“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.”

Regina — USA