Women, Sex, and Empowerment Summit
Friday, October 2, 2020

God created your sexuality, but only Cosmo is talking about it...

We want to change that.

Join the Summit here.

Whether you're single...

and struggling with sex before marriage

where to start learning about NFP before you're engaged

how to navigate conversations on modesty

how to think about fertility awareness as a reproductive justice issue

or generally wondering about Theology of the Body from a feminist (and faithful) perspective

Or you're married...

and struggling not to feel shame around your sexuality

or how to have more intimacy in your relationship

or with pain or other physical challenges during sex

or with your own or your spouse's porn use

or how to talk to younger women about female sexual empowerment, through a Catholic lens

You are not alone.

Join the Summit here.

The purpose of this summit is to kickstart a conversation among Catholic women in the FemCatholic Community around sexuality, from a perspective centering women’s experiences and working to reconcile with the teachings of our Catholic faith.

Women struggle with a variety of sex-related issues, be they physical, emotional, or intellectual. While secular resources on sex abound, there are few Catholic ones, and we want to help fill that gap. We hope this summit with be a starting point for conversation and learning, together. We want women to walk away empowered with a perspective on their sexuality that is both pro-woman and Catholic, and more tools and encouragement to live it out in their own lives, along with a community of support for the journey.

Join the Summit here.

Meet the Summit Speakers:

In this talk we will evaluate the harm that mainstream purity narratives can cause when they are not phrased within a holistic nature of working to understand and embrace the gift of female sexuality. Together we will break down ways in which we as women can stand with each other, and build conversations of holy and healthy conversations of female sexuality and its impact on our everyday lives.  

About the Speaker

Vanesa Zuleta Goldberg has worked in youth ministers for 13 years - as a youth minister, Franciscan Youth Volunteer, worship leader, and speaker. She received her Bachelors in Theology at Providence College concentrating on the gift that young people are to the Church, and she continued to develop that thought while getting her Masters in Theology and Ministry from Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. From talking about relationships, understanding sex as healthy and holy, coffee vs. wine, Beyonce’s newest album, and Gods role in our entire lives, Vanesa hopes to provide the space that empowers a relationship with Christ within on-going conversions.

Join the Summit here.

A pelvic PT’s perspective on issues with sex that are common but not normal from newlywed to post partum.  

About the Speaker

Dr. Chelsea is a beloved daughter of the Father, wife to one hunk of a man, and mother to 2 little boys. She owns a pelvic PT practice called Dallas Pelvic Health in Dallas, TX where she specializes in treating prenatal and postpartum women.  

Join the Summit here.


In Love and Responsibility, St. John Paul II explored a metaphysics of shame. Shame has a dual purpose for the human person - positive and negative. This talk will explore shame and how it relates to the woman, how we can learn to embrace and overcome shame especially within conjugal love.

About the Speaker

Rachel Bulman is a wife, mother, author, and speaker. You can find a lot of her writing on the Word on Fire blog and CatholicMom.com. She lives in central Florida with her family, and her first book “Becoming Wife: Self-Gift in Matrimony” will be published with Our Sunday Visitor in 2021.

Join the Summit here.

We have a right to understand our bodies and our health. And yet for far too long, women seeking understanding of their cycles, fertility challenges, and general reproductive healthcare have been dismissed, ignored, or simply given birth control as the first and often only line of defense. This talk will explore the Black feminist theory of reproductive justice, explaining why Fertility Awareness Based Methods are vital to empowering women to not only make informed decisions about their healthcare, but also claiming their right to self-knowledge across the spectrum of their lives.

About the Speaker

Rebecca Christian, CPD, CLEC is a writer, doula, and lactation counselor living in San Diego, CA. She loves all things related to filmmaking, birth, and wellness. Having served over 100 families over 4 years, she has walked with women facing every type of reproductive health outcome, and is especially passionate about improving maternal health disparities, empowering women’s healthcare decisions, and building a culture of life rooted in reproductive justice. Her doula practice can be found at Fiatdoulaservices.com and on IG @fiatdoula.

Join the Summit here.

FABM is short for Fertility Awareness Based Method; and the modern methods of fertility awareness are founded in the science of how a woman’s body works.  Changes in a woman's monthly cycle are a reflection of her health and wellbeing, but as women we have lost touch with our own bodies and no longer know how to listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us!  Learn about some of the basics of FABM’s and what you can see and learn from charting one’s cycle besides just “when can/can’t I get pregnant!"

About the Speaker

Lisa Jurski discovered the Creighton Model and FertilityCare by happenstance in 2003.  She and her husband went through the year-long learning process together and came out the other side with a new and better appreciation for fertility.  Although she loved the method, she was disappointed that she hadn’t heard about it 10 years earlier!  This inspired her to want to bring the Creighton Model System (CrMS) to a wider audience in Chicago.  She felt very strongly that this information was critical for women to understand to be able to make well-informed decisions related to their overall reproductive health and fertility.  She finally was able to go through the training to become a Certified FertilityCare Practitioner starting in 2009.  11 years later she has taught over 750 women and couples how to chart and use CrMS.  Personally, she and her husband have used the method in all of its capacities:  to postpone pregnancy for the first 7 years, to achieve pregnancy (living proof that 76% of couples of normal fertility achieve in the first cycle of “trying”), and to address the underlying causes of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss.

Join the Summit here.

John Paul II's Theology of the Body has often been approached as "the chastity teaching of the Church" which was never its intention. If we look carefully at his proposed anthropology, we will find his rigorous commitment to mutuality, reciprocity, and communion. This talk will ask what does it mean to be created "for her own sake," and how does John Paul II repeatedly emphasize that women and men are each a whole expression of God's image and love, through sameness and differences?

About the Speaker

"Christine Falk Dalessio, Ph.D., holds a doctoral degree in Catholic theology. As a theologian, she focuses on questions of anthropology, personalist feminism, unity and beauty. Her publications include “Filled with Prophecy: The Revelatory and Representational Aspects of the Prophetism of the Body in the Mystery of Male-Female Embodiment"" in  Listening Journal and “The Feminism, Prophetic Bodies and Freedom” in Woman as Prophet in the Home and the World: Interdisciplinary Investigations. A NJ native, she currently resides in Ohio with her husband Mike and cats Benny and Frankie, named for the popes."

Join the Summit here.

So much of the Church’s teaching on the beauty of sexuality is transformational.  The teachings on why sex is reserved for marriage, how contraception can harm our bodies and our marriages, what the Theology of the Body is or how to practice Natural Family Planning all have the potential to unlock the possibilities of increased grace, goodness, and joy in our lives.  But are these teachings accessible to all the faithful?  What cultural, economic, educational, and familial aspects of her faithful is the Church failing to consider, and could these teachings reach a great many more if a more inclusive approach was employed? 

About the Speaker

Alissa loves being a wife and mom.  Her family of seven lives just outside of Austin, Texas where in-between packing lunches and finding matching socks, she thinks a lot about how to become a saint by loving well.  Alissa is passionate about Catholic social teaching, public education, and building community.  She loves to connect with folks and does a lot of that as a co-host on the ecumenical podcast, Upside Down, host of her own 12 week podcast series, Universal Voices and through her FROM HERE online sessions where she offers Catholic content designed to help us all keep going from here.

Join the Summit here.

Did you know that you can equally objectify a woman's body through telling her to cover up every inch? Hyper modesty feeds into the same problem we're trying to fight against -- that a woman's body is made to be consumed. As a result, we've fallen into the same trap that the secular world has fallen into, just on the opposite extreme. "Modesty culture" has resulted in women seeing their bodies as inherently shameful, vehicles for trapping men in lust. In an effort to completely avoid temptation, women have overcompensated by intentionally dressing in frumpy clothes that not only hide their bodies but also their God-given beauty. In this talk, I will go over my experiences within hyper modesty culture. I will also talk about my experience with Theology of the Body and how it helped me to pay reverence to the body without throwing out feminine sexuality and beauty. I will also talk about how women have been given the special gift of feminine beauty and how the errors of modesty culture have led us to reject this important gift. I will also talk about how we should change our approach and mindset to modesty, including changing the very word "modesty" itself to a term that truly reflects the Catholic teaching behind a woman's beauty, body, and sexuality.

About the Speaker

Lillian Fallon is a freelance style writer in Philadelphia. Previously working as the style editor at Verily Magazine, Lillian is passionate about exploring the connection between the physical and interior of the human person as seen through personal style. Believing that sartorial choices can dignify the body and aid in the expression of the soul, Lillian draws from St. Pope John Paul II's Theology of The Body as her primary source of inspiration.   

Join the Summit here.

Who doesn’t know that emotional intimacy means a lot to women? It is the gateway to authentic connection and meaningful relationships. Believe it or not, it is also the gateway to more satisfying sex! In this presentation we will discuss why women and men get their wires crossed about emotional intimacy and what we can do about it. 

About the Speaker

Regina is the Founder of Boyd Counseling Services, a Catholic licensed mental health practice that provides in-person and virtual therapy for couples, families, and teens. She works with clients who are experiencing life changes, desire healthy emotional connection, and seek to develop problem solving strategies within their relationships. Regina is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor. She is a wife and mother of a delightful toddler. In her spare time Regina enjoys walks with her family, baking, going live for her Facebook and Instagram followers, and listening to Mumford and Sons.  

Join the Summit here.

What do I do if the man I love is addicted to porn? A painful, difficult question the Church does not speak about. In this talk, Patty will share her own experience of navigating this in a previous marriage. She will offer practical resources and tools for Catholic women to keep themselves safe and aware, as well as offer hope for relationships facing this struggle.

About the Speaker

Patty Breen has been working in lay ministry for over ten years and writes online for various publications including Verily, Blessed is She, and Catholic Match. A Midwestern girl from the Mitten state, Patty finds joy in running, strong cups of coffee, Ignatian spirituality, and writing. 
Having gone through a divorce as a young Catholic, Patty has a heart for speaking to and supporting divorced Catholics and women dealing with sexual addiction in their dating relationships. She is passionate about messy conversations at the intersection of faith, culture, and ministry.

Join the Summit here.

We often hear about saving ourselves for marriage when it comes to chastity talks, but that generally leaves out a large group of men and women whose first experiences with sex are either from some kind of sexual abuse or early exposure to pornography. The church has a unique opportunity to help young men and women all over the world fully enter into sexual healing that is desperately needed. This teaching goes beyond the messaging “save yourself for marriage,” which is often the primary or only part of chastity talks/education. We will dive into the life of someone who has a broken relationship with sex, whether through abuse, pornography addiction, or the hyper-sexualized influence of our culture. Then we will dive even deeper into the resources and steps it takes to enter into a sexual healing journey.    

About the Speaker

Hi, my name is Isabella Bryant. I am the President and Founder of Restore Love, a nonprofit whose mission is to give young women the community and resources that they need to start a healing journey from child sex abuse and compulsive pornography use. As someone who was a victim of child sex abuse and exposed to pornography before I had any real understanding of sex, sexual healing is something I am incredibly passionate about.

Join the Summit here.

My talk presents my journey with love, sexuality, and relationships and how I moved from doing what felt good and/or what I figured "everyone else was doing", to moving into a place of truly inviting Christ to be my hands, my heart, my eyes, my words, etc. Just as Teresa of Avila writes, "Christ has no body now but yours", I have come to find great peace, hope, and joy in invoking this prayer in my romantic life. I will share about how I came to a renewed sense of chastity, how my experiences with Jesus and the Sacraments intersected with that, how the 12 steps have influenced my faith and relationships, and how I practically live out love in action through Ignatian discernment. I will also connect my talk with my musical vocation and how my last EP Be My Hands was written as an arc of my journey with chastity and recovery. 

About the Speaker

Jessica Gerhardt is a Catholic feminist, singer-songwriter-ukuleleist, and artist with a passion for ministering to the marginalized, skeptical, and non-conformist. Her deeper personal conversion to faith took place, ironically, while attending one of the most atheist colleges in the country, and her background gives her a balanced worldview and well-rounded spirituality. With almost a decade of experience in youth ministry, she will say that if you had told her as a teen herself that she would grow up to work in youth ministry, she would have laughed in your face. Despite her initial reservations about this calling, Jessica found that her unconventional, vulnerable, and light-hearted approach to faith sharing endeared her to teens, parents, and adult core team members alike. In 2019, having worked in full-time parish ministry for over 8 years, Jessica discerned to step down from her role as a Director of Youth Ministry to pursue a career as a freelance musician, worship leader, artist, and speaker. Jessica has released her music on all platforms, performed on tour across the country, and has continued to serve in a number of ministry capacities.

Join the Summit here.

Women receive messages from childhood on what it means to be a female in this world. Some of us are victims of sexual abuse as children who then go on to be wives and/or mothers. The search to know what love, safety and sex all mean in the light of motherhood and marriage as we work through all these messages is not easy and we are often left alone to figure it out through trial and error. I hope some of my own lessons are helpful for other women. 

About the Speaker

Leticia Ochoa Adams is a 43 year old wife, mother, grandmother and lover of her family’s three pit bulls. She is a born and raised Texan. She is Hispanic, Catholic, Whole Life, anti-racist and is dedicated to helping people make space in their lives for their own grief or for the grief of those they love. She speaks and writes on parenting, her Catholic faith, learning how to process childhood trauma and suicide loss.

She lived the worst day of her life the day that her oldest son Anthony died by suicide, and honors his life by telling people about him and helping others who have also suffered a huge loss. 

Because she has lived that day and survived, she is no longer scared of anything except not showing up as her full self.

You can find out more about her at leticiaoadams.com

Join the Summit here.

As Catholic women we understand that the Church teaches the importance of sex in marriage. We also believe that sex has the two major purposes to be both unitive and procreative. What happens to a women’s sexuality when the marital union can no longer be procreative?

About the Speaker

Liv is known for being a professional speaker and emcee with a gift for humor, storytelling, and wisdom. People are her passion. She connects with everyone from junior high students to seasoned adults. Liv was the 2018 Host/Emcee to hundreds of Catholic youth at the Austin music festival, Godstock. Her work in marriage ministry keeps her connected with couples around Texas. Not only has Liv spoken all over Texas, but she has also spoken across the nation. She serves with the Junior League of The Woodlands as an active leader who often speaks to the 500 members. In May 2019, Liv successfully wrote, launched, and emceed the Genius Women’s Conference outside of Austin, TX. In March 2020, the unique Genius Women’s Conference launched in Dallas. Liv serves as President on the Executive Board of The Genius Collective; a non-profit that is in its final stages of development. Liv is currently a co-host on the award-winning Forte Catholic podcast and the Theology of the Body Institute Discerning Marriage podcast. On June 1, 2020, Liv launched her own interview-based podcast titled Talk to Me with Liv Harrison. Lastly, she has been a frequent voice on Sirius XM and various other podcast programs both as a guest and as a co-host. July 2020, Liv hosted her own 1 hour live special on Sirius XM. She is married to her high school sweetheart and the mother of two.  

Join the Summit here.

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