Casual lunches and dinners are entrée to faith for women

Women are invited to dine with their female friends and family and learn their importance in evangelizing the Catholic faith at the upcoming “Women, WINE and Wisdom” events in Metairie and on the Northshore.

Sponsored by the nonprofit WINE (Women In the New Evangelization), these lunch or dinner events offer tools to help busy women deepen and share faith.

Women, WINE and Wisdom is a “way to gather women in between the mountaintop experience of a WINE conference,” said Karen Sheehy, a WINE member from Mandeville. 

“Women gather, get fed and enjoy a night out for faith and fun” with WINE founder Kelly Wahlquist “discussing the beauty of the feminine design and how we are perfectly designed to heal the body of Christ and feed the women already doing this.”
Sheehy thinks the “limited time” nature of a lunch or dinner is especially attractive to working women and moms with busy schedules.
“Women are hungry and want to be fed but are busy mothers,” she said.

“A one-night-out event with friends, they can commit to; a 24-week Bible study, they can’t.” 

Now in third year
Wahlquist started WINE in response to Pope Francis’ call “for a deeper more profound theology for women.” That first WINE conference, held in Minnesota, was sold out with 1,000 women attending. Approximately 1,200 women attended the third annual conference in Minnesota, said Sheehy. WINE also offers book clubs and online resources.
In October 2016, New Orleans became the second major city to host a women’s conference when it organized one at Archbishop Rummel High in Metairie. Philadelphia will offer another in October, with Florida and Colorado also prepared to launch conferences soon, Sheehy said.
A local WINE member involved Sheehy in the 2016 local conference, and she’s since accessed WINE’s extensive online resources (womenin and connected to women nationwide. During Lent, she joined an online book club with more than 5,000 women, and she’s registered for WINE’s pilgrimage “Wine & Shrine” to Italy in November walking the footsteps of female saints.
Sheehy said WINE’s online book club “Read Between the Wines” sparked local book clubs using Wahlquist’s book, “Created to Relate,” and other WINE books written by members. Each has a journal.
“The online resources are wonderful,” she said. “It’s a huge network of women, reaching women wherever they are. … If you can’t get together (in person) with other women, you can online.”
WINE emphasizes a sisterhood of women who  support each other’s God-given gifts and share Scripture and prayer.
“I have seen how it can empower women,” Sheehy said. “It facilitates current ministries and starts new ones and may help women looking for a way to come into the faith.”
To spark new or existing book clubs, Sheehy is conducting free, follow-up book club meetings Aug. 8, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at the Northshore Catholic Center, 4465 East Hwy. 190 Service Road, Covington; and Aug. 22, same times, at St. Catherine of Siena’s Melancon Center in Metairie.
“What I think will happen, women will come and we will have roundtable discussions and maybe they will feel comfortable starting a book club at home or in a parish,” she said. 
Sheehy sees the growth of WINE resulting in one or two “Women, WINE and Wisdom” events annually, follow-up books clubs and with national conventions every other year.
“In the small gatherings (like WINE), women find what they are looking for: God, companionship and support,” Sheehy said. “One of the big things in WINE – utilizing your giftedness as women to evangelize. The movement is designed to meet you where you are and make you feel like you can do whatever you are called to do.“
For Sheehy who is active in parish life at Mary Queen of Peace Parish in Mandeville as a Bible study facilitator, Scout leader, among other ministries, WINE has nudged her faith life beyond the parish. She is working on a master’s in theology from the University of Holy Cross, is a certified faith companion and hopes to become a spiritual director.
“What I am seeing out there is filling me with so much hope. There are women out there who are hungry and want to connect, and the movement is filling me with joy and inspiring me to continue to evangelize. … The Lord brought WINE in my life, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. The Lord is opening doors and telling me to go through them.”
Christine Bordelon can be reached at

► What: Lunch or dinner for women with prayer, song, complimentary wine tasting, dessert

► When/Where: June 13: lunch, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Fleur De Lis Center, 1645 North Causeway Blvd., Mandeville; dinner, 6-8:30 p.m., Impastato Cellars, 240 Hwy. 22 East, Madisonville, Louisiana. June 14: lunch, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; dinner 6-8:30 p.m. Andrea’s Restaurant, 3100 19th St., Metairie.

► Featured speaker: Kelly Wahlquist, a Catholic author, speaker, director for the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute, contributor, WINE founder.

► REGISTRATION:, or call (985) 249-9258.

► COST: $35 a person for lunch; $45 a person for dinner.  

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