Franciscan Footprints

It was invigorating to see young girls so“on fire” about their faith. Girls from ages 12 to 18 had been to this camp, Totus Tuus, several times. Sr. Rose Therese and I were first timers along with some of the youngest girl attendees. It was conducted at Terra Sancta, a retreat center in the Black Hills of South Dakota near Rapid City.

The theme of the retreat was based on Porta Fidei, the apostolic letter of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. There were 6 sessions that the group of girls rotated through and each included some fun activities. About 70 girls came to Terra Sancta and a dozen or so college age women, who were veterans of this camp. 15 Sisters from 7 different religious communities attended to facilitate the camp. We were diverse in habits and personalities, but we are all are one in faith. We prayed the Divine Office together- Lauds(Morning Prayer) and Vespers(Evening Prayer), worked together, to teach and play with His children along with those young women, who organized and orchestrated the whole week with other fun physical activities. Also one very tall priest, Fr. Kevin Achbach, from the Catholic Diocese of Rapid City, SD offered Mass and gave spiritual direction for the girls at the camp. One of the sisters said, “ This is a great camp, but at the end of the week, you will be so tired, you can’t even spit.” We were exhausted, but certainly did have such a great time with the girls, and we think they enjoyed the week too.

Even before we started the retreat, the family spoiled us Sisters, with a trip to Mount Rushmore, Dinosaurs’ Park, and a great picnic.  At the end of the week, we helped them make some rhubarb and strawberry pies for World Youth day’s fund raising, and tasted them too  at a few gatherings. Great pie indeed! I hope they raise enough funds for the trip!

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