SLS18 Day Three Highlights

SLS18 Day Three Highlights

I love this life. I didn’t want to come to this conference, I didn’t think I needed to be at this conference, yet my son and my husband told me I had to be at SLS18 in Chicago.

So, here I am, writing a recap for my daughter, Rachel, who is a new FOCUS missionary (her training will be in the summer of 2018).

Okay, dearest daughter, so I woke up on Day Three, Thursday, January 4, 2018, totally refreshed, thanks to my kind friend allowing me to sleep in her room. The first thought of the day: Father Michael Gaitley.

You know how much I love this priest. He has renewed my love for the Catholic faith. He has invigorated my love of Divine Mercy. He has guided me to a deep consecration to Our Lady. When I found out he was going to be at SLS18, I asked Our Lady for the grace to be able to have several minutes alone with him so I could tell him the gift he has been in my life.


We had a gorgeous lunch for the benefactors. Curtis Martin spoke and WOWSA. He was unbelievably passionate and inspiring. Then another gentleman spoke but I wasn’t listening. I kept looking at the time.

I bugged out of there at 1:30, wanting to get into Father Gaitley’s talk. (The popular sessions fill up and close up!)

On the way to room 176 I ran into Fr. Bob Matya from UNL. I LOVED talking with him, since I knew him from way back from my college years, before he was a priest. (That’s the blessing of this conference…the people!)

I wanted to keep chatting but I was on a mission. I went down to the session and I could see it was packed. They began closing the doors. I had to beg my way in. I was literally the last person allowed into that room. Holy Hannah.

I got in, looked around and was accosted by Stephanie Armstrong. How I love Stephanie, the woman who discipled and built into you, strong daughter of mine.

We settled down for the talk.

Father Michael Gaitley:

Father began by explaining that he is in Writing Mode and didn’t want to take the time to come to this conference. He shared his powerful experience, of how the Holy Spirit had moved him and told him that he should go and what he should speak about.

“I have come to set the world on fire and I wish it were already blazing.” Luke 12:49.

There is much evil in the world but God is giving great grace right now to overcome the evil.

I thought of my ministry. We are engaging evil.

We need fire. Where do we get the fire? Father answered:

“Through an unlimited consecration to the Holy Spirit through Mary.”

And then he proceeded to blow me away with some of St. Maximilian Kolbe’s thoughts on the unity between the Holy Spirit and Mary.

Mary is the KEY to unleashing the Holy Spirit. He went deep into the theology, too deep to write about in this post. But Fr. Gaitley brought me face to face with the mystery. It was glorious.

“The love of the Holy Spirit wants to be made visible. Mary does that. As we draw closer to her, we make the Holy Spirit more visible.”

He urged us to give UNLIMITED consecration to the Holy Spirit through Mary, assuring us that we can never love her too much. We will never “out love” Jesus’s love of His mother.

Father confidently said that Mary is the best way to get the fire of the Holy Spirit because they are one.

He urged me to draw closer to her, closer than I’ve ever been before. “If you lead with her, you’ll see miracles. You will see wonders and miracles. You’ll see fire and you’ll become fire.”

As he spoke, I had the urge to have Father Gaitley bless our ministry. I sat there, overwhelmed with the urge. Now, I am a loud and boisterous person but I don’t go up to priests and say, “Bless me, bless me!” But I could not ignore the feeling so I said, “Mary, make that happen, too.” 

Father left the conference room and I went down the hall to the chapel.

Rachel. The chapel was this massive room. MASSIVE, filled with chairs and filled with people praying to Our Lord in the Eucharist. I was blown away by the surrender in that place.

I prayed, using Father Gaitley’s teaching. I gave myself to The Immaculata in an UNLIMITED WAY. I prayed my rosary. I asked blessings for you and all of mine.

SLS18 Day Three Highlights


We then gathered for the training, where three of my team members (who had been given a specific lesson) were now teachers. Their training had been on How to Share the Good News. I found it interesting that the three people that went to the training were cradle Catholics and they didn’t really think they had a story. Yet they each realized that they DID have a story and they were able to see it and formulate it in a way that was beautiful and inspiring. And they taught us to do the same.

People need to know how God has worked in our lives. They need a reason to hope. They can get that through our stories.


Rachel, guess what? We had a fun event, where missionaries could talk with business people and basically get to know each other. They had different areas set up for education, law, business, ministry, media, etc. and we all gathered and swapped stories and cards.

I loved loved loved how they had a person get up and explain HOW to mingle. What questions to ask. What expectations to have. It was good stuff.

Instead of meeting 20 people I met three. And I got to know them well. It was awesome.


Your brother and I decided to skip the Key Note Speakers, knowing we could find their talks later. We wanted to take some time and work on The Parenting Dare. We met in the Benefactor Room, a place full of chairs, coffee, drinks and snacks. There were maybe eight people in the room.

We settled in.

I looked up. I could not believe it. Fr. Gaitley was standing by a couple of people and I said, “Eric, there he is.”

Eric stood and said, “Let’s go. This is why you came, Mama.”

As we approached Father he was turning to leave. Eric asked for a moment of his time. He kindly gave it to us and I hugged my priest and told him how much I loved his heart and his work. I told him how I had been transformed by his books. Because people, I have been transformed by his books.

He asked a couple of questions and I told him how, after I had read 33 Days of Morning Glory, I had consecrated myself on January 1, 2017, giving Our Lady the year. I told him about our ministry and how Mary was a big part of it.

He listened.

Then he said, “May I bless you?”

Rachel, Rachel, Rachel. My dear, beautiful daughter, you get me. You know this moment.

Father Gaitley poured a blessing over Eric and me. He asked for the powerful intercession of The Immaculata over us and our ministry. He prayed for protection over our family. As he spoke the blessing, I felt the presence of Our Lady. We are not alone. We have work to do but we are not alone. We are being guided and protected. We are being equipped and I am not to worry about anything but doing the work before me.

SLS18 Day Three Highlights

What a grace. WHAT.A.GRACE.

I have not stopped crying.

Okay, baby girl, that was my Day Three. Whewee! Eric went to Adoration and said it was spectacular to see thousands upon thousands of young adults adoring Our Lord in the Eucharist.

I talked with two friends that went and one burst into tears describing the beauty of seeing that many kids surrendering to Jesus.

“I have come to set the world on fire and I wish it were already blazing.” Luke 12:49.



Lori Doerneman

Lori Doerneman

I love my marriage consummated and my Jesus consecrated. I also love seeing the eternal in the ordinary tasks of every day life. That's why I write.
Lori Doerneman

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One thought on “SLS18 Day Three Highlights

  1. Ok, now I’M crying!!!! Loved reading all of your SLS updates, Lori! FOCUS conferences changed my life, first one being 8 years ago in Florida. I understand the amazing graces that flow through these conferences. It was where I truly MET the Holy Spirit and allowed him to start transforming my life; it was where I said YES (my own FIAT). Thank you for letting us into your awesome experience at SLS. Truly A-MAZING (in the truest meaning of the word!). God Bless you and Eric in your mission and your amazing family as well.

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