Speakers & Panelists



Katie Sciba (www.thecatholicwife.net) is a nationally sought speaker and five-time Catholic Press Award winning writer on marriage and family. She speaks and writes about finding bravery in Christ, vulnerability in marriage, and minimalism in the domestic church. Katie is a 2008 graduate of Benedictine College. She and her husband Andrew have been married for 10 years and live with their five children in Omaha.

Catholic Simplicity: Minimizing Excess to Build the Kingdom of God (and Make Your Family Happier)

Minimalism is a rising trend; society wants less clutter and more space, less stuff and more time. There’s one key component to living simply that will make it a deep transformation of the soul and ultimately, an answer to the Lord’s call.


Holy Matri-Money: How Spouses Can Connect Finances with Faith & Peace

Money is seldom a place of peace in marriage. Learning how husbands and wives perceive their income and outgo, how to validate each other’s emotions with it, and link it to holy intentionality will transform finances from GROAN to GRACE.


Hot Coals: Keeping Your Faith Alive in High School -TEEN TRACK

In this talk on keeping faith alive in high school, Katie will draw upon the analogy of a heap of hot coals. Together they stay on fire, but pull one from the pile and it will stay warm for a bit before fading. She talks about different ways to “stay hot” and stay close to others alive in faith, even in circumstances where you’re not surrounded by fervent Catholics. She throws in personal anecdotes from high school and college and discuss true, godly friendships.




Kevin Bailey has been married to a superhero, Daria, for the past five years and they have two crazy awesome children.  He graduated from Benedictine College with degrees in Theology and Youth Ministry and has spent the past 5 years working with and speaking to teens in Kansas City and across the country.  In his free time he loves hanging with his wife, wrestling with his kids and reading books, blogs, and sometimes cereal boxes.


Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said, “Abba, as far as I can I say my Little Office. I fast a little. I pray. I meditate. I live in peace and as far as I can. I purify my thoughts. What else am I to do?” Then the old man stood up, stretched his hands towards heaven and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire, and he said to him, “If you will, you can become all flame.”

What does it mean to become all flame? Kevin will discuss both the first parts, the Office, fasting, prayer, meditation and their importance in our lives as well as moving into deeper intimacy with God.  We were made to be fully alive and to set the world afire.


Karen Canon made the acquaintance of Charlotte Mason fifteen years ago. An immediate and profound relationship sprang up as a love for learning and fullness of life were transmitted from the 19th-century British educator to this modern-day homeschooling mom of five. She has never looked back and is eternally grateful to Miss Mason and her colleagues for paving the way for an educational lifestyle that so resounds with the Divinely sanctioned nature and purpose of humans.  With one graduate under her belt, Karen spends her time delightedly sharing in the education and pursuits of her other four school-aged children. She enjoys reading, digging deep into the writings of Charlotte Mason, and coming alongside others to confidently live a Charlotte Mason educational life. She has spoken at the Charlotte Mason Educational Retreat in Colorado and the Midwest Parent Educators Conference in Kansas City and leads a local CM study group. 


Narration: The Cornerstone of the Charlotte Mason Method

What if, in the very nature of a child, there was an ability or tendency that we could harness for their education? What if the exercise of this natural ability would ensure that a child’s attention was on the lesson at hand and that the material would be assimilated—not merely memorized for a time, but digested, modified and recreated by the actions of a child’s own mind? What if there was an educational tool that would see to it that the child, and not the teacher, was the primary agent of educational work, freeing the teacher to be a ‘guide, philosopher and friend’ to her students rather than the fountainhead of knowledge or the educational entertainer on center stage?  British educator, Charlotte Mason, recognized just such a natural ability in children.  In this session, we will take an introductory look at narration and see how it can be, as Mason suggested, the cornerstone of an educational method that respects the personhood of the child. 


Living Geography: A Panorama of Delight

‘Perhaps no knowledge is more delightful than such an intimacy with the earth’s surface, region by region, as should enable the map of any region to unfold a panorama of delight, disclosing not only mountains, rivers, frontiers, the great features we know as ‘Geography,’ but associations, occupations, some parts of the past and much of the present, of every part of this beautiful earth.’ (Charlotte Mason) In this session, we’ll take a look at the study of geography and how it enriches lessons in History, Science, Literature, and even the Arts. Let’s uncover a ‘panorama of delight’ and make geography come alive for children of any age. The Earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Psalm 24:1



Lisa Corley earned a bachelor’s degree in education and minors in literature and history. Her experience teaching in public schools during No Child Left Behind, as well as her extensive research of Common Core, left her disappointed and wanting more for her own children’s education.  She is currently the Dean of Academics at St. Charles Borromeo Academy in the Northland, homeschools her four children two days a week, is a certified Level I catechist for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and continues to advance her own education through the Circe Institute and Classical U.


Classical Education: Latin, Literature, and Liturgy

We will explore some of the pearls of classical education. Specifically; why we study Latin, the importance of great literature, and how developing a proper liturgy for learning can help you create saints.  Authentic Catholic education is ordered toward the only source of true happiness:  fostering the intellectual, moral, and theological virtues that make us fully human because they lead us to grow more and more like Christ.  The primary focus, then, is not on mere facts and skills to be acquired for college and career readiness.  Rather, Catholic liberal education respects the dignity of the young person. It connects children’s minds, hearts, and souls with the truths beyond the facts so that what they know will transform their lives.   This type of education connects the knowing and the doing, the ought and the can, and the body and the soul. 



AnnMarie Creedon has been married to her husband, Joe, for 30 years. They have five children; four have been homeschooled. AnnMarie is the author of Angela’s Song, a novel, and has a short story in the Theology of the Body anthology, Image and Likeness. She speaks occasionally on the topics of spiritual warfare and healing. 


Grace-fully Parenting Special Needs Children

This talk will cover every day coping strategies for parents of children with disabilities.  AnnMarie will touch on the subjects of humility, self-care, and prayer.  Following the talk, there will be a panel of moms of children with a variety of special needs to answer questions you may have about better caring for/educating your special needs child. 

Confessions of a Recovering Control Freak

In what ways do we put our own will before God’s? Even when we are faithful, practicing Catholics, sometimes we can have control issues that prevent us from having a deeper relationship with the Lord. This talk will help you learn how to be open to God’s will in your life.



Christine Downey, a mother of six sons and three daughters, has been homeschooling for 27 years and has graduated seven students from high school.  Currently, she has one teenager in high school. Her son, Peter, tragically lost his life in an accident five years ago when he was 13 years old. She and her husband of 32 years, David, reside in Louisburg, Kansas.  Christine and David were NFP teachers for Couple to Couple League where they taught at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Olathe for 22 years. She and her family have been involved in many pro-life projects in her parish. Christine received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Kansas State University in 1985.  For the last 23 years she has designed and written her own lesson plans from a variety of curriculum sources. She has taught Latin in her daughter’s co-op and prepared her students for the National Latin Exam.  Christine is currently participating in the Spiritual Mentorship Program offered by the Apostles of the Interior Life and the School of Faith.  She will graduate in January of 2019.



What can one do to deepen one’s relationship with Christ? In order to help our children come to know and love Christ, we first must be able do so. Catholic meditation can help us form that deeper, more intimate relationship with Christ that we also want for ourselves. This talk will cover how to create a prayer plan, how to meditate, and how to deal with possible difficulties.

Homeschool Moms Panel



I am a homeschooling mother of 9 with an affinity for classical education. I have my MA in counseling from Franciscan University of Steubenville. We live on a small farm northeast of KC growing our own milk, meat, (and saints). 


Growing Saints: Lessons from the Farm

Formerly city kids, now striving to raise saints in the country, Cathy will share a few enduring lessons their family has learned, highlighting the importance of hard work in the development of character and family unity. This talk is for everyone striving to raise saints.    




Dino serves as the Director of the Office of Family Life for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. After his first career in hotel management he changed course, obtaining two degrees in theology and catechesis.  He began his professional service to the Church as Director of Religious Education in a 5,500-family parish where he served for almost a decade. He has taught and mentored more than 1,000 catechists and other Church leaders.  Raised Methodist, he was received into full communion with the Catholic Church in 1995.  Dino and his wife Cathy homeschool their 9 children and live on a small farm near Kansas City, Missouri.

Keeping Kids Safe in Cyberspace

Parents will be provided with ways to help protect their children from an industry that is attempting to ensnare them and learn ways to help their children make good decisions about media consumption.

Being a Source of Refreshment and Strength for Our Homeschool Family-A Talk for Dads 

Whether dads are minimally involved in the daily details of schooling, the primary teacher, or anything in between, we have the potential to be of great help to our spouse and children in the homeschooling endeavor.  Using the theology of the “cup of cold water” (Matthew 10:42) as a starting point I will present some ideas about ways that dads can impact our home for the better and lead a discussion about making resolutions to implement these ideas in our own homes.

Matthew 10:42
“Whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”



Megan Fassero is the Homeschool Outreach Coordinator for Benedictine College in Atchison, KS. She and her husband Matt live in rural Atchison county, where they raise cattle, pigs, and chickens. Megan has held various positions at Benedictine College over the years including Residence Hall Director, Title IX Investigator, and Administrative Assistant for College Ministry. Her best job title, however, is homeschool mom to Julia, who is now a freshman in college.


What College Professors Are Saying About Your Homeschooler

What does it look like, from a professor’s point of view, when a homeschooled student steps foot in the college classroom? Hear from real college professors about what they wish homeschool parents had taught their students about succeeding at college, and hear about how homeschool students are impressing educators at the college level. If you are wondering what it takes to prep your highschooler for college, join us for this presentation.



Amanda French is a homeschooling mother of six. Her husband, Michael, is an insurance agent for the Knights of Columbus. They are members of Sacred Heart/St. Casimir Parish in Leavenworth. She is a graduate of Benedictine College with a degree in music. In her free time, she sings with the Peacemakers choir in Atchison, KS and facilitates an online charity group. 


Teaching Theology of the Body to Your Children

It can be intimidating talking to your children about Theology of the Body. How do you bring such a complex topic down to their maturity level? What should you say and when? How do you teach them about sexuality without ruining their purity? This talk will explore these questions and more in order to help you guide your children through those tender pre-teenage years with total confidence in God’s design for their bodies. 



Melissa Hardesty has been married to her husband Nick, for thirteen years and is the the mother of six amazing miracles here on earth and five in heaven.  She has been homeschooling her children since 2009 and is passionate about learning with her children and growing in love and service of Jesus and Our Blessed Mother.  Melissa is also an Occupational Therapist and currently works part time for Aptiva Therapy.  






Panelist for Grace-fully Parenting Special Needs Children (see AnnMarie Creedon)



Nancy Kuemmerlein has taught writing, foreign language, Great Books, and studio art to all ages for over forty years.  A Student of Dr. John Senior, she graduated from the University of Kansas with a BA in Comparative Literature.  She homeschooled her own children for more than two decades.  She and her husband Marc live in Kansas City, Missouri.


The Creative Homeschool: Forming and Supporting Your Artistic Child

Growing as an artist requires equal parts play and discipline.  We’ll talk about finding that balance, how to keep your home art friendly, when to save and when to splurge on art materials, and how to identify next steps.  We’ll make time for a Q and A as well.



A homeschooling mother of four who loves to teach, proofread, remodel, and garden. She lives the country-style, special needs, work-from-home, homeschooling, crazy kind of life.

Entrepreneurship – TEEN TRACK

She will dispel some myths about starting a business and discuss and hows and whys of starting a business from a Catholic perspective.




Betsy Schleeter, wife to Brad, mother of 7 from high school to newborn is a passionate homeschooler who has a heart for children will all kinds of special needs, mothers, community building, and discipleship.


Outnumbered: Finding Peace and Sanity in the Multi-Age Homeschool

Do you feel outnumbered in your homeschool? Do you have children with special needs, emotional needs, diaper needs, discipline needs all at the same time? Do you find the number of needs exceeds your capability? Come join Betsy Schleeter, mom of 7 children, to explore attitudes and strategies to help find and maintain peace and sanity amidst the many needs of multiple aged children. 

Panelist for Grace-fully Parenting Special Needs Children (see AnnMarie Creedon)




Angie Stoner has been teaching Safe Sitter for St. Luke’s Hospital since the summer of 2002.  She first learned about Safe Sitter when she and her husband, Jason, participated in the hospital’s childbirth preparation class when expecting their first child, Grant. Since then, her three oldest children, Grant, Caleb and Holden have taken and graduated the course.  Most days, she is homeschooling their children, but enjoys the opportunity to teach Safe Sitter ten to twelve times a year.  She so appreciates how the Safe Sitter curriculum is written to fully prepare students to care for their siblings, other children, and stay home alone confidently. She is an enthusiastic certified Safe Sitter Instructor, who truly enjoys the teaching experience.


Safe Sitter Training- TEEN TRACK

Children ages 11-15 can learn to properly handle medical emergencies while caring for children. Safe Sitter teaches safe and nurturing child care techniques, behavior management skills, and appropriate response to medical emergencies. Babysitting business skills and safety for the sitter are also taught in this one-day class.  The class includes CPR for Children and Infants and Choking Rescue for Adults, Children, and Infants. The class is taught by a certified Safe Sitter Instructor. The cost of the course is $55 per teen, and must be paid when you register. The minimum number of students for this course is 6, and the maximum is 10. The course will run 11:45am-5:30pm and 6:30-7:30pm on Friday, June 1 (dinner break from 5:30-6:30pm).




Gregory Mary is a Eucharistic Apostle of Divine Mercy and Mary Helper with the Marian Priests and Brothers of the Immaculate Conception at the Divine Mercy National Shrine in Stockbridge. He is also a Marian Catechist whose international Director is Cardinal Burke, and located at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse Wisconsin. He now organizes four Marian Conferences in three dioceses each year, and doing parish missions on the Eucharist, Adoration, Mary, Divine Mercy, Consecration, Rosary, and Confession. If it is God’s will, Gregory will bring messages laced with God’s Mercy, a warning, a challenge and hope, for those seeking healing in Spirit, Mind, and Body.


You Were Born for this Moment in Time – TEEN TRACK
Becoming a Servant Spiritual Warrior for Jesus, Mary, and the Bride of Christ, the Catholic Church is vital in this day and age and will take you places you cannot go on your own. Learn about Marian consecration and how to increase Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding.  See and venerate rare first and second class relics of Jesus and Saints. 
How You Educate on Pillars Affects Eternity
Bearing Witness to the Truth might get you crucified like Jesus, but you were called for this.  Learn how the Gospel of Matthew can give you a smile.  Would you deny Jesus? Probably for sure if this is not in your arsenal and to make sure the children are ready.  As a parent you were born to Ignite the Fire that Jesus wished was already ablaze.  Also learn how Dr. Thompson went from a lukewarm, pew-sitting Catholic with a foot in the world, to one who seeks the truth.  After having a Locution and calling by Jesus,  he has become what was lovingly called a secret agent man who can recognize the counterfeit.  He is now a Eucharistic Apostle of Divine Mercy, Marian Catechist, and Defender of the Catholic Faith.




Dianna and her husband, Scott, have 5 children and have homeschooled for 10 years.  For the last 5 years of homeschooling, they have used the Charlotte Mason philosophy of educating their children.


Homeschooling 101

New to homeschooling?  This talk will give you the information you’re looking for as well as give you an opportunity to ask some questions.  Come get ready for the journey of homeschooling!



Self-care: The Key to Maintaining Your Sanity as a Homeschool Mom

Mothers, you are people too! The best way to combat burnout is to have self-care built into your schedule. What that looks like for us homeschooling mamas is different than what it might look like if all of our children were gone for hours a day every day. But it’s still attainable! I will share with you what I have found to work for my self-care and then we will have some discussion on what our stumbling blocks are and help brainstorm for each other on how to care for ourselves, too! 

Homeschool Moms Panel


Grace-fully Parenting Special Needs Children

This talk by AnnMarie Creedon will cover every day coping strategies for parents of children with disabilities.  AnnMarie will touch on the subjects of humility, self-care, and prayer.  Following the talk, there will be a panel of moms of children with a variety of special needs to answer questions you may have about better caring for/educating your special needs child. 


AnnMarie Creedon  Melissa Hardesty    Betsy Schleeter










Homeschool Mom Panel

An open talk available for any questions you may have for a veteran homeschool mom.


Christine Downey  Dianna Wormsley