Catholic Conference Speakers

Easter April 2015 012The Catholic Women’s Conference of Denver is excited to present dynamic and thought-provoking Catholic speakers who will guide us as we reflect on the spirituality of Mary and how we apply it in our day-to-day lives.  We desire that, as an outcome of the conference, the women in our community can be a transforming presence in all aspects of the Church and society.  


Keynote Speaker

Mary Beth Bonacci first learned about St. John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” shortly after he concluded the original series of talks in 1985. She was enthralled, and within a year she became one of the first speakers to address the topic on a national level. For the next twenty years, she traveled full time throughout the country and around the world, speaking to audiences about chastity and the beauty of the Church’s teaching on human sexuality.

She is the founder of Real Love, Inc., an organization dedicated to promoting respect for God’s gift of human sexuality.  Her book Real Love, has been translated into ten languages and has now been completely revised and updated.  She is also the author of We’re on a Mission from God, and writes a regular syndicated column with appears in the Denver Catholic.  Her educational video, Sex and Love: What’s a Teenager to Do? was awarded the Crown Award for best youth curriculum.  In 1993 she spoke to 75,000 people at World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado; and in 1999, she spoke to 22,000 at the TWA Dome during the Pope’s visit to St. Louis.

Mary Beth is a Denver native who grew up at St. Bernadette Parish in Lakewood.  Since she retired from full-time speaking in 2005, she has worked as a real estate agent with RE/MAX Alliance, where she was recently inducted into the RE/MAX Hall of Fame.


Deb Holiday received her B.A. from Rutgers University and M.A. in Sacred Scripture from the Augustine Institute. She has worked for the Catholic Biblical School for over 10 years in many roles including Interim Director and Lead Instructor.

A guest on the Augustine Institute’s Symbolon and Reborn series, she is often a go-to for commentary on Scripture. She has spoken at the National Catholic Bible Conference and has led several retreats and pilgrimages to the Holy Land.


Father John Riley is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington Virginia on loan to the Archdiocese of Denver to serve as Chaplain and Professor at the Augustine Institute.  Interested in pursuing a career in Motion Picture Production and Direction, Father Riley earned a BA in Communication in his undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame.  After discerning a call to the priesthood, Father Riley earned three Masters’ Degrees; in Divinity and Theology from the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, PA; and in Catechetics [with a concentration in Spirituality] from Notre Dame Pontifical Catechetical Institute in Arlington, Virginia.  A Chaplain and Professor of Sacred Scripture at Christendom College in Front Royal from 1995-2000, Father Riley has spent the better part of the past 25 years serving in parishes of the Arlington Diocese as Pastor and Parochial Vicar.

In Denver, aside from his service to the Augustine Institute, Fr. Riley has taught Spiritual Theology at St. John Vianney Seminary, has offered courses to and through the Denver Biblical School and Catechetical School, has worked with the leadership of Endow, and coordinated staff formation for the counselors of Camp Wojtyla.  He has also offered courses, retreats, and days of recollection for the Cathedral Parish of Las Cruces, New Mexico and a number of other parishes, as well as for Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, Christ in the City, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students [FOCUS], the Denver Archdiocesan Communications Office, the Carmelite Nuns of Littleton, the Poor Clare Nuns of Roswell, New Mexico, and the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India.

Fr. Riley’s primary effort is rooted in the hope of seeing the full flower of the New Evangelization firmly grounded in the Heart of Catechesis – Jesus Christ.


A Wisconsin native, Claire Dwyer was transplanted to the desert of Phoenix when she married Delaney, her husband of 20 years. Together they have six children, ages 19 – 5. She holds a degree in Theology of Franciscan University of Steubenville and currently works as Coordinator of Adult Faith Formation at her Phoenix parish of St. Thomas the Apostle. When she’s not searched for lost socks or stepping on Legos, she enjoys studying the depth of Catholic Spirituality through the Avila Institute’s graduate program and speaking and writing about faith. She blogs at, and Women of Grace, and has been featured at the National Catholic Register. Her passion is to help women embrace the mystery and majesty of the feminine vocation, and to discover the sacramentality of the everyday.


The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecelia


Sister Anne Catherine, OP is originally from Cincinnati, where she attended Catholic schools K-12 and was a Catholic school teacher before she entered the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in 1998.  She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Dallas, an M.Litt. in Medieval English from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and an M.Ed. in Educational Administration from the University of Notre Dame.  Since coming to the Dominican Sisters, Sister Anne Catherine has taught junior high and high school and also has also been an elementary and high school principal.  For the last nine years she has served as principal of two all-girl Catholic high schools, and currently she is principal at St. Cecilia Academy in Nashville.  Having spent most of her educational career serving young women and their parents, Sr Anne Catherine is particularly interested in the topic of the feminine genius from a practical vantage point as she helps women to discover their God-given gifts and learn to make of themselves a gift to the world.