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Turn to Jesus (Article)

“Christ wanted me to be here.”
Michigan coworker’s experience was “best summer” of her life.

Clare and fellow ECYD coworkers
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 testimony.

I have wanted to be an ECYD coworker since I was ten years old.  This summer I got my wish.

The 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 and holy!

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.



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