What Are the Biggest Challenges Facing Catholic Young Adult Women?

What are three of the biggest challenges that Catholic young adult women are facing today?

That’s what we’re going to discuss as the fourth interview of our Easter 2024 series, “Rebuild My Church,” and offer us, the Church, the Body of Christ, at least three actionable ways to help overcome those challenges in an effort to bring renewal from within.

I am joined today by my friend, colleague, mom of six, Michelle Hillaert, the Executive Director of The GIVEN Institute.  

Catholic Young Adult Women’s Challenges and Solutions

Challenge #1: Many women cannot see their value and their worth. There is an all-out attack taking place on identity. If you don’t realize that your life holds value, what value do you really have to offer to others?

Solution: Our first pillar is “receive the gift you are.” In all of our programming, this is the first thing we address. Once a woman can begin to see that she was made beautifully and made with a purpose, then she can begin to see that perhaps God has something special for her that He’s asking her to do in sharing her gifts with others.

Challenge #2: Young women may have a desire to do something more, but they may not have a way to give and to serve and therefore, do nothing.

Solution: We work with the women to develop Action Plans. These Action Plans are a way they can share their gifts with the world. It may be something simple, like a stay-at-home mom writing a rule of life or a young woman starting a bible study in her parish. We’ve had participants create global non-profits, businesses, etc. They activate their gifts in a very specific way and use them at the service of others.

Challenge #3: Many women are launched into the world after graduating from college or going off to get their first job and basically kicked out of the nest. They may feel alone and may not have someone who can guide them and share their expertise and experience.

Solution: We provide community and support through leadership formation, spiritual direction and one-one mentoring. We connect women with mentors, women over the age of 36 with at least 8 years experience in their area of expertise, who are excited to be able to share from their own experience and the women are excited to be able to have someone in their corner to be a sounding board and to help them make the steps to reach their goals.

Find GIVEN here:

challenges facing catholic young adult women

About Author

Michelle Hillaert brings more than 25 years of experience in roles relating to technology and communications to GIVEN. With an undergraduate degree in Communication Arts from Franciscan University of Steubenville, her portfolio includes emergency management, web, application and graphic design, marketing and social media management, podcasting, and online consulting. In her previous employment, Michelle played a major role in the development and improvement of internal systems as well as the development and expansion of the Quality Management System. She also managed processes and communication with stakeholders in major application builds of state-run programs. In addition to this work, Michelle has dedicated herself to helping women live their full potential as a doula, life and fitness coach, motivational speaker and author. Having four daughters, nine sisters, and having journeyed with many women over the years, Michelle has experienced first-hand how as women, we often hesitate to respond with our gifts because we don’t recognize that we are uniquely gifted and that the world – especially those we encounter on a daily basis – needs us to share these gifts. In light of this, she has a passion and proven capacity for flourishing young women in the Church through mentoring and leadership development. Michelle has found that transformation often happens in those quiet moments of prayer and reading the works of the saints, such as the “Dialogue” by St. Catherine of Siena and makes daily reading and continual growth an essential part of her day. Outside of work, Michelle has been married for over 23 years to her husband, Trent. They reside in Front Royal, Virginia and together have six children, 2 in college and four still at home, along with three dogs, a cat and 27 chickens. She is a soccer mom and singer who loves leading praise and worship. “It’s only when we truly know how unspeakably much we are loved by our Father and how He is constantly pursuing us – even in those moments when we’re running in the opposite direction – that we can come to understand that our identity lies in His love. With this knowledge, we are able to step out in confidence and as inspired by St. Pope John Paul II, live fearlessly.”

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