April 8, 2016

‘Such a flow of grace’ pervades at 2016 Indiana Catholic Women’s Conference

Jennifer Conley, left, and her sister, Jessica DeFrench, enjoy time together during the Indiana Catholic Women’s Conference on March 19. Conley sees a miraculous connection between a healing service at last year’s conference and the recent birth of her daughter, Mariella Faustina. The baby’s first name, an Italian variation of Mary, also means “wished-for child,” while her middle name is in honor of St. Faustina Kowalska, who introduced the world to the Divine Mercy image and devotion. (Photo by Victoria Arthur)

Jennifer Conley, left, and her sister, Jessica DeFrench, enjoy time together during the Indiana Catholic Women’s Conference on March 19. Conley sees a miraculous connection between a healing service at last year’s conference and the recent birth of her daughter, Mariella Faustina. The baby’s first name, an Italian variation of Mary, also means “wished-for child,” while her middle name is in honor of St. Faustina Kowalska, who introduced the world to the Divine Mercy image and devotion. (Photo by Victoria Arthur)

By Victoria Arthur and Natalie Hoefer

Divine Mercy and a miracle drew Jennifer Conley, her sister and her mother to downtown Indianapolis on March 19.

From their spots in the front row, the trio from Fishers, Ind., took in every moment of the 2016 Indiana Catholic Women’s Conference. The previous year’s conference, they believe, had yielded miraculous results for their family. Conley had proof positive in the cell phone image of her 4-month-old daughter, Mariella Faustina—named after the Blessed Mother and the patroness of Divine Mercy, St. Faustina Kowalska of Poland.

(Related: See a photo gallery from this event)

Conley and her husband, Nik, had been struggling with infertility for two years when a healing priest prayed over her at the 2015 conference. Immediately following the event, during a spring break trip to Key West, Fla., the Conleys made several visits to a perpetual adoration chapel, where the Divine Mercy chaplet is prayed daily at 3 p.m. Soon after, on Divine Mercy Sunday, they learned they were expecting.

“It was life-changing for me last year,” said Conley, 31, a member of St. John Vianney Parish in Fishers in the Lafayette Diocese. “We continued to pray and to believe, and here’s my beautiful baby.”

The Holy Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis sparked the theme of this year’s conference, “Mercy for All.” More than 560 women from across Indiana and at least two other states converged at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown hotel for the daylong event organized by the Marian Center of Indianapolis and sponsored by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Highlights included dynamic speakers, uplifting music by acclaimed Catholic singer/songwriter Annie Karto, and a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin. There also were opportunities for eucharistic adoration, Benediction, the sacrament of reconciliation, the rosary and a healing service. (Related story: What women are saying about the Indiana Catholic Women’s Conference)

In his homily, Archbishop Tobin focused on a key aspect of the Divine Mercy story—trust—by using the example of St. Joseph, whose feast day coincided with the conference. The archbishop recalled the dreams of St. Joseph, including the angel’s reassurance that he could take Mary as his spouse and, later, the warning that the Holy Family must flee to Egypt. These dreams, he emphasized, required Joseph to place his total trust in God even without a full understanding of the road ahead.

“Joseph didn’t have an easy life, but he had a wonderful life,” Archbishop Tobin said. “Joseph’s heart was open. He held onto the angel’s word: ‘Do not be afraid.’ Let us pray for an open and trusting heart.”

That sentiment resonated with Conley as well as her mother, Judy DeFrench, and sister, Jessica DeFrench. While all three were filled with gratitude for Conley’s new baby, they were also praying for a miracle for 17-year-old Jessica. The high school senior has been battling a blood clotting disorder and breast tumors for the past several years.

Just as Conley had taken part in the healing service at the conclusion of last year’s conference, this time it was Jessica’s turn. The service was again conducted by Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Father James Blount, back by popular demand. Conference participants waited from around 6 p.m. on March 19 to about 2 a.m. on March 20 to meet individually with the Georgia-based priest.

“I absolutely believe that Jennifer had an amazing miracle,” said Jessica, who, like her mother and sister, is a member of St. John Vianney Parish. “It’s too much for it to be a coincidence—to have that blessing [of learning she had a child on the way] on Divine Mercy Sunday.”

She said that meeting with Father Blount made her feel as if she were “in the midst of a saint.” Calling her first-ever Indiana Catholic Women’s Conference “very motivational,” Jessica added that she felt renewed in her faith by the end of the day.

“An event like that makes me want to be a better Catholic,’” she said.

In addition to conducting the healing service, Father Blount served as one of the four speakers at the conference. Following are excerpts from each talk.


Excerpts from Emily Jaminet’s and Michelle Faehnle’s talk on their website and book Divine Mercy for Moms

“Our book is more than just a book. We believe that we’ve started a ministry that helps moms and women see God’s hand in their life. …

“What is Divine Mercy? The mercy of God. The simplest explanation is that God loves you. He loves you so much, and nothing—and I mean nothing—that you say or do can change that fact. All we have to do is recognize that God’s mercy is greater than our sins. We need to call on him and trust, receive that mercy, and then let it flow through us to others. So mercy is a beautiful gift. And it’s always available to us. …

“In 1925, [Helen Kowalska] joined the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Warsaw. It was there that she took the name Sister Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament. She received a vision of Jesus [that is now venerated as] the image of Divine Mercy. Jesus appeared to St. Faustina and asked to have this image painted, and he promised many graces to those who look upon it. Notice the important words across the bottom of the image: ‘Jesus, I trust in you.’ In 1935, [St. Faustina] had the Divine Mercy image placed in Vilnius, Lithuania, on the first Divine Mercy Sunday. …

“What a beautiful image. My children like to take my phone and take selfies. We say that Jesus gave us a selfie! He gave us a way in which we can visualize mercy.

“[St. Faustina’s] true gift to us is that she wrote everything down in a diary—over 600 pages of beautiful revelations that Jesus gave to her. …

“When we were both in college, we had the opportunity to study abroad in Austria and to travel on the weekends. One of the first countries we traveled to was Poland. There they have the image of Divine Mercy, and also the tomb of St. Faustina. So we were both able to pray before her relics and pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy with the sisters there. We were about 19 years old, and we were both questioning our faith life, because we both had grown up in strong Catholic homes, but we hadn’t owned that relationship with Jesus.

“I read those words on the bottom of that image while I was there—‘Jesus, I trust in you,’ and I said them like I meant them, and it was the first step in my deepening conversion. …

“We know from the Gospels that Jesus died on the cross at about the three o’clock hour. This is a great time to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet, which is a beautiful prayer on rosary beads. It can easily be said in about seven minutes. We know as moms and as women that three o’clock can be a tough time. [But it’s] a great time to hit your restart button, to pause and pray and focus on Jesus. I’ve found that even if I just unite my sacrifices [with Christ] during that day and say, ‘Jesus, I trust in you,’ my day will go far better than I ever hoped. …

“At the end of the day, when I’m getting ready to turn off my light, I count my blessings. [When you see] everything God is giving you, you’re going to find joy. Because that’s what this is about—finding joy in your ability to be a woman of God.”

(For more information or to order the book, log on to www.divinemercyformoms.com. To order the book by phone, call 888-412-2775.)


Excerpts from Anthony Mullen’s two talks on the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary movement

The Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary movement stems from the messages received from Christ and the Blessed Mother to a Hungarian woman named Elizabeth Kindelmann, wo lived from 1913-1985. The messages were recorded in a diary, which received the imprimatur of Cardinal Peter Erdo of Hungary in 2009, at which time the movement also received the cardinal’s blessing.

“Our Lord [and Lady] spoke to Elizabeth Kindelmann from 1961-66, and then intermittently from 1967-81. She kept a diary, fully vetted by the Church for many, many years before it was finally approved [in 2009]. …

“Here’s what our Lord told Elizabeth Kindelmann: ‘I can compare this torrential flood of grace to the first Pentecost. It will submerge the Earth by the power of the Holy Spirit. … There is coming a torrential flow of the flame of love of my most holy Mother. … Trust, inflamed by faith, will finally take root in souls, and the face of the Earth will be renewed. For never has such a flow of grace been given since the Word became flesh.’ …

“Cardinal Peter Erdo said, on approval of this grace: ‘In a given moment in history, there appears in the Church something beautiful, a new possibility for the entire Church. I believe this to be true of the Flame of Love Movement of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’ …

“The Lord said to [Kindelmann], ‘I would suffer death on the cross again for each person, even suffering 1,000 times more, since there is no hope for a damned soul. Prevent this. With your burning desire, save souls. … Oh, how can I wake you up? Open your eyes and see this deadly danger of Satan claiming victims all around you, which threaten even your own soul.’ …

“Mary said, ‘My love, which is spreading, will overcome this satanic hatred that now contaminates the world. … This is my greatest miracle, which I am accomplishing for all.’

“Our Lady and our Lord asked Elizabeth for a very special prayer to spread the effects of grace from the flame over all of humanity. She asked us that we add it at the end of the Hail Mary: ‘ … Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, spread the effect of grace of thy flame of love over all humanity, now and at the hour of our death.’ This has been fully blessed and approved by the Church. …

“There are a number of exercises that God asks in addition to praying this [added-on-to] rosary. He asks us to honor his wounds by making the sign of the cross five times. … Wear the brown scapular or miraculous medal. Go to Mass on the first Saturday of every month.

“Make the consecration to Mary. 33 Days to Morning Glory [by Marians of the Immaculate Conception Father Michael Gaitley] is one of the best ways to make the consecration. If you have made the consecration, I urge you to renew it. If you haven’t, I urge you to make it. It will change your life—especially if you live it and renew it every day. It’s simply living the Catholic life as we were meant to live it. … It provides the grace to let us perfectly and radically imitate Jesus Christ, to set out to be a saint, to imitate Christ through the grace of Mary. …

“Say the rosary every day—no exceptions—because the rosary is a weapon. …

“No longer shop on Sunday. No longer eat out on Sunday. No longer watch sports on Sunday because we’re paying people to break the Sabbath.

“[Per Kindelmann’s diary], our Lord asks that you fast from breakfast and lunch on Monday, Thursday and Friday. Just eat bread and water. …

“On May 13, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI said, ‘Our Blessed Mother came to Fatima offering to implant in the heart of all those who trust in her the love of God burning in her heart.’ That is the flame of love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He then goes on to say, ‘May the seven years which separate us from the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparition hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the glory of the most holy trinity.’ …

“Our Lord said to St. Faustina, and he said something very similar to Elizabeth Kindelmann: ‘How painful it is that souls so seldom unite themselves to me in holy Communion. I wait for souls, and they’re indifferent toward me. I love them tenderly and sincerely, and they distrust me. I want to lavish my graces upon them in holy Communion, and they do not accept them. They treat me as a dead object in holy Communion, whereas my heart is so full of love and mercy.’

“The incredible love Mary had for her Son, she now wants to place in our hearts.

“Take up this grace. Read two pages of the [abbreviated diary, The Flame of Love] a day. Start with two people in a prayer group using the prayer cenacle sheet from www.FlameOfLove.us. Then start sharing with your friends and family. Start by just fasting one meal a week—Monday at breakfast, have bread and water. You will become one of Mary’s little souls, and your reward will be so great in heaven you can’t imagine.”

(For more information on the Flame of Love movement, its Church approval, Elizabeth Kindelmann and the messages she received as recorded in her diary. log on to www.flameoflove.us, or call 718-309-6126.)


Excerpts from the talk of Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Father James Blount

“Joy is not a nicety—joy is a necessity. In these days, the way Satan is working now, he’s leaving despair and depression everywhere. In our day, that fruit of the Holy Spirit we call joy is more necessary than any other time in this world. …

“When you praise the Lord, you’re happy. It brings you joy. We must become children of praise. … Find a reason to praise the Lord, because he is all around us.

“But how can you praise the Lord when you have anger in your heart? … People will ask me, ‘How do I know if I’ve really forgiven [someone]?’

“To forgive people even of the most serious things, the first step is to forgive with an act of the will. This is a decision, regardless of feelings or emotion. So you would say for instance, ‘I forgive you—say their name here—in the name of Jesus Christ, now and forever.’ …

“Next, you must ask Jesus not just to bless them, but to bless them even more than he blesses you! You must wish joy for that person for the rest of this life and in the next. Ask God to give them what they need to be genuinely happy and fulfilled. Ask God to bless them richly in the name of Jesus Christ. …

“The third step of forgiveness is to give thanksgiving to God for healing your wounds. For our forgiveness and healing to be deeper and more complete, we must realize that the hurt happened in God’s providence, and has truly been used by him for your complete healing.

“Give thanksgiving that, through your suffering, you’ve learned much more about yourself, and about life, and about love. God uses your pain to teach humility and dependence on him alone. We must even thank the offender, in prayer, for being God’s instrument in sanctifying you. We must say, ‘I thank you, Lord, and I thank you—say their name here—for the wound that heals.’ …

“Finally, we must offer praise to our Lord himself. Nothing and no one could have hurt me if God had not permitted it for my good. He is the all-loving, divine physician who, for my good and eternal salvation, even at the risk of losing my favor, allowed me to be hurt—as he allowed his Son to be hurt—that the destructive tendencies toward sin and pride and darkness within me might be challenged and crushed, that I might reach up to him in my suffering and my littleness and begin to experience a life of light, hope and blessedness of joy.

“By praising him, we return the wounds to God, the source of all that is good in our lives. This completes our forgiveness and brings us into perfect acceptance of God’s holy will. We must say, ‘I praise you, Lord, and I glorify you for your heavenly plan that is saving me and leading me to perfect joy.’ ”


(Victoria Arthur is a freelance writer and member of St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg.)

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