On October 22nd, we had a get-together with the group of lay members of the Home of the Mother from Chone in the school of Playa Prieta.
We started out the day with the Holy Mass, the most important moment for all of us, at 6:45 AM in the Parish of St. Cayetano. Afterwards, we went to the porch of the Sisters house and ate breakfast. There was a very family-like environment and each person brought something to share with the others.
When we finished breakfast we started our trip to Playa Prieta making our first stop at the cemetery of Pueblo Nuevo. This is where Valeria is buried, and for many of the members of the Home of the Mother it was their first time visiting her tomb. We prayed a mystery of the Rosary and from there we went to the house of Valeria’s grandparents and where her sister also lives. Valeria’s grandmother told us a little bit about her life and about the last days that Valeria spent on earth, days filled with serenity and peace. We were enjoying our visit at Valeria’s house, but we had to keep going in order to reach our final destination: the shrine in the Holy Family School in Playa Prieta. We said goodbye to Valeria’s family and a few minutes later we reached the school where the sisters were waiting for us. We greeted the sisters and drank some water to cool down.
Some of the members of the Home of the Mother from Playa Prieta joined up with us and we had time for prayer in the Shrine. Afterwards we had lunch, and after that one of the sisters explained the three paintings that are behind the altar and the meaning that this sacred place has for the Home of the Mother. The shrine is built upon the spot where our 6 sisters passed away in the earthquake of April 16th, 2016: Sr. Clare, Valeria, Catalina, Maria Augusta, Mayra and Jazmina. After the explanation of the chapel, the Sisters gave us a tour of the school and how it was all rebuilt after the earthquake. They told us about the generosity of so many people who gave their grain of sand to rebuild the school and the Sisters house. It was a truly uplifting experience.
In the afternoon we watched some videos in memory of the Sisters who passed away. To finish our pilgrimage we left Playa Prieta and went to the cemetery of Tosagua where Catalina is buried. While we were there we prayed a mystery of the Rosary before her tomb. And afterwards we started the trip back to Chone putting an end to our get-together.
It was a day full of emotions and graces which were poured out into our hearts and for which we are most grateful!