The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at his moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women imbued with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling.

With these words, quoted from the closing message of the Second Vatican Council, John Paul II opened his Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem , On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.

“The Dignity of Women”: It’s a phrase one often hears thrown around, usually with little reflection about its philosophical or theological depth. But this fall, Oct 3–4, the Columbus School of Law and Ave Maria School of Law will be hosting a conference to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of this letter and to continue a serious study of its implications for women and men today. Scholars from around the country—Sr. Prudence Allen, Brad Wilcox, Gerry Bradley, and Helen Alvaré, among others—will convene to discuss such topics as “the nature and significance of the feminine vocation to the meaning of equality, societal attempts to redress the disorder between men and women, the importance of the dual dimensions of motherhood-virginity, and the relevance of the Church-Bride Mystery.”

Come October, I’ll be visiting my alma mater, Catholic University, and its neighboring John Paul II Cultural Center to fill you in on the conference highlights. But FT readers in the DC area are strongly encouraged to attend and hear the discussions for themselves!