Woodford trio helps with area conference

DeWayne Bartels
Marie Miller, songwriter and Curb Record recording artist, will be performing at the Catholic women’s conference on March 10.

At least 600 Catholic women are expected to descend on East Peoria on March 10 thanks to the efforts of some Woodford County women.

The Catholic women’s conference at Embassy Suites will offer a full day of Catholic immersion, ranging from a Roman Catholic Mass to a discussion of new media during a time to “Meet the Bloggers.”

More than 250 attendees have registered to date for the Third Annual Behold Conference.

Nancy Piccione of Metamora is leading the “Meet the Blogger” effort.

“It’s basically a way to integrate Catholic ‘new media’ into Behold 2012,” Piccione said. She is book page editor for The Catholic Post. By new media, Piccione is referring to blogs, Facebook, Twitter, podcasts, and other ways people use the Internet to share and connect.

“Pope Benedict XVI tells us to use technology to grow and share our Catholic faith, and we’re taking up the challenge,” she said.             

Bloggers set to attend, include: Kate Wicker, who will also be a keynote speaker for the conference; Jen Fulwiler of Conversion Diary; Hallie

Lord of Betty Beguiles; Sister Helena Burns of Hell Burns; Danielle Bean, new editor of www.catholicdigest.com as well as www.faithandfamilylive.com/blog, and several others.               

Rose Marie Rudolph of Germantown Hills, executive director of Behold, and Bonnie Engstrom of Goodfield, assistant director, said the conference has quickly outgrown their expectations.

“It’s been an incredible thing to watch it grow. It started off as an off-the-cuff comment at St. Mary’s church in Metamora,” Rudolph said.

The first conference in 2010 at St. Mary’s drew 100 women.  

The second year 400 women attended forcing the conference to move to Five Points in Washington.

“Now, in our third year, we have outgrown Five Points,” Rudolph said.

This year, Rudolph said, as many as 800 women might attend.

Engstrom is heading up the blogger portion of the event. She said she is excited about what will happen.

“We’re not sure what it will end up looking like,” she said.

One of the most interesting aspects of the conference, both women said, is the average age - which is about 30. They said women ranging from high school to grandmothers will attend.  

Image consultant Ginny Baldridge will lead a special presentation, with live music by Marie Miller, songwriter and Curb Record recording artist.

Wicker, a published author and Catholic mom blogger, will discuss “Made In Heaven” during which she will explore what it means to be “fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image and likeness.”

The topics being discussed at the conference are appropriate for women high school age and older. Lap babies are welcome.

Registration is $60 and includes conference materials, breakfast, and lunch. A limited number of scholarships are available for those in need. Scholarship deadline is March 1. Regular registration at the door will be taken.

For more info on the conference’s events go to www.beholdconference.com. Seating is limited.             

The conference host is the First Ten group at St. Mary’s of Metamora with sponsorship by OSF Healthcare. For more information, phone 621-5097 or check out “Behold Conference” on Facebook.