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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

112417 mothering graceCHARLOTTE — After the hectic start-of-school rush of early fall, 120 mothers visibly relaxed as they entered the doors for the Mothering with Grace Conference hosted at St. Ann Church Nov. 4.

For the past four years, this national, small-group ministry for moms has welcomed women of all ages to North Carolina for a day of prayer, inspiration and connection.

Mothering with Grace was founded in 2008 by Jessica Ferrante and several friends as a way to help busy moms pray and study Scripture together. Two groups gather monthly in the Diocese of Charlotte, at St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Mark churches, and more meet around the country.

This year’s conference began with a reflection by Ann Winkle. An active member of St. Mark Church in Huntersville, Winkle also founded Mary’s WAY ministry. She spoke of the heroic example of her mom through severe illness and daily struggles. She encouraged the women to “thank God with the same intensity that we beg Him” and to remember to “take the Blessed Mother with you” throughout their day.

Pictured: Keynote speaker Sonja Corbitt addresses attendees of the Mothering with Grace Conference held Nov. 4 at St. Ann Church in Charlotte. (Photos provided by Cyrus Burroughs with Bluebird Studio)

Father Matthew Kauth led the women in reflections during a beautiful Holy Hour and a quiet morning Mass. He spoke about motherhood as a profound participation in the work of grace which restores brokenness in our world and becomes “a new creation.” Father Kauth also reflected on the virtue of fortitude and explained how women need to support their children when they come face to face with crosses. Fear of suffering will not lead families to Christ, he said.

The afternoon was filled with laughter and empathetic nods as the keynote speaker, Sonja Corbitt, took the stage. A spunky Carolina native and Baptist convert, Sonja is now a popular Catholic author and radio host. Her energetic honesty about toxic relationships, difficulties in prayer, and anger management drew in her audience. And her practical insights into Scripture prompted moms to scribble notes in the corners of their Bible pages for further reflection.

112417 Mothering with GraceSarah Daniels (clinical supervisor at Bluebird Studio), Maggie Malcolm (conference chair), and Madeline Burroughs (owner and director of Bluebird Studio, this year’s main conference sponsor).As moms explored their generous swag bags, sipped coffee and unwrapped chocolates, mingled with fellow mothers and shopped with Catholic vendors, they clearly felt spoiled and refreshed by their mini-retreat.

Rosa Braden is a mother of three young children with another due soon. She carpooled with friends two hours from Elon to attend the Mothering with Grace Conference for the first time. She said, “The conference was a wonderful break from my busy work as a stay at home mother, spiritually, emotionally and physically! Mothers giving and receiving ideas on practical and spiritual matters as well as simply sharing similar struggles can be very encouraging.”

For more information about the Mothering with Grace ministry or conferences, visit motheringwithgrace.org.
— Kelly Henson, correspondent