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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Women Living an Authentic Life
Three organizations gather women to encourage and inspire each other at special event in Birmingham, Michigan

Verily event

“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

When God 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.

Representatives from 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

Chelsea and 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.
Ann-Marie Neme and Chelsea Gheesling
Ann-Marie Neme (left) and Chelsea Gheesling
Verily is the modern woman’s go-to guide on how to lead a fulfilling, integrated life.”

Choices Detroit is a nonprofit educational and charitable organization that provides resources to promote the unique value of and dignity of being a woman.

GGCB 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 development.

"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.

Knowing the 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
Kara Esbach of Verily Magazine
she said.

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.)

An Amazing Evening

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 life.”

“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 guests.

The women mingled over appetizers and wine, and everyone chatted and discovered they had mutual friends and mutual interests.

At 8:00 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 magazine.)

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
Chatting at event
of needed goods.

Ann-Marie and Chelsea are planning a follow-up gathering at another local venue after the mission trip is over.

“We 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 Ann-Marie.

Please keep these three organizations and their worthy efforts in your prayers, and spread the word! More to come… 

Photos by Hannah Terbrack



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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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