Get to know our advisory board of Spirit-filled people we go to for prayer... and conference assistance! Come along as we prepare to serve you.
The Rev. Charles Smith was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Arlington in 2006. He has served at parishes including St. Veronica in Chantilly and St. Ambrose in Annandale, and currently is parochial vicar at St. Raymond of Penafort Catholic Church in Springfield. We are grateful to have him as the conference spiritual adviser.
Working with Father Smith, Joan Sheppard is responsible for the conference's liturgical elements. Joan serves as the Director of Faith Formation at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Alexandria. Joan answered the call to full-time Church ministry in the midst of a 23-year career in contracts and finance with a government contractor. In her current capacity, she leads the K-12 children’s programs, adult faith formation programming, and the initiation ministries for the parish. In 2016, Joan received her master of science in church management degree from Villanova University.
Karen Audant and her husband, Patrick, are empty nesters who often connect with the Lord in outdoor spaces (camping, running, hiking, and so on). Karen, who is passionate about education and instructional design, also finds grace places in activities such as ice skating and yoga. She and Patrick have a son and a daughter and live in Arlington, where they worship at St. Ann. Karen will design a light physical activity for conference attendees.
Erin Benbennick by day works in IT service management. She also is very involved in her parish, St. Thomas a Becket in Reston, in areas including the prayer shawl ministry, Adoration (with husband Dave), and Cursillo. Erin also works on honing her gift of storytelling through Toastmasters International and the Virginia Storytelling Alliance. At the conference, she helps Monica McBrady make everything beautiful and welcoming.
Emily Borman is editor in chief for Conversation with Women, where women anonymously share their stories of struggle, and ultimately joy, in living the Catholic faith regarding marriage, sexuality, chastity, and society. Emily is also a Master Catechist for the Diocese of Arlington. She and her husband, Bill, worship at Our Lady of Hope in Potomac Falls and are nearing an empty nest. Emily is responsible for working with conference exhibitors.
Small-group discussions, one of the most popular features of the 2016 conference, will be organized for the 2017 edition by two of our Maryland sisters in Christ. Rose Folsom is the owner of Virtue Connection, which helps people who are ready for spiritual growth become more patient, forgiving, and prayerful. Through Virtue Connection, Rose offers talks, retreats, and workshops to put tried-and-true virtues like self-control and generosity into practice in daily life. Rose and her family worship at St. Andrew Apostle in Silver Spring.
Carol Monaco is the writer-editor of Journey to Our Lady, a spiritual publication that helps readers develop a closer relationship with the Blessed Mother. Journey has readers across the country and aboard, including in Malta, the Philippines and Ireland. Carol also recently released Heavenly Mother Help Me: Prayers, Poetry, and Prose for Daily Living. She is a member of the World Apostolate of Fatima (USA) and Association Jeanne Jugan. She worships at Our Lady of Lourdes in Bethesda.