In the fall of 2017, Hannah Molitor, member of Immaculate Conception in Rockville, was invited to an afternoon tea at the St. Paul Hotel to hear Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla speak. Dr. Molla is the daughter of St. Gianna Beretta Molla.
As Molitor enjoyed her tea and scones, she was inspired to create a similar experience for teen girls in her community. Molitor, who volunteers with youth ministry in her parish, teamed up with Kelli Kleinschnitz, youth ministry coordinator at the parishes of St. Louis in Paynesville, St. Agnes in Roscoe and St. Margaret in Lake Henry, and Melaine Myklebust, also a member of Immaculate Conception, to host a tea party for young women at St. Louis Parish in Paynesville in February 2018. Four speakers shared St. Pope John Paul II’s message about the feminine genius.
“We had such a positive response after our tea party last year,” Molitor said. “We knew this ministry was important for teens, but what we didn’t expect was how it would positively impact women of all ages from our parishes. We invited young adult women to lead discussions with teens during the event and older women from our parishes served the food and waited on tables. Most speakers for teen girls focus on topics such as chastity and/or preparing for the vocation of marriage. Because our speakers emphasized the feminine genius and how to embrace femininity, women of all ages felt the content was relevant and left feeling empowered to live out their vocations in whatever way the Lord was calling them to.”
The three women have come together again this year to offer another tea party. On March 2, all women are invited to participate in the tea party event. It is especially geared for young women in grades 9-12, and is also open to young adult women. Older women are encouraged to volunteer to assist with the event.
“We live in a culture of selfies, perfectly curated social media feeds and fleeting moments,” Myklebust said. “For the first time ever, we can quantify how people respond to us by looking at the number of ‘likes’ next to our photos. We want women to understand that God’s design for them is perfect. Whether she prefers pearls or cowboy boots, a woman’s generous and sensitive nature has been given to her by God as a gift.”
Women are encouraged to dress in semi-formal attire. The evening begins with Mass at 5 p.m. at St. Louis Catholic Church in Paynesville. The tea party is planned for 6-8:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall and includes a four-course meal. This year’s theme is “Transformed,” and features a panel of local female speakers who will share stories of women who were transformed by Christ in the Gospels. Topics include: “You are known: The Hemorrhaging Woman,” “You are restored: The Woman Caught in Adultery,” “You can pray boldly: The Syrophoenician Woman,” and “You are a dwelling place: Mary, Mother of God.”
The evening concludes with Adoration and praise and worship from 8:30-9 p.m. in the church.
“We’d love for the ladies to leave knowing that their presence in this world matters,” Kleinschnitz said. “They are beautiful daughters of Christ and they are known.”
The event is free due to the generous support of The Catholic Foundation, Knights of Columbus of Cold Spring, Catholic United Financial, Christian Women and St. Louis Youth Fund and the Rockville Lions Club.