Seventeen-year-old Juliana Markelj shares about finding true purpose as a girl in the 21st century. Photo by Breanna Azevedo

At Calling All Girls conference, moms, daughters learn about real girl power

By  Breanna Azevedo, Youth Speak News
  • March 31, 2017

Mothers and daughters were brought together on March 24 to learn more about successes and struggles that have defined the growing empowerment of women.

“You as women have so much power,” said Lisa D’Souza, speaker at this year’s Calling All Girls conference held at the John Paul II Polish Cultural Centre in Mississauga, Ont.

“We as women have that power to be that generation of brave, generous and strong women, that are going to eradicate divorce. Your identity is that beloved daughter of God and that’s never going to change, no matter where you go, or what you do.”

D’Souza, co-founder of a women’s ministry in Toronto known as Made4More, focused on the topic of chastity. She said chastity was not just about saying no, but it was also about saying a greater yes to what is true love, joy and freedom.

“We want that love that beats the odds,” she said. “When we were little girls, that’s all we’ve ever wanted. To be the princess, to be these epic heroines, to really fight for true, good, beautiful love.”

The Calling All Girls conference was organized to accompany the Dynamic Women of Faith conference on March 25. The event focuses on building and reinforcing the importance of a mother and daughter relationship through the Catholic faith, hoping to inspire the next generation.

Speaker after speaker shared their experiences and their struggles as they eventually found the peace and happiness through the power of prayer and directing their focus to their faith.

Seventeen-year-old Juliana Markelj shared her testimony about finding a true purpose in life.

“It’s not easy being a girl in the 21st century and it’s not easy to find a purpose and it’s definitely not easy to live it out, but there’s a solution and there is hope. That hope lies on the cross, in our faith,” said Juliana.

“Social media can be really great, but it’s the thing about finding balance and recognizing what is false in the world. We have to look to our faith and recognize that that is the truth and start to believe it.”

The conference also featured speakers who touched on practical advice for mothers and daughters, including Mary Reis, who gave fashion tips, and Kimberly Go, who discussed the power of prayer and its many benefits to our daily lives.

University student Monica Mallory talked about the positive effect that a prayer, “Jesus, I Trust in You,” had in guiding her through difficult times.

Betsy Andreu, who was the keynote at the Dynamic Women of Faith conference, shared advice about staying true to one’s self and having the courage to do the right thing.

The first Dynamic Women of Faith conference was held March 2010. Conference organizer and Dynamic Women of Faith founder Dorothy Pilarski has seen the event grow enormously.

“We started at my kitchen table, with a few moms praying, learning about their Catholic faith, and sharing their experience as Catholic women,” said Pilarski. “Prayers have helped our committed team of volunteers enthusiastically organize the Dynamic Women of Faith Conference and Calling All Girls event year after year.”

(Azevedo, 18, is a Grade 12 student at Holy Name of Mary College School in Mississauga, Ont.)

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