Weekend for girls (8 – 13 years)
in Heiligenstadt – Little Paradise
I am Sr. M. Jacky-Ann Burmeister from South Africa, and I would like to let you participate a little bit in a weekend which I have held together with four very awesome leaders ages 15 to17 in the “Little Paradise”. They had asked in advance whether a sister could support them in building up the MJF (Girls Youth) in the diocese of Erfurt.
I was very curious to see how all this would work out. It was my first longer journey to work outside Schoenstatt with young girls who would see me for the first time.
Already on Friday evening the “ice” was broken when I met the two leaders who had come earlier. They were joyful, responsible and full of enthusiasm.
The first girls arrived at 5 pm and it was a big hello at the greeting and the reunion. When I saw the children and reflected on them, I only prayed that this time together would be fruitful for the young people and also for me.
During the first meal it was a little quiet at first, no talking, no laughing … But after everyone got their food, it was as if someone had turned on a light switch and the volume increased and stayed that way for the whole two days.
“Crown on and dance!”
this motto of the SchoenstattMJF was our theme for this weekend.
On the first evening we only played games to get to know each other – that was good for the girls, but also for me as a sister.
During the evening, I took a little break in the back of the hall and observed the girls only when a girl came to me; she was about 10 years, and wanted to tell me something seriously: “You know, I love dark-skinned people, because they can dance and sing very beautifully“. I really had to control myself so as not to laugh out loud, because she said this very seriously. I could only thank her and hope that she would not be so disappointed when she sees me dancing and hears me singing.
I was pleasantly surprised how uncomplicated and real the children were. We finished our evening in our Shrine.
Saturday was packed with programs. In the morning we had a group on our theme: “Crown on and dance!” It was beautiful to see how the girls all had a small crown made of gold paper in their hair and proudly wore it – a royal feeling of life is emerging!
After lunch we had a break until 2:00 p.m. – and then the girls could come and bake and do handicrafts. I must say, I was very proud of our leaders; they had organized the children into two groups, and it was an afternoon full of joy, laughter, relaxation. Both sides, we and the children, really enjoyed this good togetherness.
After these actions there was of course a total chaos, which needed to be cleaned up: on one side there were scraps of cloth, yarn, buttons etc. and on the other side flour and dough everywhere you could look. But this chaos was a “small price” compared to the happiness the children radiated.
The parents of two girls who only came for this one day waited almost two hours for their children because they didn’t want to go home. They wanted to end the day with us. I admired these parents and I had great respect for them because they respected the children’s wishes and waited quietly for them. That is true love.
We ended our day with a beautiful torch and light walk to the Shrine.
It is already Sunday! Before and after Holy Mass we were busy tidying up – and after lunch we were already thinking about saying goodbye.
We went to the Shrine one last time to thank the Blessed Mother for this weekend and to take her blessing with us for our families and friends. I saw: the girls went home happy and content – and they really want to come back!
I would like to thank the four great young women who helped me this weekend. Sarah, Lucia, Jill and Zita,