“At this 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.” — Closing Message, Second Vatican Council
“From a supernatural point
of view, women are actually granted a privileged position in
the economy of redemption [the business of saving souls]” Women as Guardians of Purity by Alice von Hildenbrand
wants something to happen, everything just seems to fall into
place. It seems He greatly blessed a women’s event that
took place on June 25, 2013 in Birmingham, Michigan.
three organizations -- Choices Detroit, Good Girl Comeback
(GGCB) and Verily Magazine – gathered together, for a
special purpose, woman in positions of business, nonprofit and social
leadership from the metro Detroit area, at Bella Piatta
Italian restaurant in downtown Birmingham, Michigan.
“Our three organizations are passionate
about helping,” said Chelsea Gheesling of GGCB. “We want to
encourage and inspire one another.”
“Our missions are similar,” said Ann-Marie
Neme of Choices Detroit. “We want to unite and positively
affect as many women as possible.”
How the Event Happened
Ann-Marie joined in planning the event with Kara Esbach, founder
and editor-in-chief of Verily. The magazine’s website describes itself
as “a new kind of women’s magazine,” one that celebrates
the best of who women are. The magazine features fashion
“worthy of the woman,” articles about relationships that go deeper
than just “sex tips” and “strong cultural and lifestyle journalism.
Verily is the modern woman’s go-to guide on how to
lead a fulfilling, integrated life.”
|Ann-Marie Neme (left) and Chelsea Gheesling|
Choices Detroit is a nonprofit
educational and charitable organization that provides resources to promote the
unique value of and dignity of being a woman.
is a nonprofit organization to inspire young women to find
their true fulfillment through a series of conferences to build
confidence, leadership skills, self-respect, modesty and virtue, and enhance spiritual
"It was apparent that God wanted this collaboration,” said Ann-Marie.
“Discussions began early in June, and we pulled it off
in 3 weeks."
A series of meetings, some orchestrated and some
not, brought these women together.
Chelsea joined with Choices
Detroit early on in its conception. She would meet the
founders Ann-Marie and Beverly Thewes, and online editor for the
group’s website, Kristi Heft, and would soon become a contributing
writer for the Choices Detroit blog.
Ann-Marie learned about Verily Magazine
from a friend and wanted to know more about it.
She was planning a trip to Manhattan, and since Verily
is headquartered there, she contacted Kara via email to see
if they could meet. Kara accepted, and providentially, Ann-Marie noted,
the day of their meeting at a local café would
fall on the feast of Sacred Heart of Jesus.
focus of most women’s magazines, Ann-Marie was bit skeptical at
first about what she would find out. "Although we have
respect for all women, our core beliefs and views on
the dignity of the human being will not be compromised,”
|Kara Esbach of Verily Magazine|
She remembers one of the first things Kara said
to her at their meeting was to request they pray
before they ate.
“I knew this was no coincidence,” said Ann-Marie.
“This was meant to happen.”
She would learn that Kara had
ties to metro Detroit, being originally from Gross Ile, just
south of the Motor City. She told Ann-Marie she was
thankful for the support and energy from other women´s groups,
like those forming, not only in hometown New York, but
in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. She also said young
women at various universities were starting discussion groups around items
in the magazine.
“So we wanted to bring them to the
Detroit audience,” said Ann-Marie.
“Since Ann-Marie and I work mainly in
Michigan, we are so happy to find women doing something
so positive on a national level,” said Chelsea.
And they then
decided to organize the invite-only event on June 25, 2013.
About 35 women attended. Almost everyone they invited came, said
Ann-Marie. "Women were thankful for the invitation and commented that
the idea was both refreshing and worthwhile. Everyone enjoyed the
time spent together.”
Ashley Crouch, public relations representative for Verily, worked
on a press release with Chelsea to promote the event.
(Click here to read a local CBS news story.)
The evening began with a welcoming message from Ann-Marie.
“Chelsea and I thanked the women for joining us to
connect with women who are trying to live an authentic
“I know each of us will leave giving thanks to
God for this time to pause, reflect and share our
special gifts with one another,” she told them.
The women expressed
their thanks Liz Cutraro for welcoming their get-together at her
restaurant, Bella Piatta. They also wanted to thank two local
women who helped plan and execute the event, Monica Moceri
and Laura Bosart. Special thanks were also extended to Margo’s Spa of Birmingham, who supplied gift packages to the
The women mingled over appetizers and wine, and everyone chatted
and discovered they had mutual friends and mutual interests.
pm, Chelsea and Ann Marie gave Kara the stage to
talk about Verily. She said the idea for the magazine
started over a conversation at brunch about the need for
more meaningful media -- that wouldn’t make women feel “objectified,”
or that women, as they are, “weren’t enough.” So, Kara
along with her co-founder Janet Sahm, set to work launching
a unique, positive publication that uplifts women and “doesn’t buy
into the current hypersexualized, photoshopped, saccharine-sweet selection.” (Click here
to find out how to subscribe to this uplifting new
Then Regnum Christi consecrated woman Jana Crea talked about an
upcoming mission trip in August that she will be
going on with a group from Chelsea’s GGCB. She will
visit an orphanage run by the Missionaries of Charity and
deliver needed items purchased with donations.
“We suggested a donation of
$50 toward the mission trip, but many women gave even
more,” said Ann-Marie. More than $1,300 was raised toward purchase
of needed goods.
Ann-Marie and Chelsea are planning a follow-up gathering
at another local venue after the mission trip is over.
will look to promote other like-minded organizations and missions as
we continue to reach out to women in our community
to offer these events as a means of evangelizing,” said
Please keep these three organizations and their worthy efforts in
your prayers, and spread the word! More to come…
by Hannah Terbrack