberts, a professor of catechetics at the university, spoke about her own unexpected journey and debunked the myths of the single life that many women believe to be true. She said, “The destination of every woman’s journey is not marriage or the convent. The destination of every woman’s journey is the heart of God.”
Desmond, who is the residence director in St. Thomas More Hall, shared with women that “Jesus is enough. Period.” She encouraged woman to see beauty in the present moment and to know that no matter what vocation they are in, Jesus must be enough.
The next two speakers, Sr. Monica Spates, T.O.R. and Sr. Mariela Stodden, FSGM, spoke on the religious life. Spates spoke of the vows of religious life. She said, “The vows are a death, but a death unto a greater life.” Spates also debunked myths of the religious life, including the myth that happiness is built around what we want. “We chose obedience because we are compelled by love of another,” she stated. She ended her talk by reminding women that “God alone suffices.”
Stodden, a sister with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George, drew similarities between her experiences in religious life to the terrors of the fire swamp as depicted in the movie “The Princess Bride” in her talk. She said, “Only Jesus can show us who we really are.”
The final two speakers of the night were Shannon Siemens and Michelle Asci, who are both married women. Siemens encouraged women to build up a life of prayer now, and gave concrete steps for attendees to develop a habit of prayer. She also spoke of how friendship changes in marriage, and encouraged women to seek strong friendships.
Asci finished off the night with a talk about what she perceived marriage to be before she got married, and how it actually ended up looking for her in reality. She encouraged women by saying, “God has great things in store for you.”
Senior Leah McKee said afterward, “(I) loved the event. The speakers were great, and really related to me as a woman of God.”