October 7th, the feast day of our Lady of the Rosary, was a full day for the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother. We thought about doing a Rosary procession at dawn on the beach in order to celebrate this feast day of Mama Mary and invited everyone we knew to come join us. When we got to the beach it was still dark outside. The platform which held the statue of Our Lady was decorated with red and yellow flowers, and the tiki torches were lit and ready to go. We were only missing the people who began to arrive little by little. It was beautiful to see whole families who decided to make the sacrifice of getting up early and start the day with Mary, young and old alike. We ended up being a group of 100 people processing on the beach with Our Lady while praying the Rosary. The sun rose as we prayed the Third Joyful Mystery, the Birth of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. We realized how this Marian prayer always brings us to Jesus. Some families stayed at the beach to eat breakfast, but we were off on our next mission!
A few hours later we were starting our Family Encounter with the families from central Florida at the Hernandez home, but people joined us from as far away as Naples and Jacksonville. Close to 100 people came to visit with the sisters and other families, some for the first time. We began with a potluck lunch and time for everyone to visit and get to know one another. Later, we split into groups with the adults, high schoolers, and middle schoolers for a talk, while the younger children played soccer and other games with the sisters.
Some sisters led a talk for the adults, in which they explained the Home of the Mother to the new families. Two men spoke about the mission trip to Ecuador they went on earlier this summer. The high schoolers also had a talk in which the sisters explained the four temperaments and how knowledge of them can help in one's spiritual life. The middle schoolers talked about the importance of the Rosary and the history behind the feast day we were celebrating.
After the group meetings, we had a special surprise for the families: we had brought with us the decorated platform holding the statue of Our Lady. To celebrate her feast, we had a Rosary procession around the yard, taking turns holding the platform. It was a special moment, and Our Lady was very present with us. Every time our Lady goes out in procession, it is always a victory in the hearts of those who participate in the procession and in the hearts of all those who see their Heavenly Mother pass by. In the end, Her Immaculate Heart will triumph!