Fr. Rafael and Mother Ana visit the U.S. from November 19th-30th of 2015.
Whenever our founder comes to visit there are many graces received and it is a chance for the members of the Home of the Mother to soak in the spirituality and charism and fall even more in love with their vocation of being part of the gift that our Lord wishes to make to His Mother.
Thursday, November 19th, the day of Mother and Father’s arrival, was a very exciting day. The next day, on Friday we had time in the morning to bring Mother Ana to visit Assumption School, where the sisters teach religion. All the kids and teachers in the school were very excited to meet Mother Ana because they had been praying and offering sacrifices for her all during her sickness. When we told the children that she was coming they could hardly contain their excitement and they started practicing Spanish words to be able to tell her “hola”.
On Friday afternoon and all day Saturday, Father and Mother participated in the events of the Fiat Fest, the youth festival to celebrate the “yes” of Our Lady in this year of the Consecrated Life. The presence of the consecrated men and women from all over the US and some from Spain was a surprising testimony for the youth of the joy that comes from saying “yes” to God. It was also an opportunity for the youth to put themselves before our Lord and ask Him, “Lord, what do you want of me?”
On Sunday we had a get-together of all the families of the Home and some close friends. Here we had the chance to listen to Father speak about how the Home started, Mamie, about the three missions, and many other subjects that helped those present take consciousness of what it means to belong to the Home of the Mother.
From November 23rd-25th, Mother, Father and all of the sisters were visiting very close Friends of ours in New Jersey and New York.
When we returned to Jacksonville it was already time for our annual Thanksgiving encounter. They were very intense days and full of spiritual fruit. The talks given during the encounter were based on a letter that John Paul II wrote to the families in the year 1994, Gratissimam Sane. During the encounter Father Rafael gave one of the homilies and several points of meditation which helped all those present with his clarity of ideas and the strength of his words.
The Lay members of the Home did not miss any opportunity in the evening assemblies to ask Father questions about the Home. Father insisted that belonging to the Home is a vocation and that it is a work of Our Lady and She is the one who calls those whom she wants to form her Home. Father said that he would never deny anyone who our Mother has brought to her Home, rather he would always accept them with arms wide open. At the end of the Thanksgiving Encounter various young people and lay members made their commitment in the Home of the Mother.
As much as we were enjoying this visit, November 30th arrived and it was time for them to go. We give thanks to our Lord and our Lady for allowing us to spend this time together and for everything we have received from Father and Mother. Father’s words have helped renew our strength in the fight for holiness and we will always try and remember what he said while he was here: “Look more to heaven than you do to this world, your life depends on it.”