Edelettes de Louisiane
This weekend I attended a women’s event co-founded by Jennifer Fulwiler and Hallie Lord called the Edel Gathering. The people in my life had a lot of questions.
What is an edel?
Named for the gathering’s patroness Venerable Edel Quinn (P.S. Has anyone else ever noticed that the word patroness looks a lot like patronus?) According to Jennifer Fulwiler’s radio interview with my boss, the name “Catholic Lady Gathering” was too lame and the “Catholic Ladies Boozing It Up Gathering” URL was too long… Also, it is pronounced “Adele.”
Hermione’s Patroness is an Edel. Image: Harry Potter Wiki
Who is Edel Quinn?
Venerable Edel Mary Quinn (September 14, 1907 – May 12, 1944) was an Irish lay missionary who died at the age of 36. According to co-founder Hallie Lord, the patroness was selected because of a miraculous story told about Edel. A despondent mother of five, struggling with the realities of being a mother of five, came to a bridge one day–ready to jump! Edel Quinn appeared to her and stopped her from ending it all, making her a very fitting patroness for 300 exhausted overachievers.
Hello. It’s NOT me. Image: Adele
What happens at an Edel Gathering?
Laughing, crying, drinking, shopping, karaoke, dancing, tribe-building… casual.
That sounds like a party not a Catholic women’s conference. How does that bring women closer to holiness?
Being surrounded by that much authenticity, affirmation, and alcohol has an effect on a person. In a culture where we’re starving for connection IRL, the Edel Gathering puts 300 women in the same room to do just that–connect!
Besides, it is super biblical… Mary travelled not only to share her good news about Jesus, but to be with Elizabeth in her time of need (miraculous pregnancies are awesome but I would imagine very stressful!) Mary also thought there should be more wine. Further, Jesus often went away to pray, to prepare his heart for his ministry, to be refreshed–He went to the desert… we went to the dessert bar. Very close.
But really… was there any spiritual content?
Where two or more are gathered, amiright? Many of the women in attendance are active in the Catholic blogosphere… which means they spend their free time and professional time being vulnerable! It was a vulnerability festival–there is something freeing about being with 300 strangers that enables you to share authentically. The speakers set an excellent example by sharing with incredible humility their struggles and triumphs. Bonus: All of the blog fangirls took selfies to their hearts delight! #livingthedream
What about this crazy shoe contest?
No comment. But speaking on behalf the delegates from the state of Louisiana, we were robbed…
Image: Shorty had them Boots with the Moss Fur… Delcambre Reeboks with the strap…
Isn’t it just a bunch of crazy married women who have 4.3 kids + a husband who grows vegetables and a friar-esque beard in his free time?
No! There were some single gals–including one of the speakers! So despite the twit I read about it being an annual gathering of smug married women… you’re so wrong! They weren’t all married. And 0% smug. They did buy a lot of mugs. Maybe that was a twitter typo…
This will sound weird… checking instagram the day after the event. Everyone’s pictures of whatever they were coming home to… kids, blank computer screens, deadlines, family, a Geaux Conference in 5 days, and seeing the JOY and REFRESHMENT with which the Edelettes were posting! It was beautiful. (IG: @askauntkatie)
Guy friend question: So you just sat around the pool all day in your free time, read, relaxed, drink in hand, and the rest of the time you got to know everyday women that just inspired you to be brave, throw yourself into the arms of the Father with radical trust and dependence, and serve the world with the best of your gifts and talents because there is no end to what you can do when you trust God?
Girlfriend question: What was it like really?
It was one of the most intimidating experiences of my life… the enemy loves to play on our insecurities (while it applies to both men and women, there is something unique about lady insecurity). Regardless of how many 100s of people I have spoken in front of, how many 1000s of words I write weekly, how willing I am to share my life with my students, co-workers, friends, frenemies, gentleman callers… despite being one of the more confident women that you’ll meet, I was so nervous:
“What if no one wants to talk to me?”
“What if people think I’m weird?”
“What if people think I’m annoying? Obnoxious?”
“What if they don’t think I’m funny?”
“What if all they do is talk about their children? Am I going to feel like a big weirdo for being single?”
“What if I’m not worthy to be at this event with these successful Catholic women? Holy women… who probably pray… all of the time? With their perfect journals and hot tea and organic paleo cookies from their zucchini pallet gardens?”
But the Lord did something amazing with that anxiety. He inspired me to wear my Alta Gracia UL Lafayette shirt and just smile. A group of Louisiana women I did not know saw me and claimed me for their own. What I discovered was that those questions rooted in the lies of insecurity are… LIES! I’m a delight. The enemy wants to make us forget that all of the time.
Never forget who you are. The Lord delights in you… why would 300 Catholic Women who love the Lord not delight in you as well? Especially if they’ve been drinking…
Girlfriend follow up: Would you go back?
Yes, m’am, and you’re coming with me!!
Thank you to Jen & Hallie and all of the speakers, to volunteers, husbands, bosses, and families that made the trip possible, and to the EDELETTES!! Congratulations on saying yes to self care, yes to being brave, and yes to being the daughter of God that you are. You are a joy… and thank you Jesus.
This post was originally published on TheCatholicOutpost.com on August 7, 2017.