|Clare (center, in light green) with some fellow ECYD coworkers.|
Oxford, Michigan -- Clare had a wonderful experience as an
ECYD coworker this past summer. In fact, she calls it
the “best summer of my life!” What follows is her
I have wanted to be an ECYD coworker since I
was ten years old. This summer I got my wish.
Regnum Christi Movement has always been a part of my
life. My family helped found the Legionary school, Pinecrest Academy,
in Atlanta. When I was 13, I joined Challenge and
later I incorporated into ECYD. While I was attending my
first summer convention, I met the ECYD coworkers sent to
Atlanta. They were the coolest people I had ever met.
They were not what I expected. They were fun, happy
Each summer I would meet more coworkers, and every
summer I would get more excited to become a coworker
myself. When my sister decided to become a coworker a
few years later, I was able to see how the
experience affected her. When she came home, she wasn’t the
same person. She was happier! Even I could tell she
had become more virtuous.
Then last summer, a few of my
friends and I were invited to a weekend with the
Atlanta ECYD coworkers to see what their daily life was
like. I loved it, and even decided what my dream
assignment destination would be. One of the coworkers, Sarah from
Michigan, started telling me about what the co-working summer was
like there. It sounded absolutely perfect! During the entire next
school year, I just waited for the summer to come.
I filled out an application (hinting heavily at the Oxford,
Michigan location) and grew more excited. In May, I found
out my destination was actually going to be Michigan, and
I couldn’t wait! I even started packing!
When I got to
Michigan, I found it was just as I hoped it
would be! The minute I arrived, I felt both joy
and freedom. I just had this indescribable feeling of peace.
I would later realize Christ wanted me to be here.
Within three days, I felt like I had known all
the girls there for years. God was really good to
me – I never got homesick at all. Every day
was better than the last. I got to help with
two Vacation Bible School camps, to spend a week with
Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s order, the Missionaries of Charity, at
their day camp for children, and I got to attend
the Challenge International Convention.
The International Convention was completely different from
any experience I had on conventions in the past. I
was the same age as most of the girls on
the convention, but this time I was a team leader,
which helped me become a leader among my peers. Since
all the convention activities were targeted at my age group,
I benefited from my participation, as well as helping the
other girls. The meditations were probably what influenced me most.
I so clearly recognized what Christ was telling me each
day. I know I have grown much closer to him,
especially in the Eucharist. All the girls and I loved
making spontaneous visits to the chapels.
These experiences not only were
fun, but they really helped me to grow in my
faith. I learned how to give of myself joyfully and
for love for others. I can really say that working
at the camps for children helped me develop the virtues
of enthusiasm, fortitude, and patience.
Through it all - the loud
car rides, the outings, and even the hard parts, like
working when we were exhausted, waking up early, doing housework
– I was happy.
The days before I returned home
were the only days that I felt any kind of
sadness, and that was just in knowing that it was
all coming to an end. I remember standing at the
airport looking across the security line at two consecrated, another
coworker, and an auxiliary for the last time, thinking, “Right
there is everything that made this summer what it was,
and I can’t take any of them with me.” But
I could take Christ. And I knew now that when
I truly try to do everything with Him and for
Him, He will give me happiness I can’t even imagine.