Holy hour, Girls´get-together, and Pilgrimage to Verona (Italy), October 31st-November 2nd, 2014.
The weekend of All Saints Day, the Servant Sisters in Lumezzanne, Brescia (Italy) organized various activities.
It all began on Friday night, October 31st, with a prayer vigil for girls from 11-15 years of age in the sister`s chapel in Lumezzanne. The idea was to have a Holy Hour in reparation for all of the offenses that the Lord was going to receive on the night of Halloween, offenses especially against the Eucharist. This seemed like a good idea to us seeing as how the first mission of the Home is the defense of the Eucharist.
Before we began the Holy Hour we talked to the girls and reminded them the reason why we were doing the Holy Hour and the truth behind the feast of Halloween. The theme of the Holy Hour was “Seek God´s face” and we prepared the chapel in a special way trying to facilitate prayer and personal dialogue with the Lord. There were moments of meditation, silence and songs. Many of the girls used their prayer journals to write down their reflections and help them concentrate better seeing as how there were distractions and noises coming from the street (firecrackers, shouting, etc.).
This special moment with the Most Holy Sacrament filled us all with a profound peace and much joy. Even the girls who were more hesitant to come when we invited them to the Holy Hour thanked us afterwards for everything. We give thanks to God who has shown us once again that the youth are not only capable of praying, but deep down it`s what they desire, because they realize that it is what is going to satiate the thirst that they have in their souls.
On Saturday, November 1st, we had a get-together for girls. A group of 35 girls from 7-11 years of age came to our house after the 9:30 am mass. We began the day with a Saint`s party, songs and games, followed by lunch.
In the afternoon we had prayer times in the chapel followed by a game in which the teams had to find 5 different saints or other exemplary figures that were hidden throughout the parish center. It was scary when we had to go look for them in dark places! The people we had to find were: Saint John Paul II, Saint Catherine of Sienna, Saint Joan of Arc, Carlos Acutis, and Guilia Gabrieli. After giving a prize to the winning team each girl received a protector saint for the year.
Afterwards we made pancakes which we ate as a snack. Later we did a charming arts and crafts project…a frog with pockets to put pens in. The day was filled with activity and we learned a lot of new things, but the best of all was the saintly company! Long live the Saints! Here are a few prayers written by the girls after getting to know a bit more about the lives of these saints:
Saint Joan of Arc: We want to be like you and fight so that everyone can know the love of God, our Father.
Dear Carlos (Acutis): You loved God a lot, more than anyone. We ask you to help us be more like you.
On Sunday, November 2nd, we organized a pilgrimage to the city of Verona (Italy) to venerate the relics of St. Theresé of the Child Jesus, which were in Rome for the Synod and are now on their way back to France.
A bus and two cars headed out early in the morning, in total a group of 65. When we arrived to our destination, the Carmelite Basilica of St. Therese, it was 9:45 am. The prior of the Carmelite brothers, Fr. Gino, gave us a brief welcome and a fascinating explanation about St. Theresé and her family.
At 10:30 am there was mass in the basilica in front of the urn which contains the relics of St. Therese. The Basilica was overflowing with people. To make the most of the pilgrimage we left time so that the people could to go to confession and have time for personal prayer before the relics of the saint.
We all ate together in a hall which belongs to the Carmelite brothers and after lunch Fr. Luca showed us around the Basilica. He explained the paintings, the statues, the relics and the different spiritual aspects of the temple. We finished the tour singing a song to Our Lady. Grateful for the warm welcome which the Carmelites gave us and full of enthusiasm to continue on our path of holiness, we said goodbye in order to continue on our pilgrimage. The next stop was the Cathedral of Verona and some other churches in the center of the city. Going from one end of the city to another we passed the supposed “House of Juliette”, with the balcony which was made famous in Shakespeare`s drama “Romeo and Juliette”.
But this day we weren’t in Verona as tourists, but as pilgrims. What most impacted all of us was the testimony of the young 24 year old saint, St. Theresé, who lived her whole life filled with love for God. She offered everything up for the missions and lived trusting in the providential love of her heavenly Father. We all realized that we still have a lot to learn from her and her “little way” of spiritual infancy.