Like every year, this summer we have held the Encounters of the Home of the Mother in two rounds. With the older girls who are in high school we went to the mountains of Georgia, where we stayed for a week and were able to do intense hikes in the midst of nature. With the little ones we spent a week in Florida, living all sorts of adventures. The two camps have had as their motto 'The joy of living' and we think that they have given much fruit and will continue to give because of all the seeds that have been planted.
The first camp began on July 22nd, leaving from Assumption parish towards Blairesville, with 29 girls and 4 sisters participating. Once there, we were joined by 3 other girls from the state of Mississippi. The 32 girls formed a very good group. For half of them, it was the first time participating in a Home of the Mother activity and it was awesome to see how they joined in with the rhythm and spirit of the Home right away, and they spread their enthusiasm to all. Their attitude of generosity, helpfulness and availability during the week was an example of how to live an HM camp. We made several hikes throughout the week and in them we lived some hard times in which the girls had to make every effort to overcome themselves, this resulted in a great growth for all.
The week would not have been complete without daily Mass, confession, Adoration, and formation talks. All these form an essential nucleus in our camps and it is there that the girls come face to face with the Lord and with themselves. Another activity that the girls loved was the rope game. The Sisters prepared a long path with a rope throughout the camp and the girls had to follow it blindfolded, without letting it go. Along the way there were bad voices trying to steer them away from the right path and good voices that helped them along; there were also obstacles and difficulties that had to overcome. The path ended in the chapel with the Blessed Sacrament exposed. For many girls that game was the living image of everything that happens to them in the spiritual life, and it helped them to learn not to ever let go of the rope (God), no matter what happens.
Upon returning from the Georgia camp, we had a day off to prepare for the camp in Florida for the younger ones. There were girls signing up until the last minute, and in the end we had a total of 75 girls from 7 to 14 years old.
We began on Monday, July 31 with a Mass for the children and their families. After saying good-bye to their parents, the girls settled in their tents and the fun began. It was a very full week, at a very intense pace, but all the girls lived up to the circumstances and gave it their all. The older girls helped the little ones to come out of themselves thanks to the contagious joy they lived amongst them.
As in the Georgia camp, daily Mass, confession, Adoration, and formation talks were an essential part of the camp. Many of the girls said that the best part of the whole week had been the times when we had Adoration. Others said they liked the procession we did with the Blessed Sacrament, and others received special graces during the procession of torches with the Virgin Mary, praying the rosary. With Jesus at the center of it all, the girls spent the week playing, swimming in the lake, navigating in a canoe, doing night games, camp fires, etc. They learned how to make their bed, wash and fold their clothes, scrub their dishes and clean.
The camps help to form the person both spiritually and humanly, and with them we have tried to fulfill our third mission, that of conquering the youth for Jesus Christ.