From 20th to the 22nd January, our community of Gumbo organized for the first time, a seminar for the young girls of the Parish, aged between 12 and 19. The theme of the seminar – “In company with Laura” – was a lived experience for all the 43 participants, who arrived with their baggage to spend the weekend with Laura and the sisters. We were very happy and welcoming and available to their needs. As they arrived in groups from 10am, they got themselves registered and acquainted to the premises. Soon after lunch, Sr. Rosaria with Ornella, one of our volunteers, animated a few games which they enjoyed to the full.
At 4pm Sr. Rosaria officially welcomed the group and gave an introductory talk. She made them realize that our lives are full of “ Whys”, to which we don’t always find answers but we are asked to live the present moment fully and to treasure it. The future will fill in the rest of the answers to our “whys”.
During this weekend seminar, the various speakers passed on different messages. Sr. Teresa Manakalayatt explained well the life of Laura Vicuña, through video clips, talks and group discussions; Fr. Alfred Ladu, the Parish Priest of St. Joseph’s parish spoke about family life and the importance of a woman in the family; Mrs Marcellina Begna shared her experience, as a woman who faces many challenges and she helped the girls to reflect on how to cope with their realities. In the group discussions the girls really worked hard: one could see it clearly because when they arrived they knew nothing about Laura Vicuna (since there was no presence of Salesian sisters in Juba) but after listening to the story of Laura they came to know and love her. It was during the discussion time that they cleared all the many doubts they had.
On the eve of the feast of Laura all of the girls made their confession, because they wanted to be like Laura ready to receive Jesus with a clean heart.
The 22nd January dawned with the sound of music and gratitude in their hearts. During the Eucharistic celebration of the Mass, Fr. Dominic the our parish Priest, spoke about the life Laura ones more. After Mass we had the last few games followed by festive lunch, where all were satisfied. At 3pm we gathered together around Laura to evaluate the weekend, all the girls expressed their appreciation of the talks, meals and the videos watched at evening time. Many of them voiced their gratitude to the sisters for having such seminar and they promised that they would share all the good advises they received with the others who did not come. They bade good bye to the sisters and the volunteers and left the premises with the souvenir of Blessed Laura Vicuña, sweets and their prizes desiring to be back again for another seminar in the future.
We thank God for them.