Springtime of Hope

From Road Trip to Reality ---The Inspiration and Growth of
Springtime of Hope

From Road Trip to Reality
The Inspiration and Growth of Springtime of Hope

We firmly believe that this conference series is a response to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In the fall of 2003 we were traveling to Vandalia, Illinois to attend a Catholic conference. En route we talked about the men of our diocese having an annual conference but no similar opportunity was available for the women. We joked and brainstormed about putting on a conference to fill that gap. It really was just lighthearted talk about an unrealistic possibility. Who would be bold enough to just start planning a conference? We never dreamed that we would actually be called to carry through with it until, at the conference, we heard two women speak who really inspired us. We immediately asked one of them if she would speak at our conference IF we had one. She was excited about our ideas and on the trip home from the conference we went from road trip (dreaming & brainstorming) to reality (we might actually do this). At the Vandalia conference we had found out that the organizers of the conference were two ordinary women. Positive affirmation! Our husbands were amazed and very supportive of our ideas. Yikes! What are we thinking? Are WE really going to do this?

With the Holy Spirit's guidance, the first Martha & Mary Women's Conference , held at Clarke College on March 6, 2004, attracted over 170 women. Rave reviews were given on the evaluations submitted by about 140 women. The first conference was the work of two women. For our second Martha & Mary Women's Conference we had a spiritual director, Fr. Huber, and a team of women and men who helped bring the conference to reality. Although we are independent of our archdiocese, we keep the archbishop abreast, through our spiritual director, of our conference plans and speakers.

We believe we are following the leading of the Holy Spirit and the vision of Vatican II. We have reflected on our role as laity, that we are to be salt for the earth & leaven for the world. The Catechism says, "...lay Christians...have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth." (CCC #900) We also reflect on and respond to other Catechism paragraphs on the laity (esp. CCC #897-913). Vatican II stressed the importance of the role of the laity, saying that the Church "earnestly exhorts the laity to take a more active part, each according to his own talents and knowledge and in fidelity to the mind of the Church in the explanation and defense of Christian principles and in the correct application of them to the problems of our times." (Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People, #6) Everything we are doing is geared toward spreading the Gospel and the divine message of salvation. By sponsoring these conferences and programs, we believe we are living out our vocation as laity.

As the co-chairs our goals are to serve the Lord and to share our love for the Lord and his awesome Catholic church. We are responding to the call to holiness, the call to evangelize and to the call to serve.

We are currently being challenged to expand our vision. Springtime of Hope is the umbrella name for all the conferences and programs we are offering. The response from the women attending the Martha & Mary Women's Conferences was very positive, and many women asked if we would put on a conference for both men and women. Thus the Spirit & Truth Conference was born in 2005. The focus of this conference series is to teach what we, as Catholics, believe and why (1 Peter 3:15-16). We thought God was done with us, but we were wrong. During the following Easter season a friend mentioned to us that with the RCIA program ending, his friend who had come into the Church had no where to go to continue learning about the Catholic faith. He suggested a regular, on-going format for people to be further evangelized and educated about Catholicism. Thus Exploring the Faith was born. This series runs in the fall and spring, with each session exploring a different aspect of our faith. The presenters are local priests, deacons, and knowledgeable lay people. Our Spiritual Director at the time, Fr. Henry Huber, wondered if we could offer something for the youth. We were familiar with the Steubenville North Conference held in St. Paul, MN, and knew it would be a great experience for young Catholics, so we arranged a bus trip to that conference (July 28-30, 2006). Step by step the Lord keeps stretching us, expanding our vision and calling us to faithfully follow Him, to trust Him, to evangelize in ways we never dreamed and to work for the renewal of our parishes and diocese. Our goal is to always send inspired, educated, faithful Christians back to their homes and parishes to live and spread the good news of Jesus Christ and our wonderful Catholic faith. If you would like to help with any of our conferences or programs please email us at springtime@springtimeofhope.org. If you have further questions we would be glad to answer them. We hope that you decide to pray for this apostolate, promote it and attend future conferences and programs.

Return to Homepage