Girls’ Retreat in Jacksonville (Florida) on January 30th, 2016.
After a long and anticipated wait, the monthly girls retreat in Jacksonville, Florida finally started back up again. With more than 80 girls joined together on Saturday, January 30th, they got to celebrate a day early the feast day of St. John Bosco, which is normally celebrated on January 31st. After a week of cold weather, Our Lady interceded for the girls and it became a bright and sunny Saturday.
The first big activity was a game inspired by a dream that St. John Bosco had about bad friendships. The dream is called, “The fiendish elephant.” The girls went through the tasks as fast as they could, listening to the voices of the good friends, that would help lead them under Mary’s mantle. With a big smile on their faces, all the girls made it safely.
The game was over, but yet the girls still had energy in them, and they made a run to the lunchroom…it was time to eat. As the girls ate they also provided themselves with their own singing entertainment. And that wouldn’t be the only singing we heard from them that day.
Once lunch was over, we gave thanks and the girls were split up into 3 groups. They now rotated between 3 stations, which were a meeting, a craft, and prayer time. In the meeting, one of the sisters talked to the girls more about St. John Bosco and his dreams, focusing on the importance of choosing good friends. She told the girls how much damage a bad friendship can do and how necessary it is to be a good friend who always leads others towards what is good. In time of prayer, they got to go inside the church and sing a song to Jesus that they had just learned. And lastly, they went to make their craft. After hearing so much about St. John Bosco and what he did for the youth, the girls were super excited to be able to learn how to make juggling balls and to also learn how to juggle from one of the sisters.
While some of the girls were finishing their craft, many others took the opportunity to go to confession. Many girls felt the necessity to receive the sacrament of confession and also they mentioned that this was their favorite part of the day retreat. They say that they always look forward to coming because for many it is the only time when they can go to confession. This was the conclusion to the girl’s day retreat, and the girls couldn’t be happier. Many of them can’t wait to come back to the next girls' retreat and many we will also see in the girls' summer camp. Until next time, girls of Jacksonville, FL!