Mary Beth Bonacci shares some of her thoughts on singles, community, and the National Catholic Singles Conference!
What gives you the most fulfillment in being single?
It’s the freedom to spend time with people — my family, my nieces and nephews, my friends, my clients who have become my friends, people at church, people in volunteer work. I think I have only recently come to appreciate that it’s my singleness that has allowed me to cultivate such a wide variety of relationships, and to get involved in so many activities where I can meet and serve other people.
Where have you most found community?
Ironically, much of the community of single friends I enjoy today came directly out of the National Catholic Singles Conferences in Denver in 2005 and 2006. We met there, and we are still friends to this day!
Why do singles have trouble finding fulfillment?
We are created for relationship, for giving ourselves to others in love, for what John Paul II called the Communion of Persons. And, for us as single people, that isn’t built in. Our default state is “alone.” If we want community, if we want to be in relationship with others, we have to go out and find it, build it. That isn’t always easy. And it is made more difficult by the fact that we don’t always realize that is what we need!
What is one thing that you would tell a single Catholic coming to this conference for the first time about the Theology of the Body?
That it isn’t just about sex, and it isn’t just for married people! It is about men and women — all men and women. St. John Paul II had a lot to say to those of us who are never married, divorced or widowed — about love, about community, about how we’re made and how we find fulfillment.
If you were attending this conference (not as a speaker) for the first time, what would draw you?
My favorite aspect of the conference is just the privilege of spending a weekend with hundreds and hundreds of other Catholics who are single. In my everyday life, I can go weeks or even months without meeting someone else like I am — Catholic, serious about my faith and not currently married. Others tell me the same. We start to feel like we’re the only ones. But here, we can all get together — to talk about our experience, to laugh, to have fun, to learn, and to worship together. It’s my favorite weekend of the year!!