The HM Girls’ Summer Encounter took place from the 29th of July until the 5th of August in Hawthorne, Florida at Camp Kateri. The theme this year was “When God speaks: FIAT!” and going along with this theme was the theme of Fatima. This year there were 5 sisters and about 50 girls that attended, which includes older girls who came to help out during the week as counselors. The campers ranged from 7 to 14 years old. The majority of the girls came from Florida, but there were a few that had traveled from farther away in order to be able to attend this yearly encounter. The Summer Encounter really had a beautiful environment of being one big family! Mealtime, along with getting to know better the girls from your team, was filled many times with joyful singing, as well as story telling.
We had a cartoon image of Our Lady of Fatima that accompanied the girls during the entire encounter. She was always lifted up high so that everyone could see her as we blessed and gave thanks for the food. At night, as the girls prayed the rosary together and sang songs to Our Lady, she was always illuminated by the lanterns or flashlights of the girls so that all could see her. During the day there were times for prayer, Mass, games, crafts, songs, confession, meetings, and much more. We also had picnic lunches many times and were able to go to the lake to enjoy jumping into the water, swimming, and canoeing, which was certainly a favorite for a lot of the girls.
One of the crafts that the girls enjoyed making was actually a surprise that they made for Jesus and Our Lady, which were paper flowers. On Thursday night, we had a Eucharistic Procession and the older girls helped to prepare and decorate two altars where the Blessed Sacrament would be placed during the procession. They used these paper flowers to help decorate around the outside altars. On the last night, we had a Procession with Our Lady of Fatima and all of the flowers that the girls had made were used to decorate the carrier as a way of showing their love for Our Lady. For a lot of the girls, this year was their first time attending a Home of the Mother Summer Encounter.
When the last day of the Encounter came although the girls were sad, they were filled with joy at the idea of being able to come back next year to the Summer Encounter again! Here are two testimonies from girls that attended this year’s summer encounter and what they enjoyed the most about it!
“The Florida Summer Encounter is something I look forward to every year and enjoy doing. I love the daily mass and adoration; it helps me a lot. I also like playing games with the sisters because they make it fun. I am very grateful for the Home of the Mother summer camp and cannot wait to go to the Georgia summer encounter next year. “ - Natalie Calascione, 13
“My favorite part was Mass, the lake, sleeping and breakfast. I learned how to be tidy and that Jesus actually and really loves us and died for us.” - Addy Stong, 8