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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Color the World:
Immaculate Conception Academy hosts the 46th Ancora convention

ancora prayer 1
Girls pray in the chapel at the Ancora convention.

By Margaret Antonio

Wakefield, Rhode Island – On November 10, 2011, 42 girls from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Louisiana, and Georgia traveled to Wakefield, Rhode Island for the annual November Ancora Convention. 

Every year, Immaculate Conception Academy, a high school for girls discerning consecrated life, hosts two weekend conventions and a summer camp for girls ages 11-17 and a Holy Week Triduum and Missions event for girls in 8th through 11th grade.

The theme of the November convention, “Color Your World,” intended to illustrate how the girls, by sharing their faith with others and learning to be who God made them to be, can impact the world around them.  Topics for the conferences and activities ranged from discovering one’s personality type and finding the right color to wear to sharing in the sacraments and acting as “apostles” for Christ.  Throughout the excitement of the weekend, the girls attended Mass every day, and had times of prayer and the opportunity for confession.  

On Saturday, the “Outreach Day,” the girls went to an inner-city parish in Providence, Rhode Island, to teach catechism classes.  One of the ICA students, Kelsey Sternhagen, shared a heartfelt experience.  She and her team told the class of 2nd graders about Heaven.  Most of the kids were very attentive.  However, Kelsey noticed one little boy sitting in the corner of the classroom who was extremely quiet and unresponsive. Surprisingly, he raised his hand and asked, “Will we really be happy in Heaven?”

“Of course,” Kelsey replied, “in Heaven we will all be happy.”

Then the boy confidently said, “Well, then I think Heaven is here, right now, in this classroom.”

“It was inspiring to see how a one-hour visit could make a difference in the lives of these kids,” said Kelsey. 

The experience also impacted the other girls on the convention.  They all agreed it was very gratifying to brighten the kids’ day and to teach them about the faith.

For many, it was a joy simply to have a chance to share their faith and have fun with friends.  Hayley Herbert, 16, from Louisiana said, “I’m so glad I came.  I wouldn’t trade the weekend for anything.”

The next Ancora convention themed “Do Not Be Afraid,” will take place in February, 2011. Two busloads of girls from the Midwest and across the country are already planning to attend.  For more information, go to or email the Ancora Headquarters at



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