“I can do all things in He who strengthens me” (Phil. 3:14). This was the theme of the 2019 Our Lady of Mount Carmel Girls Summer Encounter in Peranzanes, Spain. From July 18th to 28th, there were 130 attendees all together, between girls, group leaders, and Sisters.
The Home of the Mother puts on several camps in various parts of the world (USA, Ecuador, Ireland, Italy, several places in Spain...) and one of the most requested, is the one in Peranzanes, perhaps due to the geographical location or the conditions there. In the middle of the mountain, at the edge of a small village, lie the simple facilities that make up our beloved camp: tents for sleeping, a large open canvas tent as the dining room, kitchen, bathrooms, and the church.
Some of the girls came for the first time, but many others are already familiar faces, because they come back year after year. The girls tell us that they look forward to the encounter all year long and wouldn’t miss it for anything in the world.
The week was full of adventure, games, sports, workshops, crafts, hikes, silence, songs, prayer, of contemplation of beauty in the midst of creation, of performances, of training in themes of human and spiritual life ... and the most important thing: to have made new and good friendships and to have grown closer to the Lord and to Our Blessed Mother.
It has also been a grace to be able to have Father Rafael Alonso, founder of the Home of the Mother, as the camp chaplain. On the last day, all the girls thanked Father for his stay in the camp, because thanks to him we could celebrate the Eucharist every day and the vast majority were able to go to confession.
One of the activities that usually helps the girls a lot are the hikes. We did several hikes throughout the ten days. In one of them we split up, and the older ones spent two nights outside the camp, the middle ones slept one night in a mountain shelter and the smaller ones went on a hike close by. Walking can teach us so much! At first, it is hard to start, but once we are on our way, we know that we can’t stop, because at the top, at the summit, beautiful views and fresh, pure water await us at the spring’s source. Between cheers and songs, the girls encouraged each other, especially the ones who were tired and losing strength.
The campers enjoyed this year’s workshops a lot. They learned to make donuts, cariocas (something to juggle with), handmade scapulars of Our Lady of Carmel that Father Rafael enrolled them with, and a mosaic of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to enthrone him in their homes.
On the last day of camp, nobody wanted to go home. The girls exchanged emails and phone numbers in order to keep in touch until meeting again next year, God willing. Until that day, the camp continues at home, in school, wherever we are, because now is the time to live everything they’ve learned.