Women of the Word-Toronto wants to inspire today’s woman to foster her relationship with God.
We want her to experience the dignity, hope, and healing received by women whose hearts were transformed by the love of God; women whose living testimonies helped change the world.
Women of the Word-Toronto is a recognized lay movement under the guidance of the Archdiocese of Toronto and under the patronage of Our Mother Queen of Holy Hope.
The WOW-T ministry is the fruit of prayer and lived experience.
In the years leading up to 2009, after her own battle with breast cancer, as well as accompanying a young family member through her own journey with the disease and death and having witnessed much suffering and hopelessness in so many women she had encountered, particularly those who were dying, Mary Filangi took all of it to prayer.
It was in these times of quiet reflection, pondering, questioning, seeking direction, that the inspiration and ‘blueprint’ for the Women of the Word – Toronto mission came to be.
The mission conceived within her was clear; to reach out to all women, to offer them hope regardless of the circumstances they found themselves in, healing from the brokenness that often comes from life experiences and reconciliation with Jesus Christ, who longingly awaits each person with unconditional, merciful, superabundant love.
The idea for the ministry was shared with a small group of friends gathered after a memorial mass for her cousin. The idea was well received and encouraged. The group came up with a name and immediately the planning began.
The desire to bring the message of hope, healing and restoration to other women was to happen through an annual event. The ‘blueprint’ included a gathering of women, a teaching, a testimonial, a meal, and a gift to take home. Now with a name and a team, Women of the Word – Toronto was born.
In May of 2010, the ministry hosted its first annual Forum to address issues relevant to today’s women.
From the very beginning WOW-T we have always looked to offer themes that speak to the heart of women. Each year, event themes highlight the movements of God within each one of us. When we cooperate with these movements in our spirit, they bring us closer to that fullness of who we were created to be as daughters of God. At times because of original sin, the world and our own woundedness, we become separated from this true knowledge of wholeness with God. What we desire at WOW-T is that our themes and testimonials tell a lived experience of the return to unity with Spirit.
The women that attend our Forums range in age from 16 to 90, come from all walks of life and various religious backgrounds, although we speak from a Catholic perspective. Most of our ticket sales are generated by “word of mouth”. We are not a “fundraiser” nor are we affiliated with any one group or parish – we are a Lay Movement under the auspices of the Archdioceses of Toronto.
In the early years, we held one event every spring, which we have called the Forum. Our Forums bore fruit – when we published a magazine called “Blessings – Celebrating the Joy of Faith”! Then, in order to ensure we could reach a larger audience from anywhere and anytime, we created a website www.wowblessingstoronto.com.
In 2015, we offered a retreat that was so successful we had to move to a larger venue in order to accommodate the demand. We also changed the name of the event from a retreat to a Conference, which we now hold annually every fall.
The year 2017 gave birth to small workshops, held on Friday evenings for a group of approximately 30 to 50 women. This was to allow women in a smaller group setting, to have a more personal, hands on experience, with the ability to ask questions and participate in discussions. Our first two topics were “Dealing with Anxiety and Depression with Faith” and “The 10 Keys to Happiness”.
In 2020, when the world shut down, WOW-T went at full throttle and held event after event, albeit virtually, to continue to offer the message of hope, healing, and restoration. During a time when there was so much uncertainty in the world, we remained present and hopeful. Aware of the great need, we also began a virtual evening prayer gathering, held each night at 9:00pm, which was a tremendous source of support for so many during the pandemic.
The intent of all our events and projects, Forums – Magazine – Conferences – Workshops -- Prayer Meetings, is to reach women where they are and invite them to experience hope, healing, and restoration through our Catholic Faith. We want all women to foster a relationship with God.
Dr. Josephine Lombardi
"Women of the Word - Toronto has been a refuge for women throughout the Archdiocese of Toronto and beyond. Inspired by Mary Filangi's vision and God grace, many women have benefited from the various workshops, gatherings, and prayer groups, giving them hope and courage to face day to day challenges. The WOW team is warm and welcoming, encouraging women to be a part of something great and inspiring. As a frequent guest speaker, I have marveled at WOW's fruitfulness and hospitality, making me feel like I am part of the WOW family. I encourage all women to participate in the many wonderful offerings of WOW ministry. The powerful presentations, testimonials, and group prayer accompany and strengthen all who seek wholeness and transformation."
Award Winning Author of “Experts in Humanity” and Film Maker of “The First Lady and Her Successors”
"It has been an absolute joy to work with Women of the Word Toronto. Their conferences and day long retreats provide dignity, hope, and healing through the testimonials of other women walking the same journey of faith. Women of the Word Toronto provides an irreplaceable ministry for women seeking to draw closer to our Lord. When we strive to place God at the center of our life, He provides who we need when we need them and their ministry of hospitality and building authentic friendships by sharing the Word of God is desperately needed in today’s world. I consider it a great privilege to have been the keynote at their conferences and highly recommend their ministry for all women who are searching to build a deeper relationship with the Lord."
Award winning Author of “Be Brave in the Scared”, Ave Maria Press
Dr. Patricia Murphy
“How would I describe the Women of the Word - Toronto and their beautiful mission? I would talk about "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and faithfulness . . ." Of course, these are among the Fruits of the Holy Spirit! Through their hugely popular events, these special ladies encourage hearts and nourish the minds of women from all walks of life; faith is deepened and "hearts are transformed by the love of God." Mindful that we are all works in progress, the Women always "keep it real" as they share stories of the reality and power of grace, stories of "hope, healing and restoration."
Thank you to the Women of the Word for what you do - and for the way that you do it!"
Sr. Mary Grace SV
Sisters of Life www.sistersoflife.org
“Women of the Word initiatives have always sent us refreshed and renewed in the promises God speaks to each one of us. We women can often find ourselves bombarded with the pressure to be perfect, independent and successful in whatever we do. But God has different standards. From all of eternity, He desired that you be. He wanted to make you in His own image and likeness, a unique and unrepeatable reflection of His eternal glory. There is nobody like you, and He loves you for you. But we women know this truth can be hard to believe and easy to forget, especially when we feel alone. Which is why the gift WOW brings is so powerful and necessary for women to be who we are. We were never meant to live and strive alone. We need each other and when we come together at WOW, we discover again our inherent beauty and call to love alongside one another. WOW knows what the feminine heart needs to flourish. At every event we marvel at the beauty of courageous women that share their stories. Their testimonies give undoubtable witness to the relentless love of God and inspire us to believe in His merciful love no matter what. As Sisters of Life, we see women every day make heroic choices to love and be loved. Whatever we have been through, God doesn’t forget His plans for us and He never gives up on our goodness. Every day this truth awakens the hearts of women. We walk with women, who find themselves struggling with a pregnancy, helping them to experience their own goodness and to move in freedom, not in fear. And we see the healing power of God’s infinite love restore and make new the lives of women wounded by abortion. We all need to hear stories of hope and new beginnings. And when we come together at events like WOW, we find ourselves relieved and reinvigorated to be the women we are.”