by Elizabeth Krump
It's part of the human condition: we all crave connection. Friendship, fellowship, relationship – these are enormously important concepts to us. We have a desire to understand and be understood, to love and to be loved, not just in a romantic way, but in an emotional and spiritual way. And while it might sound unusual to put 1350 men in a room to connect, share their struggles and their faith with one another (which did happen in Vancouver at the Man Alive Conference in October), it's the most natural thing to gather a group of women of every age, race and profession to do the same thing.
That's exactly what happened in Vancouver November 23 at the first Archdiocesan Women's Conference. Women from all walks of life congregated at the Vancouver Convention Centre on November 23 to hear about the dignity of women and to enrich their faith. Yet, whenever I asked someone what the best part of the conference was they would reply: connecting with other women.
We ladies are good at connecting. That doesn't mean we are all meant to be Miss Social Butterfly, but I'm willing to bet you'd be happy to spend hours with your best friend just talking about life and love.
This is a gift. Relationships are especially important in our faith journey. Why? Positive, intentional friendships and relationships challenge us to grow. They keep us accountable to our goals, teach us to look outside of ourselves and encourage us when we get knocked down. Through fellowship with other women, we can learn more about ourselves, share in a common journey and be inspired.
Yet, it is easy to find ourselves surrounded by superficial female friendships and trivialized relationships that leave us lonely and empty at our core. In first year university I let myself be surrounded by those relationships and was left in a state of weakened faith, compromised morals and an ugly realization that I was deeply unhappy with my life. Authentic friendships with other practicing, Catholic women rekindled my faith and healed my hurt. Through them, I saw how Christ loved me, whether saint or sinner.
As Victor Hugo said, "To love another person is to see the face of God." Let us not forget that our desire to connect with others beings points towards the ultimate relationship with Jesus Christ himself
Elizabeth Krump is a student at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, where she has been involved with Catholic Christian Outreach. Elizabeth has written for the B.C. Catholic and with two friends started Live 31 Vancouver, a blog/social group/discussion group for women trying to live their faith in the modern world.
(CNS Photo/ Nancy Phelan Wiechec)