by Regina, Alumna
“Memorial Day Weekend, I, along with eight of my fellow Heart’s Home alumni, had the annual gift of attending the Alumni Weekend. Though I had a bad head cold all weekend, it couldn’t dampen the joy that filled our three days together. It seems a bit silly, but I was actually grateful to be sick in such a beautiful environment. Had I been sick anywhere else, I would have been miserable! The weekend was filled with all things I have come to associate with Heart’s Home: new friendships and the deepening of old ones, stories from all around the globe, endless laughter, and a constant, gentle peace. Throughout the weekend there were times of prayer and reflection, daily Mass and rosary, sumptuous meals filled with more food than all twenty of us could consume in a weekend, opportunities for visits to friends in the neighborhood, and, for me, a rediscovery of my vocation to this mission. Sunday brought us upstate to the ICCC for a day of more delicious food (a key characteristic of Heart’s Home), games and rest, walks in the woods, and most importantly, the commitment of Katie and Peter to the Fraternity of St. Maximillian Kolbe.
In the week leading up to Memorial Day the Brooklyn community invited all of us to join them in the “Veni Creator Spiritus” novena to the Holy Spirit. Sr. Regine also suggested that we each find a word or verse in the prayer that spoke to us. Saturday morning found us all seated on folding chairs in the basement – the only room that would fit all of us – to share how we saw the Holy Spirit reflected in our daily lives through that word or verse. As I listened to my fellow missionaries I became aware of a sense of affirmation and assurance. In my head I heard the words, “You have done well, my good and faithful servant”. All year I had made little weekend trips from Philly to Brooklyn, getting my “Heart’s Home fix” as I like to call it. I would regain my focus on my mission and then hope that I could hold onto it until my next little weekend excursion. The Heart’s Home mission, though simple and brilliant, can prove to be challenging and I had been so disappointed in myself for all of the times I “failed” in my mission. Yet as I listened to the struggle and perseverance of my fellow missionaries, I was filled with joy and relief. I saw their daily lives, their daily struggles, reflected in my own and suddenly my “failures” no longer mattered! I realized that I continued to strive each day to Love. I think that’s why each of us returned to Heart’s Home that weekend. Not only because it was the place where we learned to Love, but because we continue to live that Love. Sitting on my folding chair, listening to my brothers and sisters of the Heart’s Home family, I silently renewed my mission vows. I was not only refocused, but re-centered, with new ambition, new ideas, and new ways to live out Christ’s Love in an even greater way than I did in Ukraine.”