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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Experiencing and Learning to Love
Thirteen girls, including five new students, participate in Regnum Christi IC Summer Program

ICP students
Rene Blackwell (left) and Valerie Fifelski (right) flank some of the students from the Immaculate Conception program

"It’s known as a place where students experience the love of God and learn how to love like Christ."

This is how the recently named director of the Immaculate Conception (IC) program, Valerie Fifelski, described the group’s summer activities that took from June 25 until July 17, 2013, at the Queen of the Family Retreat Center in Oxford, Michigan.

The IC program is for girls who are considering pursuing discernment to the consecrated life in Regnum Christi.  Five new girls joined the eight returning students for the summer program.

"After all the thought, discussions and planning we put into this upcoming year, and the summer program in particular, I am so glad to see that Our Lord continues blessing each of these young women through this work, which is his instrument," said Valerie. "It’s wonderful to see how clearly He guides each of us step by step along His path toward fulfillment and joy."

Valerie is assisted in overseeing the IC program by directive team members Rene Blackwell and Katie Tuttle.

“We ran the summer program with assistance from the returning students, who lead many of the activities,” said Valerie. “Our team focused on
ICP students get ice cream
IC summer program students on an ice cream outing. In the front row are IC program directive team members Valerie Fifelski (left) and Katie Tuttle (second from the right).
providing all the girls with opportunities to help them encounter Christ in a personal way, to make a positive impact on others through outreach, and to learn about themselves and what the IC program is all about."

The summer program included training in ECyD program methodology, and girls enjoyed many apostolic experiences and team building opportunities, including hosting a day out with almost 80 under-privileged children and four sisters from the Missionaries of Charity. 

Activities were designed to promote a “family atmosphere” and to help build lasting friendships.  The girls when on an overnight camping trip, competed in daily sports, went bike riding and on outings for ice cream.

To celebrate the 4th of July holiday, the girls also visited students from Everest Collegiate High School (Clarkston, Michigan) where the IC program students attend school during the school year.

They also participated in daily courses focusing on prayer and the spiritual life.

“They focus on who they are in the eyes of God as a Christian and a friend of Jesus,” said Valerie.  “Our goal is to help them get a clear perspective on discernment – on ways they can discern both in the bigger matters of life, and in the smaller day-to-day matters.  The outline for
Picnic lunch
the all of the courses can be summarized as learning about God, about yourself and about your response to God.”

To help the students connect with God through prayer, the girls participated in “dynamic” Eucharistic adoration hours, meditations and Gospel reflections, with the goal of achieving “experiential” or deep prayer.

One of the new program participants, Mariana Lacouture, said of her summer experience. “The program was an answer to my prayers because I wanted a place where I could grow in my faith and discern my vocation with spiritual guidance (mentoring) and people who support me.”

Sarah Harlan, a graduate from the IC program, was invited back for a day-long course called “Life Lessons on the Universal Themes of Love.” 

“I love seeing everyone again,” she said. “It’s really helpful for me to come back, experience this environment again, and remind myself of what I want to keep when I am back at home – my prayer life and the relationships I made here.”
On the beach

The IC directive team would like to thank Elizabeth Stromberg for her help and support in running part of the summer program as well.

Stay updated with all the exciting things happening in the IC program by liking them on Facebook at



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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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