Annual Mother-Daughter Tea brings mothers and daughters together

By Melanie Sisinni

               April showers bring May flowers, but in the Diocese of Erie, spring means it’s time for the Office of Virtue and Integrity’s annual Mother-Daughter Tea. Two teas were held in late April, one at St. Mary’s Church, St. Marys, and another at St. Mark Catholic Center, Erie. The teas allow young girls and a mother or mother figure to spend time together, enjoy treats and activities and discuss growing up. 

A grandmother wraps her arm around her granddaughter
during one of the discussions at the Mother-Daughter Tea at
St. Mark Catholic Center on April 28.
Photo/Melanie Sisinni

         The teas have been offered in the diocese for over 30 years, with the general format for the day remaining essentially the same over the last 10 years. However, the tea has become increasingly well attended thanks to the creativity and ingenuity of the current event organizer, Cassondra Dragone. Dragone joined the Diocese of Erie in 2022 as the new coordinator of chastity education for the Office of Virtue and Integrity, and the tea event became part of the responsibilities in her role.

         “When I got the position, I was cleaning out my office and going through archives,” said Dragone. “I found paperwork and plans from the very first one, from 1992.”

         Though the event has been a springtime staple for many years, Dragone has put her spin on it, adding fun icebreakers and activities geared toward building relationships between the girls and their mothers. This year’s tea activities included journal decorating, rosary making and an unusual cookie decorating activity. During the activity, adults were blindfolded while girls gave instructions on decorating a cookie with a specific design or picture. It was an exercise in positive communication and being careful with words, both pivotal skills to hone during difficult adolescent years. The girls and their mothers couldn’t restrain their laughter when they saw the results.

         “It’s a nice way to have an icebreaker because all of those girls come there knowing that there are going to be more heavy, serious talks sprinkled throughout the day,” said Dragone. So, it’s important to start the day with some fun activities and get the girls laughing with their moms.”

         Though the young ladies and their mothers may feel some apprehension at the before the event, knowing the sensitive nature of the topics to be discussed, their apprehension quickly dissipates through the relationship-building opportunities presented throughout the day.

         Dragone can attest to seeing this firsthand.

Three girls instruct their mother in proper cookie decorating
technique at the April 28 tea.
Photo/Melanie Sisinni

         “It’s so refreshing to see the girls want to be there with their moms and have a good time and just really enjoy it,” said Dragone. “You can see it when the girls have their arms around their mom, and their mom has their arms around them. They’re really enjoying that bonding moment.”

         Dragone is also planning for increased attendance next year, with another two tea events planned for different areas of the diocese in the spring of 2025. Though the teas and discussions are geared towards girls ages 10 to 13, Dragone is open to all ages attending.

         “It’s using the parent’s discretion,” said Dragone. “If a parent calls and says, ‘I haven’t had this talk with my girl, I think they’re the perfect age, but they’re a little bit older. They’re just getting to puberty,’ I wouldn’t want them to be excluded. If the message is pertinent to them, please, by all means, let them join."

— — —

For more information and resources visit: