Tell us about your Action Plan.

The GIVEN Forum is unlike anything offered to Catholic women. The Forum is meant to help young Catholic leaders take action within our Church.

“I wrote a curriculum for a theater class for my local Catholic young adult group.”

“My action plan was called The Change Purse. I collected handbags, toiletries, and winter things to be distributed to women in need in NYC. Each handbag was filled with the toiletries and something warm to wear. They were then distributed to five organizations throughout NYC to be given to women in need. The response from the project was so great that each location also received one or two large containers of extra toiletries, in addition to the stuffed bags.”

“My action plan consisted of writing a workbook, entitled An Encounter with Beauty, for my 8th Grade students. Ee examined what beauty is and how it is manifested to us through different ways: art, music, literature, nature, architecture, the Church, and ultimately, our relationship with Christ. We read excerpts from the writings of Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict on Beauty.”

“My action plan was to do a 5-week program on praying with art, particularly on the theme of the feminine genius. And from that, God has opened doors for us to become an organization and provide programs for others to do the program. Since then, we have printed one volume (another coming out this month), and have been in multiple parishes throughout the US. We will be doing our third round of “Visio Divina” at the same parish I started at. We have a social media community to help women to pray beyond meetings (, a blog, and we also do workshops on how to pray with art. We have a strong desire to help women know of their value by praying with art and receive healing after abortion- and so we are striving to reach out to organizations about this.”

“My action plan was proposed with a friend (Julia Ennen) regarding and NFP website. For all intents and purposes, we met the goals and did a soft launch of our website by the GIVEN deadlines in place. However, I have been working on the website since that time in refining content, working with providers and practitioners, hosting usability testing groups, and refining content with a team of women. The website is a “one stop shop” for NFP resources and covers the basics of reproductive health, concerns, and cycle information. It explains methods available, phone apps that have been tested through research that are credible to utilize for tracking, resources, and research (identifying the importance of understanding what it means by “evidence-based”). The website is currently in its final stages for full launch on Thursday, July 12th, the Feast Day of Sts. Louis & Zelie Martin. I recently interviewed with Claire Swinarski about the project and the episode about it will go live on The Catholic Feminist podcast on Wednesday, July 25th – the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. The Holy Spirit has been in all of this through the people provided to review and offer help, graphic designer, launch dates. It has been an incredible journey so far!”

How did the GIVEN Forum accelerate your plans?

“I think there’s so much listening and learning that happens at the GIVEN Forum. Even if you have an idea beforehand it’s likely to change so many times. Reflection during and after the actual event was key in helping me develop my action plan.

At the Forum, my action plan morphed and changed as I brainstormed with other women, bounced ideas off them, and found new inspiration. I had a vague idea before the Forum, but the Forum itself helped shape my action plan. I left with something pretty different than what I came with.”

“We received so many resources/ideas/opportunities to network at the GIVEN Forum, and because of this, I know that many of us actually changed our action plans.
My action plan changed a lot. I think it can be very intimidating to have to create an action plan when you don’t even know what the Lord will put on your heart yet. If someone already has an idea that’s awesome, but I still got a lot out of given and it’s impacted a lot of areas of my life and now others’ lives even though I didn’t really have a solid plan.”

“The GIVEN Forum was a good place to develop action plan ideas and be given good advice in how to launch it.”

“I think the many great things that I learned during the GIVEN Forum from the speakers and trainings and conversations with other attendees would have been helpful in starting to discern the best action plan. The Forum was a great place for ideas and brainstorming and networking and learning more about myself, and therefore I probably should have used more time to think/pray about how my gifts could be best utilized in an action plan.”

“It was good for me to have thoughts going in my mind before I even got to the GIVEN Forum about what I would like to do, but then things changed during and after GIVEN that affected my plan.”

If you are just getting started in your career. Tell us about how the GIVEN Forum helped you in this new chapter of your life.

“I attended GIVEN as a recent undergrad graduate, not really knowing what I wanted to do. I hoped that GIVEN would give me some inspiration on career paths and interests for Catholic women. I ended up learning of my current graduate school program through a fellow attendee and inspired by other women who were in ministry work. I see GIVEN as the catalyst that led to my decision to get a Masters in Theology and pursue ministry work.”

“Gave me a stronger sense of who I was as a daughter of God and how I am called to bring that purpose and light into everything I do, including my work.”

“GIVEN prepared me for professional work, for speaking and presentation skills, for networking and collaborative teamwork… Truthfully, it’s greatest impact isn’t in any of the relevant professional skills taught there per se, but in GIVEN’s tremendous gift of supporting my growth as a whole person (spiritual, professional, psychological, etc.), what the Jesuits call cura personalis, that prepared and encouraged me to pursue my academic and professional goals with greater openness to God’s will and cooperation with His providence.”

“I was in the process of applying to medical school at that point, and I honestly think I got some discouraging advice about the possibility of having kids while working as a doctor. I have since found some Catholic women mentors who have been more helpful in illuminating how it is possible to work part time as a doctor, which subspecialties to consider, etc. that has been more encouraging. And I am loving med school and pretty involved with the Catholic Medical Association!”

“I converted to Catholicism after completing an MDiv in a Protestant tradition. I could not find employment after I converted, and I wondered if I’d made a terrible mistake. GIVEN helped me persevere through that tumultuous time and find purpose in the harrowing existence of unemployment, where I could not find an avenue to use my college education in an employment setting, nor any of my spiritual gifts in a newfound religious tradition of Catholicism.”

“For most of my adult life I have struggled with what to make of the reality of being called to be a wife and mother (when I attended Given I was pregnant with my third) and a sense of vocation to the intellectual life and how these two callings may be lived out well. I think the witness of other Catholic women – Erica Bachiochi & Kim Daniels- who have larger families and also serve the Church with their intellects was very edifying and helpful in my personal discernment.”