From July 4th-14th more than 70 girls got together with a group of Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother for the Home of the Mother English Encounter in Braojos in the mountains of Madrid. This group of girls was there for 10 days under the protection of our Lady of Mt. Carmel, our Queen and our Mother.
The Encounter started off with the Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. George Gonzalez, who surprised us all in his homily by saying, “You are not called to be good, you are called to be SAINTS!”
This call to holiness is a very demanding call and it would be easy to become discouraged knowing we are called to such greatness if we do not put our trust in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That is why, in this year of the 100th anniversary of the consecration of Spain to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we decided to fix our gaze on the immense love that the King of Kings has for each one of us. Our theme for the camp was “ I can do all things in He who strenthens me” and this theme helped us put our trust totally in Christ. He is the one who gave us the strenth to forget about ourselves when we were worn out on the hikes, He is the one who gave us the strength to sing with joy when we were cleaning the bathrooms, He is the one who gave us the strength to live each day of camp trying to grow closer to Him and our Blessed Mother.
As usual, the camp was full of games, crafts, hikes, times to be alone with Jesus, English classes, and time for making friends from different parts of Spain and even from different parts of the world (In Mass there were 80 people from 8 different nationalities). One of the most notable nights was when we took the statue of our Lady of Good Success, the patroness of Braojos, out in procession through the town. The girls from the camp had the privilege of carrying our Lady on their shoulders and in this way became bearers of Her blessing for all of those who looked at Her that evening. A few days after, Fr. George exposed the Blessed Sacrament in the church and each team took an hour of adoration throughout the night. In spite of the tiredness that one might have at 3:00 in the morning, this time of Adoration was a big grace for all of the girls and we felt privileged to be the young people that were consoling Jesus in his loneliness at the same time that so many young people were offending Him.
Another day, a group of the older girls dared to take a hike passing through the Mountain Pass of Arcones, where a miracle took place over 300 years ago. In 1718 our Blesed Mother miraculously saved some travellers who got stuck in a treacherous snow storm trying to cross the same mountain pass of Arcones.
After lunch and praying the rosary where the miracle took place, the girls decided to keep climbing the mountain until they reached a place with a breathtaking view. In silence we gave thanks to the Lord for His creation, and afterwards we sang songs and took pictures until it was time to go back down. The hike lasted the whole day but it was a beautiful gift from God for the girls who participated in it and it served as an allegory for their lives: there will be difficult moments in life when it seems almost impossible to keep going, when the path seems too steep to follow and we are tempted to give up, but once you get to the end, to the final goal which is heaven, all of the effort, sweat and sacrifice will have been well worth it.
Thanks be to God who has poured out so many graces in this summer camp and we now ask for the grace to remain faithful to all that we have received. Above all, we ask our Blessed Mother to teach us how to trust in her Son more and more and in the immense love that He has for each one of us.