March 16, 2019 @ 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
Mary Mother of the Church
2006 Weston St
La Crosse, WI, 54601
$40 (lunch included)
Franciscan Spirituality Center

A special event for women, sponsored by Mayo Clinic Health System.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month and all women who have faced obstacles and ordeals yet persevered, kept the faith and emerged more resilient, we have planned a special conference on Saturday, March 16, 2019, at Mary, Mother of the Church in La Crosse.

Keynote speaker will be Sarah Thebarge, San Francisco-based author, physician assistant and inspirational speaker. Sarah spent years training to become a physician assistant, hoping to use her skills to help patients heal. Then, at age 27, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Sarah began her own personal journey of pursuing wellness for herself. She realized that wellness is an even higher ideal than healing, because it’s possible to be healthy (disease-free) in your body but not well in your heart, mind and soul. And it’s possible to be dealing with health issues and yet still find wellness deep inside. In this talk, Sarah will share helpful practices for becoming truly, deeply well in every area of your being.


Sarah studied medicine at Yale School of Medicine and journalism at Columbia University. She has practiced international medicine extensively and started a clinic in Kenya for children who lost their parents to AIDS. Sarah’s first book, The Invisible Girls, is a memoir that weaves her story of nearly dying of breast cancer in her 20s together with the story of a Somali refugee family she met on a train in Portland, Oregon, as she was recovering from her cancer treatments. Her latest book, WELL, details the time she spent practicing medicine at a hospital in Togo, West Africa, which the United Nations ranked the “least happy country in the world.” In WELL, Sarah uses medicine as a metaphor for how each of us can help to heal our beautiful, broken world.

The daylong event also will feature a panel of regional women who will share their amazing stories:

Elizabeth Lewis of Mequon, Wisconsin, who was inspired to pursue her interests in fiber arts, spirituality and wellness upon recovery from a traumatic brain injury.

Tara Shilts of Onalaska, Wisconsin, who balances her role as a chaplain with being a mom to two children, one of whom has significant mental health challenges related to early childhood epilepsy.

Melina Garcia of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, who will share the story of navigating the citizenship process for her husband.

Please note: This event takes place at Mary, Mother of the Church, 2006 Weston St., La Crosse.