|Jerry & Gwen|
Jerry started his own business systems and manufacturing company in 1961. For ten years, they worked vigorously for the family values movement for which they organized volunteers.
In 1971 the direction of their lives was drastically changed when they made their consecration to Jesus through Mary according to the formula of St. Louis de Montfort. The same formula (Totus Tuus) that changed the life of Karol Wojtyla, now Bl. Pope John Paul II, to whom the Conikers have devoted their life by carrying out his teachings throughout the world.
On May 13, 1971, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the Conikers sold their home and soon after, their business. On September 8th of that same year, they moved their family to Fatima, Portugal, which turned into a two-year retreat and preparation time for their work in the Church. A pro-life activist concerned for the family, Jerry decided he "couldn't succeed politically without bringing people back to God."
|Gwen presenting to Bl. John Paul II|
In October of 1990, they established the present 950-acre Catholic Familyland in Bloomingdale, Ohio, at the former Steubenville diocesan seminary. Each year are conducted “Holy Family Fest” vacations for families, Totus Tuus weekend conferences and Marriage Get Away Weekends for thousands of participants.
On April 29, 1999, Bl. Pope John Paul II appointed Jerry and Gwen Coniker to be one of 20 couples in the world that are members of his Pontifical Council for the Family, advising him on family matters in the world.
|with Bl.. Mother Teresa|
On October 14, 2000, having been asked by Bl. Pope John Paul II to represent the theme "Children, the Springtime of Hope for Family and Society" for the great Jubilee of Families at St. Peter’s Square, the Coniker family personally greeted the Holy Father and presented to him the international work and mission of the Apostolate for Family Consecration.
In 2001, Jerry and Gwen as a couple received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Award from the Holy Father. This papal award was instituted by Pope Leo XIII on July 7, 1888 and is bestowed upon persons who have given outstanding service to the Church.
Two months later, on December 15, 2001, Gwen was made Lady Guenevere of the Pontifical Order of St. Michael of the Wing of Portugal (since then Crown Prince of Portugal, the Duke of Braganza, made Jerry Coniker a knight). This is one of the oldest knight orders of the Church that has pontifical status and its main purpose is to protect the Church.
|Conicker Family- Gwen, on left|