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Doors Open: 7:30 am
Mass with Bishop Choby: 8:30 am
Benediction & Adjourn: 4:00 pm
The Most Reverend
David R. Choby
2015 Conference Speakers
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Sister Miriam James Heidland, S.O.L.T.
Sr. Miriam James Heidland, S.O.L.T., was raised in Woodland,
Washington, and is a graduate of the University of Nevada-Reno, where
she played volleyball on a scholarship and majored in communications.
Although originally hoping to work for ESPN or another news
organization, Heidland’s life was transformed in a very slow but deep
way during her college years. Spending most of her time living a typical
college life of parties, sports, and freedom, she seemed to have it all. In
reality, her life was empty and broken.
Through the friendship of a holy and caring priest, Heidland’s life began
to transform as she realized Jesus was real and that he was the great
love that her heart desired.
In 1998, from darkness Into God’s marvelous light, she entered the
Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, a missionary community
that serves global areas of deepest apostolic need. She says, “My goal
now is to bring the message of Jesus’ authentic love and mercy to everyone I meet. Jesus came to set us free from sin and darkness so that we might walk in his marvelous light.”
She has a powerful testimony of the victory of faith, hope, and love over the doubt, despair, and lust that cast their shadow over so many souls. Her inspiring and authentic witness is proof that God wants to write his own powerful story of redemption in each of our lives. Sr. Miriam is an authentic witness of Jesus’ irresistible love. With vulnerability, honesty, and beauty, she invites each of us to experience the Lord’s astonishing love—just as we are. Her talks often bring life-changing encounters.
Sister has served at missions in Rome, North Dakota, Seattle, and Texas. Her apostolates have included being a director of the S.O.L.T. Apostolic Novitiate for eight years, working with elementary school students, coaching high school volleyball, cohosting a Catholic radio program, and speaking in different parts of the United States and Canada. She is pursuing a master’s degree in theology from the Augustine Institute and attends courses at the Theology of the Body Institute.
Now a lover of Jesus, sports, reading, beauty and coffee, Sister Miriam James is dedicated to poverty, chastity and obedience; and she is among the happiest of women. Her first book was newly released last fall.
“Loved As I Am”
An Invitation to Conversion, Healing, and Freedom through Jesus
Visit her website: www.societyofourlady.net
Read her blog about authentic life, love and holiness at www.soltsisters.blogspot.com
Follow her on Twitter @OneGroovyNun
Rebecca Dussault, a Colorado native, grew up skiing in the Rocky Mountains. Cross Country Skiing at 9 years old and more seriously at 15, she moved to the top of the sport very rapidly. With many national victories as a junior, by age 17, she was racing around the world with the hopes to one day be an Olympian.
But, skiing had become all consuming and carried with it a heavy burden of always being on defense about her faith and morals as she traveled the world with other athletes and coaches. She felt ostracized by her peers because she was pursuing a physically and spiritually healthy life, shunning the party attitude. Fighting the secular culture, she found herself retiring from racing at the age of 19.
She married and had her first child and then found herself once again competing and winning, restarting her career and passion for competition. She called up her sponsors, and they took her back, knowing that it wasn’t just her anymore, but her entire little “domestic church” they were supporting.
Rebecca encourages us to put our Catholic faith above everything else in life. “Be Catholic first, and anything that flows from that is a rich bonus”. Because there are more than a billion Catholics in the world, Dussault adds, if someone is a “successful Catholic,” he or she will most likely also be a “significant Catholic,” which is why it is so important for prominent people in the Church to be good examples.
She travels speaking about her life and experience in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901-1925), a fellow skier and sports enthusiast who lived in the early 20th century, became her patron saint on the slopes. She even wrote his name on her skis during the Olympics in Turin, his hometown.
His example has continued to serve as an inspiration for her work after the Olympics, especially as a mentor with her program MassStart.org, which aims to help Catholics lead spiritually and physically healthy lives. A new book chronicling Dussault’s experience as a Catholic wife, mother and athlete called Mass Start is available on her website.
She encourages aspiring Catholic athletes and coaches to make the sacraments their first priority, saying that they are “the only thing that keep you you.
She is a mother of four and expecting a fifth child in early June.
Sister Mary Johanna Mellody, O.P.
Sister Mary Johanna Mellody, O.P., grew up in Akron, Ohio, as the seventh of nine children in a faithfully Catholic and happily hectic family. She attended Catholic elementary and high school before going on to the University of Akron for an Elementary Education degree. Of Sister’s eight siblings, two other sisters are also Sisters, one a cloistered Visitation nun and the other a Sister Servant of the Sacred Heart who currently works as a street evangelist outside a soup kitchen in Delaware. Sister Mary Johanna taught in Catholic schools and lived with other Catholic women as part of a lay movement before she found her way to Nashville and the joy of a religious vocation.
Sister Mary Johanna is a member of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. She has worked in the field of Catholic education as a teacher or administrator for over 20 years. She is currently completing a Master’s in Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is also certified in Spanish and has had the privilege of serving the Hispanic Community in Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky.
She currently assists with the catechesis of children, youth, and adults at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Nashville. She also has the opportunity to work with adult faith formation by teaching the Aquinas College Catechist Formation Program in the Diocese of Nashville and Knoxville. Two years ago she and another sister translated the Catechist Formation Program into Spanish, and the sisters are currently training 400 Spanish speaking Catechists in the Diocese of Nashville and Lexington.
Another project close to her heart is working with immigrants new to the Nashville area to help make it possible for them to enroll in Catholic schools.
The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia have just published a beautiful book on family prayer called A Short Guide to Praying as a Family: Growing Together in Faith and Love Each Day (St. Benedict’s Press). Sister Mary Johanna and the sisters are currently working with several Hispanic families to publish a Spanish edition of the book, which will include special sections on Hispanic traditions.
The sisters’ website: www.nashvilledominican.org
"Tajci" (Tatiana Cameron) Singer/Songwriter and inspirational
performing artist has performed for international audiences,
sold platinum records and has toured the US in more than
1,000 iDoBelieve concerts.
Born in Croatia, Tajci (Ty-chee) grew up in communist
Yugoslavia. Raised in a musical family, at the age of 19, she
became a superstar in Central Europe. Her life became
a blur of concerts, video shoots, personal
appearances and commercial tie-ins – an
unending crush of photographers, adoring fans, and bodyguards. Ironically the “dream come true” also brought feelings of isolation, loneliness and emptiness. By 1991, war had come to Croatia and Tajci joined thousands of young people flocking to the churches, now that the atheist regime had fallen
Then “Shocking her country and peers, Tatiana left it all – stardom, glamour, fame, friends and family to come to the United States, alone and unknown, at age 21.” In her newfound anonymity, Tajci found answers in prayer. In her faith and in the freedom it brought her, she found the inspiration to compose music and sing about her new experiences. And she’s comfortable once again being known as Tajci.
Now, after 13 years of touring America, performing more than 1,000 concerts, raising a family on the road and almost losing her marriage, she speaks about learning the secrets to achieving the freedom and courage that it takes to awaken from someone else’s dream and to begin living one’s own.
She and her husband created and now produce “Waking Up In America” a weekly multi-platform show with guests and music in which they explore the 'waking up moments' that shift us from discontent to purpose and uncover the essence of who we are meant to be.
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