Gabriella Rizzi is passionate about what it means to be a strong, feminine Christian leader and a true disciple of Christ. That is why she was overjoyed to learn she had been chosen to attend the GIVEN Catholic Young Women's Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C.
Rizzi will be a junior at Newman University this fall majoring in communications. She graduated from St. James Academy in Lenexa, Kan., and chose Newman for higher education because of its strong Catholic faith.
"I just love Newman so much," said Rizzi. "I love our campus community and it’s so beautiful."
The GIVEN forum was organized and founded by the Council of Major Superior Women Religious. The purpose of the forum was to unite young Catholic women and to empower them to understand their role as women in the church. The forum was presented for the first time this year thanks to a generous posthumous gift from a loving supporter. Rizzi hopes the forum will continue to be held annually. She was exited to be chosen and have the trip paid for.
"If you’re accepted, it’s on scholarship, so all expenses are covered," she said.
While at the forum, Rizzi listened to talks and had the chance for some helpful networking. The women in attendance are challenged with the task of creating and completing an action plan that will enable them to use their gifts to help their community. She says she already has her own action plan and is working on the steps needed to open a conversation with those who will benefit from seeing her plan through.
"It was an overwhelming experience being there. There was so much information to process and the experience was amazing," said Rizzi. "They were so intentional with every detail. So much love and time put in, and I felt so cared for."
Rizzi serves as a residence assistant at Newman and looks forward to sharing what she has gained with others.
"I truly believed God allowed me to go because He wants me to share the goodness, beauty, and truth that was ignited at this conference," she said. "My desire is to help culminate this same experience and feeling wherever He calls me."