This year we celebrated the third annual Home of the Mother Holy Week Encounter in Lumezzane, Italy.
For some of the adults and young people who attended the encounter, it was the first time that they celebrated Holy Week with the Home of the Mother. We opened the Encounter on the evening of Holy Thursday with a commencement talk given by Sister Teresa. The theme this year was the Second Vatican Council Pastoral Constitution ¨Gaudium et Spes,¨ which talks about the Church in the modern world.
This year’s Holy Week Encounter in Ecuador began with the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday in the Portoviejo Cathedral, celebrated by Archbishop Lorenzo Voltolini. Over 100 priests from the diocese all concelebrated, including Fr. Juan, Servant Priest of the Home of the Mother. The Archbishop spoke about the new evangelization; he encouraged us not to be afraid and to share Christ with the world. His homily was providential because it fit in perfectly with this year’s theme for the Holy Week Encounter: evangelization.
The get-togethers organized by the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother in Alcalá de Guardaría, in the south of Spain, continue to be a huge success. We do not know what the secret is that makes so many girls want to keep coming back to visit us in this special place, blessed by their Patroness, Our Lady of the Eagle, but we can always count on at least 50 girls showing up. Surprising, but true. This time, on March 17th, the birthday girl came. She decided that there was no better way to celebrate her birthday than in the company of so many good people.
We celebrated her 23rd birthday with a Spanish San Marcos cake, and thanks to all the details that the girls had thought of, at one point she exclaimed, “this is my best birthday ever!” This was all brought about thanks to the simplicity and joy that Our Lady always conveys with her pure gaze.
The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple is celebrated, in a ceremony both vivid and profound, at Our Lady of the Eagle Shrine each year.
Staying true to a local custom, parents and grandparents present their children and grandchildren, both newborns and those recently baptized, to their Patroness. The Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother in Seville gladly took the babies into their arms and lifted them up to Our Lady, praying: “Oh Most Holy Virgin, Our Lady of the Eagle, take this child under your protection and care. Amen.”
The Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother continue to work on the project begun by Fr. Francisco Sojos, the parish priest of Our Lady of Loreto, where the Servant Sisters work in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Their idea is to build a house for the Sisters in Cóndor, a part of the parish, along with a Home of the Mother residence for university students, and to build on to the chapel that already exists.
This past February 19th, third Sunday of the month, we had our usual get-together in Barcelona. It was the first to be held in 2012.
At 7 am, the community of Servant Sisters in Torrent (Valencia) got in the van and headed off for Barcelona. We were accompanied by two girls who live in the Student Residence of the Home of the Mother, located near our house: Mariam Samino and Sonia Benito. They came along to help out with the children’s activities.
The Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother, responding to the invitation of Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza, founded their third house in Ecuador, this time in the city of Guayaquil on November 7, 2011.
Their ministry consists in working with the school "La Consolata", which has 1,400 students, located in Fortín, a very poor area of Guayaquil, overseeing the spiritual and religious formation of the students.
A group of girls from the Home of the Mother in Jacksonville, Florida told us:
On Saturday, February 11th, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, a group of girls from the Home of the Mother and a couple of friends went to visit the Cenacolo Community of women in the city of St. Augustine. The “Comunitá Cenacolo” is a movement in the Church that Sister Elvira Petrozzi founded in Italy in July of 1983 to help young people addicted to drugs or who were simply disillusioned by the false promises of happiness that the world presents.
On Saturday, February 18th, a group of H.M. girls hosted a “BBQ with Benedict”. People began to arrive before dinner and we started out by playing some very lively games in the backyard as the hamburgers were being grilled. Then, as it was getting dark, we lit some tiki torches as we ate dinner, enjoyed good conversation, and continued with some crazy games!
The Servant Brothers of the Home of the Mother are proud to have had their first Eucharistic Mission, lead by Fr. Félix López and Fr. Henry Kowalczyk in the town of Macael in southern Spain. Already having contact with the local parish priest, we were able to start working immediately after arriving.
In Seville, Spain – Acalá de Guadaíra to be exact – the Home of the Mother has been the host of a grand event ever since 2008.
Elena Cotán told us about her experience: ¨The Home of the Mother Women´s Group has formation meetings every week,where the Servant Sisters talk to us about the Home and the mission work they carry out in Ecuador. On one occasion, we were very suprised when they told us about the soup kitchens they run for children from this poverty-striken country.¨
This past Saturday we had a get-together for younger and older girls at Our Lady of the Eagle Shrine in Seville, Spain. About 40 came all together. Our Mother Mary, as usual, gave us a beautiful day, with the sun shining, making it easier for us to hold the actividades we had planned for the girls.
This time, during our monthly get-togethers with little girls here in Madrid, we went ¨on a trip¨ (without stepping foot outside the parish) to visit Nuestra Señora del Rocio - "Our Lady of the Dew". Long live Our Lady! This get-together was definitely going to be exciting…
The Servant Sisters in Brignano, Italy went on a pilgrimage with a small group of girls to visit Sotto il Monte on Saturday, January 7th. The name of the town might not mean anything to most of us, but it is significant for being the birthplace of Pope John XXIII.
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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.”