This year in Madison, Florida, the Home of the Mother held its 14th annual Holy Week Encounter. This year’s encounter was held in a 4H Camp called Cherry Lake. It is a place that holds many memories for the Servant Sisters and for many girls as well since it was there that we had many of our first summer camps and Holy Week encounters with Sr. Clare. Drawing near to the 2º anniversary of Sr. Clare’s death, we had her very present during the whole encounter.
In total, we were a group of 150 persons and we filled the whole campsite. This campsite is very rustic, and everyone was willing to live the weekend with a bit of austerity and sobriety.
We were blessed to have Father Henry Kowalczyk, SHM, with us as well as two Servant Brothers: Deacon Andrew Kirsche and Brother Kristian Espejon. Fr. Henry celebrated all of the Triduum Masses and Liturgies and heard many confessions. Thank you, Father! It is always a joy to go to Confession and live these intense moments--the Passion, death, and resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ--in the state of grace.
During the encounter adults and children were separated into groups in order to have talks, time to reflect and for discussion, do things together as a group including chores and preparing skits for the festival for Saturday night after the Vigil Mass.
The adults heard talks about the book Transformation in Christ by Dietrich von Hildebrand. The talks were given by Brother Andrew Kirsche (on recollection and contemplation), Chris Fernandez (on humility and confidence in God), and Sister Kelly Jo Foht (on striving for perfection). All of the talks encouraged us to draw closer to God so as to allow Him to speak to us, teach us, and help us know ourselves better to be transformed in Christ.
The kids also had a great time. The older boys went on a kayak adventure on the lake. The older girls prepared a Chinese dance about the Resurrection of Our Lord for the festival--everyone loved it. The younger girls had a great time preparing a skit that Sr. Clare had done years ago with girls who are now the leaders of the group and now help with the younger kids.
The atmosphere was very family-like the whole weekend. Everyone worked in unison and were willing to give and received a lot. We believe that Our Blessed Mother was present and that Our Lord poured many graces upon our souls. We pray that the fruits of this encounter may spur us on toward holiness all year long.