The summer encounter began on Monday, the 15th of July and lasted a quick seven days, until the 22nd. As can be expected in Ireland, the weather wasn’t very promising, and when people said, “You’ll have a good first three days,” you knew that it would be raining the rest. And that’s just what happened, but thankfully, the Lord also rained His graces on the campers as well.
There were 50 girls all together, ranging from ages 8-17. Ten of them came from Spain while the rest represented about 15 counties around Ireland. Usually at the end of the encounter the girls are enrolled in the brown scapular so they will have a special protection of Our Blessed Mother. But as the first full day of the encounter was the 16th of July which is Our Lady of Mount Carmel, it was like our Blessed Mother wanted to protect them in a special way from the beginning. All the girls who didn’t have a scapular were enrolled for the first time or received a new one.
As always, the week was full with games, crafts, formation meetings, songs, festivals, skits, Holy Mass and prayer. The camp theme was Will you respond? a message from Our Blessed Mother for each of her daughters. We had the help of two priests, Fr. Morty from Donegal and Fr. Rory, who, travelled from Letterkenny to help us. Their homilies each day enriched the girls in the spiritual life and also gave them practical ways of living their faith in our society today.
One day, the older girls went to the Slieve League Cliffs while the younger ones made cookies and prepared skits for the others. Another outing that the girls enjoyed was made to Bundoran, to swim in the sea.
A highlight for many of the girls was the penitential act we had one evening. Many of the girls said that they didn’t realize how fast the time was going by, because it was so easy for them to pray. Having gone to confession opened them up to receive all the graces prepared for them during the week.
At the end of the week, most all of the girls went home with resolutions of things that they saw the Lord asking them to change, or to commit to. Many had a deeper appreciation and understanding for the Rosary, as well as the Eucharist. Some girls made commitments in the Home of the Mother while others renewed theirs. For all of them, it was a time to be with other catholic girls of similar mindset as well as spending more time with the Lord and Our Blessed Mother.