Here's how it all began. The idea for Women of Peace was born around a dining room table. Well, that's not too surprising is it? Women gathered in a place of intimacy--breaking bread by sharing hearts and minds. That was the spring of 2000. Friends of mine were discussing scriptures, but the conversation shifted to issues of anxiety and depression. One friend after the other began to open up and share about the hard times they were having. We really took our masks off that day--that memorable day. Pure raw honesty charged the atmosphere. And then they asked me, "Have you experienced that? Bet not!" But I told them so much so that I had been going through a 15-week program called "Attacking Anxiety".

A bitter cold winter had set inside me in '99--a season of anxiety such as I had never known before. With the little strength I had left, I was fighting it. I had become a principal in the public school system for two years and I was worn down by the appalling violence not just among students, but between teachers as well. You know, violence isn't just physical; it's in the tongue--the words so unkind and malicious born of hidden issues that can be within human beings.

At the dining room table that day, my friends asked me if I would share what I was learning. Thus began a pondering within me of how to do that. I took it before our Lord in adoration, exposed in the Blessed Sacrament, asking for His wisdom and direction. In His emanating presence there, I was impressed with many ideas of how to share this with my friends.

Listening carefully with the ear of my heart, praying for obedience and a brave heart to follow the Spirit's lead, strong instructions came concretely clear-- "hold the first Women of Peace workshop on Sept. 15, 2001 on the Solemnity of Our Lady of Sorrows at the Convent of Our Sorrowful Mothers".

So I did just that! And sorrowful mothers we were that day. Only four days after 9/11, we were never more full of anxiety. The whole nation was grieved by the horrific violence and tragedy we had just witnessed days before. As the presenter of the Women of Peace workshop, I could hardly speak at times with so many broken hearts in the room. The divinely orchestrated moments of that poignant day were indelibly impressed on my heart forever.

In our grief and confusion we received consolation and clarity. As our minds listened to those timely messages, we received life in greater measure and truth that truly set us free. So this is the same hope I have for you, my friend. May you too receive greater life and truth as you come to this place set apart for pondering peace--for becoming a woman of peace.