Mary, Most Powerful Woman

When you think about powerful women, who first comes to your mind? In December 2015, National Geographic magazine called Mary, Mother of God, the most powerful woman in the world.

Join Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox as they discuss the impact Mary has had on the world since the beginning of Christianity. During this program we will look at Mary’s role as Mediatrix and intercessor, how often she is mentioned in the Bible, and why Catholics revere her.

Message of Hope:
Love our Lady. And she will obtain abundant grace to help you conquer in your daily struggle.  – St. Josemaria Escriva

Living Catholicism is a ministry of broadcast, print, and digital media connecting our pilgrimage of daily life with the faith & teachings of the Catholic Church; produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope. It was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.

Catholic Women’s Conference – An Introduction

Why does Pilgrim Center of Hope (PCH) present the Catholic Women’s Conference (CWC) each year? Why is CWC so relevant today?

Join PCH Co-Founder & Co-Director Mary Jane Fox and event organizer Nan Balfour as they talk about the origins of CWC. They will share about the forethought, planning, and prayer that goes into selecting relevant topics and securing dynamic speakers year after year.

As part of this special presentation – leading up to CWC 2018 – Mary Jane and Nan will spoke with two previous conference attendees who have been enlightened, encouraged, and transformed by their CWC experiences: One a wife and mother, who was inspired to teach catechism at her parish and Catholic homeschool her four children; the other a licensed professional counselor whose marriage and professional life have been refreshed as the result of CWC.

Some of the topics of discussion include:

  • The main reason for founding CWC – to bring a message of hope to women
  • How CWC helps women cope with many family, financial and societal burdens that are placed on them
  • How women have been healed, renewed, reconciled and given spiritual direction
  • The goal to provide spiritual tools that teach, encourage, and challenge women to be exactly who God created them to be
  • The overall mission of leading women to discover and learn about their true personal dignity in God


Listen here!

Come to Me

This week’s recommended spiritual tool is the book “Come to Me,” by Mary Jane Fox & Nan Balfour

This book is a spiritual prayer companion for you, and offers just some of the many ways our Mother Church guides us on our earthly journey. It is designed to draw you closer to Christ and help you live out your vocation to womanhood in the days of your weeks, over the obstacles in your way, and through the desires of your heart.  It is written to teach, encourage, and inspire women in our unique and unrepeatable dignity, and to emphasize the importance of women in the Church, in our families, in the world, and—most significantly—to our God!

To purchase a copy of Come to Me, stop by the Pilgrim Center of Hope (7680 Joe Newton St, San Antonio, TX 78251) Monday through Friday, 8:30 am-5:30 pm. Call us at (210) 521-3377.

Copies can also be bought at the Catholic Women’s Conference.

Spa for A Woman’s Soul

Hear from dynamic speakers who share their messages of hope.

The following served as a preview of  the 2018 annual Catholic Women’s Conference (CWC). Nan Balfour, events coordinator at Pilgrim Center of Hope (PCH) spoke with two of the featured speakers at this year’s conference:

  • Award-winning Catholic author Colleen C. Mitchell, whose speaking topics were When We Were Eve, Uncovering the Woman God Created You to Be and Who Does he Say You Are? Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels, the titles of her two books. Colleen will speak about how she strives to provide guidance to women who are searching for answers and seeking to find their identity in Christ.
  • Convert and surfer priest Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC – bestselling author of Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon, whose life was changed forever after reading about Our Lady of Medjugorje. He spoke on Mary and the Mystery of Femininity and The Rosary: Spiritual Sword of Mary. Fr. Calloway says women have much to learn from the Virgin Mary. Father’s talk helped women to better understand their femininity with a focus on family-life, the workplace, and all other relationships.

This program will also touch on how CWC as a ‘Spa for the Soul,’ strives to provide women with the spiritual tools that teach, encourage, and challenge women to be exactly who God created them to be.



Beauty & God’s Grace

It’s a “tale as old as time” – even truer than Beauty and the Beast.

Join Mary Jane Fox & Julie Reyna for an exclusive interview with author Lisa Mladinich as she was preparing to speak for a previous Catholic Women’s Conference on “True Radiance: Authentic Beauty at Every Age” and “Once I Was Lost: How God’s Grace Touches Our Lives.” Don’t miss this insightful and refreshing episode!

Catholicism Live! was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.

Healing and Direction

Healing & Direction

In this special radio & online exclusive interview with Therese Cirner, professional counselor, author, and speaker, we got a ‘sneak peek’ of her conference talks, “Courage to Heal” and “Six Keys to A Deeper Spiritual Life.” Don’t miss this powerful episode!

Healing Unspoken Wounds

On this episode of Catholicism Live!, we talked with speaker Vicki Thorn as she was preparing to speak at the 2016 Catholic Women’s Conference.

Vicki founded Project Rachel to help facilitate healing for wounds that many people do not speak about. Now, Vicki also helps women and men to be empowered by Catholic teaching about embracing their identity and finding healing for the wounds we carry.

Listen here:

Believing that You Are Wonderfully Made

Noelle Garcia was born in Texas, but has lived in Colorado, Tennessee, Michigan, and now Dodge City, Kansas! She has been speaking to youth and adults for over ten years. Her primary mission is to teach through her own testimony, that we are all “wonderfully made” in God’s image. Noelle has been featured in CNN’s Latino in America and EWTN’s Life on the Rock as she shared her witness of God’s love through the midst of her struggle with depression and poor self-image and how that encounter with Christ radically changed her life.

Noelle uses music, story, witness, and prayer to spread the Gospel. Her ministry is lived through her vocation as wife and mother to three (and one on the way!) beautiful children. Her husband, David, often travels with her as fellow musician and speaker.

This interview was in preparation for Noelle’s appearance at the 2015 San Antonio Catholic Women’s Conference.

Inspiring Women in the Pew

The mission of the San Antonio Catholic Women’s Conference is to foster an appreciation for the personal dignity of women, to inspire women to know and love God and to encourage women to use their feminine gifts to transform the family and society.

How does a two-day event achieve this mission?
By bringing together avenues of grace, including fabulous speakers, Mass, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Adoration & Benediction, and more!
Women came from all over the United States to attend the Catholic Women’s Conference. Here are a few words from some of the attendees:

“I came away feeling blessed, healed & rejuvenated.”
“It motivates me to go home and learn more about my faith and to teach it to my family. To also take more to my parish to maybe help build our community.”
“It will help support me as a wife, mother, friend and a child of God. Give me strength to keep going.”
“I am happy to be a woman and that God has a plan for me. He entrusts many individuals to me: students, children, grandchildren.”
“I will bring the dignity of womanhood to my family, parish & neighborhood. I have the tools NOW to use for everyday living in serving Christ.”

Watch the video below as Mary Jane Fox, Nan Balfour and Danielle Smith discuss the San Antonio Catholic Women’s Conference!

A Message that Resonates Radically

By Angela Sealana

How often does anyone approach a woman and simply thank her?

Consider how our society can, at times, seem obsessed with protecting ‘women’s rights’ (however those may be defined), yet at the same time women are used left and right: used as a’platform’ to obtain political prestige, used by advertisers to sell stuff, used by television producers to spike ratings, used by factories for cheap labor, used by sports fans as eye candy, not to mention all the unspeakable abuses happening in the homes next door, or down the street.

I’m a member of Generation Y (born from the early ’80s through early ’00s), a characteristically optimistic and idealistic generation. However, despite my parents’ best attempts, I’ve been exposed to a steady stream of abusive language from media, strangers, community members and peers since my early schooling that shaped my understanding of my femininity.

Exhibit A: One of my earliest pre-teen memories was a commonplace visit to the dermatologist’s office. He suggested that I begin taking taking birth control as a ‘two-for-one’ solution. “Oh no,” he insisted to my mother, “I’m not suggesting anything about her, but… you never know what can happen these days!” Turning to me, he asked, “Don’t you want nice, clear skin – like when you go to the beach and wear a bikini?”

That was pretty much the extent of my knowledge about being a girl: that my body was different from a boy’s, that someday I could get pregnant, and that everyone expected me to care about my appearance and look ‘attractive.’

The fact is: I never thought about being a girl was anything special. My self-image was never integrally joined with my femininity – until I attended San Antonio’s Catholic Women’s Conference in my first year of college. There I sat, amid hundreds of women, next to my mother, who had invited me. I felt awkward; never before had I encountered so much estrogen! That weekend, I would hear – for the very first time – what the Catholic Church teaches about womanhood and femininity.

That weekend changed my life.

I went home and opened the free copy of “Letter to Women” written by Pope John Paul II, that I’d received in my conference packet. It was the most loving, enriching, positive portrait of womanhood I had ever encountered. The pope’s words jumped out from the page: “Thank you, every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman!” Wow. This was a radically new message.

I began plowing through the Internet looking for more from my church about this strange concept: that my womanhood was a gift to the world.

The more I read, the more I understood that God made me a woman for a reason, and that the Catholic Church has the most respect for women of any organization in the world. Of these things I am unshakably convinced.

Today, I relish the ways I’m able to share this profound truth with other women. For over four years, I’ve worked behind-the-scenes from San Antonio’s Catholic Women’s Conference, and last year, I served it’s nearly 2,000 participants as a speaker. Being a CWC steering committee member has been an extraordinary blessing. We pass along this message – a message that radically resonates with women to the core of their beautiful being. The church’s message about womanhood as  a gift opens their eyes to their glorious dignity, their magnificent abilities and their tremendous influence. The church’s message about womanhood empowers women to transform the world through their ‘feminine genius.’

And it all starts by saying, “Thank you for being a woman.”

“My word of thanks to women thus becomes a heartfelt appeal that everyone, and in a special way states and international institutions, should make every effort to ensure that women regain full respect for their dignity and role.” – Pope Saint John Paul II, in “Letter to Women,” 6.

Angela Sealana is ministry coordinator at the Pilgrim Center of Hope.

Originally published in April 2014. “Living the Gift of Womanhood” is a column by the Catholic Women’s Conference that appeared monthly in Today’s Catholic newspaper (Archdiocese of San Antonio). Learn more about the Conference at