This year’s girls’ summer encounter for the South of Spain took place in the Sierra de Huétor (Granda), during the last week of July.
Six sisters along with a group of 47 girls had an unforgettable experience during this year’s summer encounter. Like every year, we had a theme for the encounter which was “The Joy of Living”, and the protector saints were St. Phillip Neri, a saint known for his joy, and Sr. Clare, a person who has helped so many people with her testimony of life.
As usual, we had many different activities throughout the week. First and foremost, we said our prayers each day and had time of Adoration before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. In the afternoons we had formation meetings about different topics that really made us think. We also had the Holy Mass in the afternoon. We would like to take a moment to thank Fr. Alejandro Grecco, from the Religious Institute of the Incarnate Word, for his patience and willingness to help us out in any way and for being our chaplain during the summer encounter.
In one of the formation meetings we talked about how fear can prevent us from being joyful and one of the sisters repeated St. Augustine’s famous quote, “Tomorrow, tomorrow…Why not today? Why not now?” From that day on, at the end of each day when we saw how many points each team had earned, we decided to change our chant. Before, we would say, “Tomorrow will be better, tomorrow will be better” to try and encourage each other, but as a sign of our effort to try and give more we changed our chant to, “Why not today? Why not today?” It became the official chant of the summer camp.
We played many sports games, water games, did many crafts, campfires, night games, etc. This year, for the first time in our camp in the South of Spain, we were able to do a hike in the mountains. Halfway through the camp, after celebrating Mass early in the morning, we left on a hike through the Sierra with a lot of enthusiasm and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Our first stop was at the Trenches of Maúllo, built during the Spanish Civil War and situated on a very high point. The hike was well worth the effort for the breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada and for the joy of overcoming ourselves. After the hike, we started going back down the mountain toward our last stop at the River Darro. The littlest campers went down an easier way and the older girls went down a shorter, but more difficult route. We ate lunch together and had a wonderful afternoon, with a water fight included.
Saturday was a day that we dedicated in a special way to Our Lady. We had time to prepare flowers and banners for a rosary procession that was going to take place later that evening. When the evening arrived we prayed the rosary and brought an image of our Lady out on a platform and we carried her on our shoulders.
During the whole summer camp there was a good environment among the campers of joy, unity and willingness to give of themselves. We could feel the presence of Our Lady. For many girls it was the first time that they had been in a summer camp with us and you could see how their faces changed throughout the course of the camp. We were so happy that we are all able to laugh about everything.
We give thanks to our Lord and our Lady for everything that we received during this camp and for growing closer to our Lord. Now it is up to us to be perseverant and put into practice everything that we have learned during this week.
Viva the Lord! Viva our Lady!