by Mara W.
My time at orientation with Heart’s Home was very full - full of formation, prayer, laughs, friendship, and beauty. I was struck by the goodness, beauty, and freedom that so tangibly exists when people deeply care for one another - in essence, when people love one another. I saw this love expressed in many ways, but one that stuck out to me especially is the attention to detail or “hospitality of heart” that us “newbies” were introduced to. The flowers on the bedside table, the carefully chosen music we listened to at breakfast, the delicious and beautiful meals prepared by the talented sisters, the all around attentiveness to the needs of one another - these are just examples of the ways Heart’s Home acknowledges the dignity and beauty within those they encounter. It opened my eyes to a million little things I can do to make others know they are loved and valued. Another important thing I learned during orientation is the value of silence. Each morning we had breakfast in silence, each day we had an hour Eucharistic adoration, and we even had a “desert” day, an entire day spent in silence. St. Theresa of Calcutta says, “In the silence of the heart, God speaks.” I learned the role physical silence can have in cultivating silence in my heart and spirit, which allows me to be more attentive to God’s heart and the movement of His Holy Spirit. I grew and was stretched in so many beautiful ways during my two weeks of orientation, and I cannot even begin to imagine the ways the Lord is going to stretch me and mold me while I’m in Ecuador! Although I know it will be a challenge, I can’t wait to experience what He has waiting for me there and learn what else He wants to teach me!