Anna Capizzi, graduate student in Seton Hall's Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, has been selected to attend GIVEN 2016: Catholic Young Women's Leadership Forum. The Forum, which will take place June 7-12 in Washington, D.C., is fully funded and immerses participants in faith formation, leadership training and networking.
According to the Forum's website, it will "provide a platform for what St. John Paul II called 'the feminine genius' and a response to Pope Francis' plea for a deeper understanding and activation of the unique gift of women in the Church and the world." Anna was one of only 300 women nationwide chosen to participate.
An M.A. Theology student with a concentration in Moral Theology, Anna first learned about the Forum from her peers and even a former supervisor, all of whom encouraged her to apply. She recalls, "I took it as a nudge from God saying, 'You should probably consider this!'"
As part of Anna's application process to the GIVEN Forum, she was required to write essays, obtain letters of recommendation and, most importantly, develop an "action plan" that she can implement in her diocese, in line with the Forum's focus on building leadership in Catholic women. The plan will then be adjusted and perfected at the Forum. Anna's action plan, which centers around ecological conversion, drew inspiration from Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' and her internship from last summer with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)'s Environmental Justice Program.
The GIVEN Forum lists an impressive group of speakers ready to share their experiences about the "feminine genius in leadership." Anna is excited to listen to and learn from all, but is specifically looking forward to seeing Carolyn Woo, Ph.D., president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, and Mary Healy, Ph.D., a famed biblical scholar. Dr. Woo's presentation is of particular interest to Anna because the work of CRS connects to the action plan she has developed, while Dr. Healy's presentation will likely touch on her work as a biblical scholar, a topic that intrigues Anna.
Through the GIVEN Forum, Anna will be better able to recognize her unique gifts and use them to positively impact the world around her. But Anna is no stranger to personal development. Her internship with the USCCB is one of several experiences throughout her time as a graduate student in the School of Theology that have helped her to develop professionally and academically. During her summer with the USCCB, Anna worked with the Environmental Justice Program, part of the Office of Domestic Social Development in the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development. She assisted the program coordinator in researching for presentations and interviewing community organizations about environmental issues and how they were implementing change in these areas. She then used this information to write articles for PovertyUSA, including this article about fracking – a particularly hot topic these days. Anna also contributed to a blog for the Department of Justice, writing about Laudato Si' and community organizing.
Anna is slated to graduate with her master's in May 2017. She plans to use what she will have learned through her internship, her coursework, and the GIVEN Forum to complete her master's thesis this year. Beyond that, she hopes that the wisdom of the female leaders at GIVEN provide practical advice on how to achieve one's career goals without letting work consume life. "I'm hoping to gain an understanding of different approaches to women's leadership," Anna says. "Many of these women seem to 'have it all' but that can't come without personal sacrifice and the support of family and friends. I hope to have a better understanding of balance between family and career, and how faith can integrate all the aspects of your life."
We will check back in with Anna for her personal reflections on what she gained from the Forum later this summer.
Categories: Faith and Service