This past extended weekend of December 3-8, which included the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a group of us girls from the school “Colegio María Inmaculada” in Belmonte, Cuenca (a school in Spain run by the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother) went to do Spiritual Exercises in the new house of the Sisters in Valencia. It is a beautiful location, with tons of space. The weather was great and we took some beautiful walks!
The community of Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother in Rome, accompanied by a small group of university students, started the Advent season, in union with the Universal Church, with the celebration of Vespers (or Evening Prayer) for the First Sunday of Advent presided by Pope Benedict XVI, in St. Peter’s Basilica, on November 27. The evening of prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was also a Pro-Life Vigil for unborn children. The vigil was promoted on an international level and was observed on this same night in parishes throughout the world, once again manifesting the singular beauty of the universal attribute of the Catholic Church!
The Sisters here in Fabero have started working with the young people preparing to make their Confirmation in the town of Toreno, about half an hour from Fabero. For a little over a month now, we have been giving catechism classes to a total of 40 boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 14. Last Saturday, November 27, we had our first retreat activity there.
On Saturday, November 6, the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother and a group from Fabero were able to accompany the Holy Father on his visit to Santiago de Compostela. The Sisters, along with 3 young people (Laura, Ester, and Marcos) and an adult (Maria Luz), went along with the diocesan pilgrimage that had been organized by the Youth Ministry Department of the Diocese of Astorga.
Saturday, the 30th of October: A group of boys and Servant Brothers of the Home of the Mother met up for a weekend retreat. The day began with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. We left Urroz, a small town close to Pamplona, to go to Torreciudad, where we visited the shrine built in honor of the miraculous cure of St. Josemaria Escriva when he was very young. After admiring the beautiful sanctuary and praying before the Blessed Sacrament, we ate sandwiches beneath the shade of some pine trees.
At four o´clock, we arrived at Barbastro. There we listened to the story of the seminarian martyrs, killed during the civil war for professing their Catholic faith. Their joy and love of Jesus Christ impressed us all. The martyrs left their testimonies on things as varied as handkerchiefs and chocolate wrappers… whatever they had available. Before their transparent caskets, looking at their bones, we prayed that Our Lord might strengthen our faith. Just above their caskets, we participated in the holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Juan, using a chalice used by the martyrs. During Communion, we sang ´´Blood of Christ, inebriate me…`` that the Lord might grant us the same mad love of the martyrs for Jesus.
On November 1, 2010, Feast of All Saints, some of the Servant Sisters and all of the Servant Brothers in Rome gladly accompanied our Founder, Fr. Rafael, traveling by car to Loreto, a town located about 3 hours north of Rome near the Adriatic Coast. It is home to the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto, which contains the brick foundations from Our Blessed Mother's house in Nazareth, brought to Italy by the Crusaders (or, according to legend, “angels”).
This was the headline of one of the principal newspapers in Chone on Monday, October 25th. On Sunday, October 24th, we celebrated in Chone the Youth Day on a provincial level that about 1800 young people participated in. At the beginning they were only going to be 800, which are already quite a few, but at the last minute people began to call letting us know that more people had signed up.
On October 23rd we had a day get-together with the girls from catechism class. God gave us a wonderful, sunny day which allowed us to take off our jackets that were beginning to bother us.
Among the 18 girls that came, there were many 2nd graders (who came for the first time) and some girls from 3rd, 4th and 6th grade (who had come on other occasions).
Saturday, October 16, 2010. Fabero 3:45 pm. The Servant sisters leave the house running towards the parish. Some of the families and youth of the parish who were going to go to the reception of the World Youth Day Cross were waiting there for them. A group of 45 people made up of children, young people and adults went in bus to the city of Ponferrada to meet up with all the people of other nearby villages who had gathered at the Church of San Antonio.
We are going to tell you about the two get-togethers that we have had in Alcalá de Guadaíra (Seville). One was on Saturday, October 2nd, and the other was on the 9th. The first get-together was only for girls, and 45 came that day. The six best monitors in the whole wide world also came and we thank them for all their work.
The weekend of October 1st-3rd, the diocese of Getafe (Spain) organized a youth pilgrimage to the Marian shrine of Guadalupe, in the province of Cáceres. The Servant Sisters of the community of Getafe, who are currently living in Móstoles, accompanied the 550 young people this weekend.
As in any place where the Home is present, here in Chone, the 8th of September was also a special day. We celebrated Our Lady's birthday as the occasion called for. In the afternoon, all of the members of the Home who were going to renew their commitments or were going to enter in the Home for the fisrt time, got together for más a 7:30pm. What a joy it was to see the whole side wing of St. Cayetano's full of Home of the Mother t-shirts.
Not too long ago we had a week of vacations in the school, and it has been useful to continue working on our much waited for assembly hall. The hall continues in construction, although it is going pretty slowly because there are only two workers besides Demetrio, our "fix-it-up" man.
On the 18th of September, the community of the Servant Sisters of Alcalá de Guadaíra attended the beatification of Mother María de la Purísima, who was a Sister of the Cross, which took place in the Olympic Stadium in Seville. We went to the event accompanied by a small group of the Home of the Mother Youth including Esmeralda and Felix Manuel who would be married the next day. We joined the bus that went from the Immaculate Conception parish, where we give catechism classe, and in which some of our young friends from Caritas (a charity movement) went.
On Sunday, September 12th, a group of young people gathered together at the "Maria Elisabetta" farm to have a get-together. More 30 young people came from Playa Prieta with the Sisters, making a great effort, because they had exams the following week. Some of them even brought their books with them to try to study in their free time.
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A year ago Sr. Clare was invited to partake in the exposition “Young Witness of the Faith, the Saints Next Door.”