In 2019, FCJ sisters across Asia organized groups of young people for a year-long formation program that was supposed to culminate in an Asia-wide Youth Leadership Camp (YLC) to be held in Indonesia during the FCJ Bicentenary (1820-2020). The COVID-19 pandemic meant that the culmination event could not happen, but the friendships and growth experienced by the participants over the course of the YLC program in their own home countries still bore fruit in many ways.
Read this reflection by Charline, a YLC participant in Manila, on the experience of the monthly formation sessions and the three-day camp in March 2021.
⚡⚡⚡ RECHARGED ⚡⚡⚡
By Charline Casas
2020 was a strenuous year for everybody. Nobody felt safe outside of their homes. Many people felt exhausted, alone and frightened. Some lost their livelihoods while others lost their loved ones.
After a year of isolation, the FCJ Youth Leadership Camp helped us to feel recharged. It allowed us to breathe in fresh air and cast out all of our fears and doubts. In a span of three days, we were reminded of how God has blessed us everyday abundantly. Being able to see the sun rise again was already a huge privilege that only few can experience and witness nowadays. The FCJ sisters created an avenue where the youth could safely and freely express their hopes and dreams as well as all their frustrations and tears without feeling restraint or judgment. It created a home away from home where young people could continuously grow and challenge each other to do things beyond their limitations and exceed their self-expectations.
This three day recollection helped us to realize that everyone has their own unique gem buried inside our hearts and all we have to do is to cultivate it and own it. It allowed us to recognize our strengths as well as accept our weaknesses. Regardless of differences in views of life, we chose to accept and respect our very own distinctions. We have learnt that there is beauty in being different and that everyone has the potential to lead. We have embraced the truth that leaders are both born and made. We are reminded that God has given us an enormous ability to inspire and influence other people.
The FCJ youth camp enabled us to re-evaluate the kind of life that we are leading. It reassured us that having companions as we continuously discovered and deepened our relationship with God was way better than journeying alone. Indeed, this camp has awakened our innermost desires and fueled the passion in our hearts.
Thank you FCJ sisters for allowing God to use your organization to reach out to the younger generation. Little by little you are making a huge impact in the lives of many young people through deepening their faith and journeying with them towards the discovery of the unknown. May God continue to bless your heart as you continue to do this work for the Lord.