World Youth Day 2019
“Here I am the Servant of the Lord!
Speak your Word in me and let your Will be done!”
Over the weekend of January 26, with the help of our Pawtucket neighbors, Sr. Angela Marie Clare and Sr. Leema Rose, our little community celebrated World Youth Day (WYD): “Panama in Boston”. Several different groups of young people, ages 15-21, the majority being women, came during different times of the weekend: students from local high schools and colleges including Harvard University, Boston University, and Regis College. The Regis College group included their newly founded club, “TBC” (Together for a Better Community) with a plan to begin volunteering in our home. On Friday, we had four young women with us, one of whom came from Boston University and whose name is Marcella! Surely notre chère Petite Soeur Marcella had something to do with that! The weekend began with an introduction to WYD. We watched a brief history of WYD and a promotional video, and we had a presentation on the patron saints of the weekend. During our introduction, we had a surprise visit from a priest friend of the home, Fr. Stephen Linehan, who gave a lovely testimony of his experience with the Sisters; his mother, Betty, passed away last year in the home. Later in the evening, we prayed Evening Prayer together. Our chaplain, Fr. Patrick Universal, joined us for supper and recounted interesting stories about his time in the missions as a member of the Society of St. James. The night ended with a prayerful holy hour and Night Prayer.
Saturday was a full day, with about 40 young people coming and going in groups throughout the day. We began with a profound presentation from a newly ordained priest, Fr. Andrea Povero, which featured the Disney movie, The Lion King. He brought with him a deacon and seminarian who help at his parish (St. Thomas Aquinas in Jamaica Plain). Fr. Andrea used the movie to help deepen our understanding of a person’s relationship both with our earthly father and our Father in Heaven. In every life there will inevitably be suffering, heartache, and grief. Fr. Andrea reminded us of the importance of a life of FAITH. When we have God, our Father, then we find meaning in life. Our faith makes us strong and helps us to endure when we look to Jesus on the Cross. Even if we turn from God, He is always waiting to welcome us back to Him. Fr. Andrea was able to pull in his own personal experiences in life and connect them with this theme. The young people enjoyed learning from a movie they were familiar with and Fr. Andrea’s sense of humor was a big help as well! Following the presentation, we all went upstairs for Mass, celebrated by Fr. Andrea, who gave a homily directed especially to our young visitors. He encouraged them to turn to the Father with all of their issues and sufferings: Christ doesn’t promise to take away sufferings, but he does promise to be with us during our sufferings. After Mass, we split up to give tours of the home, and then we went to lunch. During lunch, we were able to mingle and interact with the young people. Later on in the meal, we listened to an impactful testimony from one of our Residents, Nancy Brissette, about her life of faith. Following that was an excellent testimony from our novice, Sr. Anastasia Grace and finally, a touching presentation on our Mother Foundress, St. Jeanne Jugan, given by Sr. Elizabeth Anne Mary. Several of the groups had to leave early, so our evening was spent with the remaining six young women. Fr. Andrea heard confessions throughout the afternoon, and he and his deacon stayed with us for Evening Prayer and supper. After supper, we watched the Holy Father’s address during the vigil with the youth. Before going to Night Prayer, we all took turns guessing at where the next WYD would be. We found out the following day via an announcement that it would be in Portugal, much to the delight of many of our employees here in Somerville!
Sunday was a quiet day spent together. The six young women still with us spent time in the morning with the Residents, watching the Pope’s Mass in Panama and then met with a few Sisters to discuss the weekend. They gave helpful advice and spoke about how enlightening the weekend was for them. Before Mass that morning the young women then led a meditative rosary, and since some of them could pray in different languages, we had a multi-lingual rosary together! Several of the young women graciously joined our choir, while others did the readings and took part in the Offertory Procession. Our visitors then joined the Sisters in the different dining rooms for the meal service, after which we ate lunch in the auditorium and played a short game together where we ended up in pairs, promising to pray for our partner. Shortly after, our weekend ended. We pray that many more of our youth will discover the beauty of our life and open their hearts to the possibility of a religious vocation.