When I walked into the ballroom on Saturday afternoon at last year’s Edel Gathering, I was surprised to see a woman sitting in the back row, dabbing tears out of her eyes with a crumpled Kleenex. Soon, almost all the women in attendance would be weeping openly in response to Marion Fernandez-Cueto’s heartfelt talk, but at this point the Saturday event had barely begun.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
She nodded. “I just can’t tell you how much it means to me to see an entire room full of women who understand my life.”
After a long break to manage the holiday
unmitigated pandemonium celebrations, Hallie and I are back to being at work on the 2015 Edel Gathering. Given that we both have six young children, she’s pregnant, and I recently started a radio show, there are times when I feel too tired to do one more thing for this event.
But then I think of that moment with that beautiful woman, I remember how much we all need something like this, and I recall our original mission.
- We believe that too many Catholic women feel like they’re the only ones fighting the good fight.
- We believe that there is an epidemic of loneliness among mothers, especially those who are also women of faith.
- We believe that a lot of Catholic moms are struggling, but feel like they can’t admit it for worry of people misunderstanding or judging them.
…And we believe that new friends, lively conversation, good food, prayer, and a glass of wine can go a long way to making things better.
On that note, I am thrilled to report that Hallie and I have been pouring our time and energy into finding new ways to make the 2015 Edel Gathering even more powerful and memorable than the last one.
We are releasing a new block of tickets tomorrow, Wednesday 1/21, at 10:00 AM ET, which we reserved since so many people said they couldn’t make the decision until after the holidays. You can purchase the tickets here.
Along with the new block of tickets, I have the following EXTREMELY EXCITING announcements. (Excuse the all caps, but when you read these updates you’ll see that they were absolutely necessary):
1. SECRET SPEAKER REVEALED!
We have had a special secret keynote speaker in the works for a while, and we’re thrilled to finally be able to announce her identity. The woman who will be giving the keynote address at the Saturday night dinner is…
Audrey will open up about struggles she’s faced as a woman and a mother, with powerful words of wisdom about how she found grace and balance and peace in the midst of her challenges. We loooooove her music (I Shall Not Want — oh. my. gosh.), and so I’m pretty much counting the days until we get to know a whole new side of her when she gives this talk.
. . .
What could be better than having a famous recording artist at the event? How about if we brought Jesus too?!
We have confirmed that there will be Eucharistic Adoration on site, as well as a special vigil Mass for Edel attendees.
. . .
We have confirmed that SiriusXM is sending a crew so that the Catholic Channel can broadcast from the 2015 Edel Gathering! We’re setting up an event that will involve a live audience open exclusively to Edel attendees, which would feature some of the fabulous women in attendance. We know that many of our ticketholders are involved in a lot of great projects, and we hope this will be a chance to highlight some of them on national radio. More details soon!
. . .
Our fabulous emcee, Jenny Uebbing, has turned up pregnant, due right around the time of the Edel Gathering. (In fact, so many women have turned out to be pregnant and due around Edel that we considered having a midwife with a mobile birthing center just set up in the corner.) Oddly enough, Jenny didn’t want to see “Possible Labor and Delivery by Jenny Uebbing!” penciled in to the official schedule, so she’ll be cheering us on from afar. The new emcee is Haley Stewart, who gave an amazing talk at last year’s event!
. . .
On Saturday night of last year’s Edel Gathering, after the dinner was over, I took a break from the dance floor because I saw the woman whom I’d met in the ballroom during the day event. We talked for a while, and it came out that both of us hadn’t realized how isolated we’d felt until we arrived at this event.
“I don’t think I knew how much I needed to go to a good party with a bunch of Catholic women, ” she said, half-shouting over a Maroon 5 song that was blasting in the background.
“I know, ” I agreed. And I said the words that had been coming to mind over and over again as I walked among the women of the Edel Gathering: “I feel like I’ve finally found my people.”
. . .
P.S. To answer one of the most common questions we’ve received: The Edel Gathering is targeted to the needs of Catholic mothers, particularly those who still have children at home. However, all women are welcome. If you’re female and this event sounds like fun to you, we welcome you with open arms!
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