A week ago I returned from St. Louis for the 2015 Saint Louis Marian Conference, Jan 9 – 11. The conference was entitled after my debut novel, A Hunger in the Heart. Amazing! In fact, the entire conference, where I gave a presentation to over 800 people of all ages at the Hilton St. Louis at The Ball Park Hotel, was amazing. If you’d told me a few years ago that I could speak to that many people without fear, I wouldn’t have believed it.
But my talk was very well received and I sold plenty of books, both A Hunger in the Heart and Birds of a Feather. I was surprised, too, at how many people who’d already read A Hunger in the Heart wanted to know when/if a sequel will be out, including Father James Kubicki, S.J, of the Apostleship of Prayer who’d read it on Kindle! So, I’m working hard on getting out the sequel.
My table was set up between Fr. Kubicki and Dale Ahlquist,President of the American Chesterton Society, creator and host of the EWTN series “G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense,” and Publisher of Gilbert Magazine. Both, very nice men as were all the other presenters. Father Charles Becker, Archdiocese of Chicago and the conference MC, was quite complimentary in his address to the audience after I left the podium. All this was so gratifying!
The Marian Conference was begun sixteen years ago by Elinor Finneran who had visited Medjugorje, and while there, felt called to initiate a conference in honor of The Blessed Virgin. The conference has been attended over the years by thousands of people. Many are families who repeat their visits to St. Louis year after year. And the presenters are always wonderful priests, bishops, and lay people. One of my favorites was Annie Karto, a singer songwriter, who for the conference had composed and then sang a lovely, new song: A Hungry Heart. Can you imagine how touched I was when she dedicated it to Elinor–and me! Maybe the song will soon be on her page. http://www.amazon.com/Annie-Karto/e/B001LH0T48
You might wonder how the whole thing came about. I believe God lead me to it. Last year, I gave a Mother’s Retreat at Christ the King Cathedral in Atlanta, and the day after had a book signing at Eagle Eye Books in Decatur. A friend of mine brought Elinor’s daughter, Denise to the signing. At that time, I was giving away little phosphorescent statues of Mary since the little statue is somewhat of a main character in my novel. So I gave one of them to Denise. She mentioned it to her mother, Elinor. When her mother wrote to ask me not only if I would talk at the conference, but also asked if she might use the title of my book as the title of the conference–well, I knew that God had a hand in it all.
But isn’t this the way God works? He surprises us with good things, and often we don’t even notice or give Him any credit at all. Maybe we should re-examine all the surprising good things that have happened in our lives to see a divine hand in them, and then give God the credit. He truly overshadows anything we can do on our own!