Dorothy Pilarski does the opening address at the 2017 Calling All Girls conference. Photo courtesy of Calling All Girls

Conference connects mother-daughter duos to like-minded ladies

By 
  • March 5, 2018
It is the ultimate Catholic ladies’ night out.

In 2010, Dorothy Pilarski, a mother of two and founder of Dynamic Women of Faith, organized the first Calling All Girls conference to inspire and connect young Catholic women. Instead of popcorn and romantic comedies, Calling All Girls serves inspiration, motivation and the opportunity to connect Catholic mothers and their daughters with other like-minded women.

“Girls with strong faiths often feel very alone compared to their peers. This is a chance for them to meet other girls with similar values,” said Pilarski.

“Many of these girls have never met a peer who talks about their faith with confidence and vibrancy. We believe that if a 19-year-old meets another 19-year-old who is eager to explore her faith and is excited about being Catholic, that will excite whoever is listening.” 

This year’s event is being held at the John Paul II Polish Cultural Centre in Mississauga, Ont., on March 23, the night before the Dynamic Women of Faith conference takes over the same venue.

Over the years, Calling All Girls has resulted in many friendships built, phone numbers exchanged and Instagram accounts followed. Whichever the medium, it is the common bond of faith that builds such strong ties.

“The way young people connect these days is different, it’s all done through social media,” said Krystyna Zasowski, a mother of eight and long-time conference goer.

Zasowski, who belongs to All Saints Parish in Etobicoke, has six daughters between the ages of 11 to 28. Over the years, her daughters have brought their friends and female family members to the conference.

“We try to get them connected on Instagram and Facebook while they are at these events so they can build a friendship after the day is done,” said Pilarski.

Pilarski and the other organizers carefully select guest speakers to talk about issues that are relevant to young women. This year’s lineup includes Catholic musician Mark Mallett, the digitally savvy Sr. Helena Burns and Dr. Jessica Chan, a Catholic psychologist.

“We hear from a lot of mothers that their daughters are struggling with stress and anxiety, so we wanted to focus on mental health this year,” Pilarski said.

Mallet will be the only man at the conference, but when Pilarski approached the Saskatchewan-based musician, he was eager to accept.

“It’s an opportunity for me to speak directly to their hearts in the way Jesus would speak to them,” said Mallett.

“Young women are living in a world that objectifies them and puts unrealistic expectations on them. For me, this is a chance to offer solace, encouragement and healing to these women and to call them to be remade in the image of God instead of the image Hollywood has set for them.”

According to Pilarski, just having a young man speak candidly about his faith and current issues is beneficial for young women.

“It shows girls that faith can be part of the criteria when they are choosing their boyfriends or spouses. It’s not just about if he’s good looking or if he’s a hipster. If he is devoted to his faith, that will make a big difference in your relationship and in how he treats you.”

Calling All Girls is also an opportunity for mothers to set aside time to connect with their daughters.

“Girls need mom now more than ever,” said Pilarski. “If you look back to the 1960s, we didn’t have the social media and the negative influences that we have now.

Parents were less stressed back then and could devote more time to teaching family values. It’s a bit of a Catholic crisis because who is going to be there for the kids to teach them faith and values when everyone is too exhausted?”

In addition to raising eight children, Zasowski is also a full-time pharmacist.

“When you’re a working mom with lots of commitments, sometimes you don’t have time to bond with your daughter as much as you wish you could,” she said. “That’s why events like this are so great. We can set time aside and have a truly meaningful bonding experience.”

Information and tickets to Calling All Girls are available at www.dynamicwomenfaith.com.

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