Center for Spirituality | Saint Mary's College, IN |


Frequently Asked Questions

Who is sponsoring the conference?

The conference is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, IN, and Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, located in St. Meinrad, IN. Both are Benedictine institutions that have been established for more than 100 years. Learn more about each at: and

When and where will it be held?

The conference will be held October 7-9, 2016, at Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, IN, the home of the Sisters of St. Benedict.

Who can register to attend?

The conference is open to all, although our target audience is Catholic women and men. The speakers and sessions will be of particular interest to professional lay ecclesial ministers, scholars, teachers, youth and campus ministers, active parish leaders and volunteers, healthcare providers and social workers, religious and those discerning a vocation.

When will registration open? What is the cost?

Registration deadline is September 26! You can find the registration page here:

Registration rate is $190 per person.

How and where can I arrange for housing?

Special hotel rates have been established at three local hotels, plus there are other hotels in the area. Click here for hotel information.

Where is the nearest airport?

Ferdinand, IN, is served by two airports, Louisville (KY) International Airport and Evansville (IN) Regional Airport.

Why is the conference being held?

The conference is a response to Pope Francis’ call to give the Catholic Church “a more incisive female presence.” The Women of the Church conference seeks to acknowledge, support and honor the work of women as full partners in the mission of the Catholic Church. The conference theme is: “Strength of the Past. Hope for Tomorrow.”

For a full list of conference speakers and topics, visit

Is this conference designed to support women’s ordination as priests? How can women be leaders in the Catholic Church if they can’t be ordained?

No, the conference focuses on the leadership that Catholics exercise by virtue of their baptism. As Pope Francis has noted, the ministerial priesthood is a crucial role in the Church, but leadership and decision-making need not be limited to the clergy. Our attention will be directed to these broader leadership opportunities as they apply to women in the Church.

While we recognize that the topic of priestly ordination of women in the Catholic Church is a challenging question that continues to be discussed among some, this conference isn’t designed to engage that question. Instead, the conference affirms the dignity and value of the many ways women, and all the laity, respond to the call to be co-responsible for the good of the Church.