It looks for it in places it shouldn’t; places that do more harm than good to the searching souls who acknowledge the empty space in their hearts. For it is only in Christ that this beauty can be found.
As Catholics, followers of Christ and his Church, we know this to be true. But how to carry this gift into the world?
Captivenia, a Catholic, Medieval girl’s summer camp, located in Turner Valley, Alberta, is dedicated to unveiling the beauty of Christ in the feminine genius. Young girls are shown the value of the specific and unique mission that they are called to carry out: to show the world just how powerful and lovely a woman’s heart is when filled with the love and light of our King.
2016 marked the 6th year since Captivenia was founded. The theme of this past year’s camp was “Courageous Mercy,” echoing the Pope’s declaration of this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Those who dedicated their time and talents to Captivenia as Team members and Meresera (mothers) worked enthusiastically to bring this theme to life for the Maidens (aged 9-12) and Bellesera (counselors aged 13-17).
The extraordinary theatrical scenes that the camp is centered around lent itself to this mission in a large way. Throughout the week, many of the scenes gave the girls the opportunity to experience—and at times, even practice—the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, presented in the form of an epic and insightful storyline. As one Theatrics team member remarked: “It’s quite amazing to see the girls interact with an intense representation of the constant battle between good and evil. The grasp they have on the parallels between the events that occur in Captivenia and the things they experience in their own lives it quite astounding, and I am constantly in awe of how The King works in their souls through the story that we tell!”
The theatrical aspect of Captivenia is not the only way that the campers are immersed in the camp’s medieval theme. During camp, the Maidens and Bellesera increase their proficiency in various areas, including Archery, the “Gauntlet” (an obstacle course) and “Proclesious” (Frisbee), in preparation for the Tournament which takes place every year. These activities create a strong bond of sisterhood, as the girls encourage and build up their teammates, and are quick to show compassion to their fellow competitors. And finally, at the end of the week, the girls are invited to a banquet which demonstrates the love and generosity that the King shows to his daughters; an event which is highly anticipated by everyone!
All of these experiences and activities are made to point to the very heart of this apostolate: That each and every feminine heart that enters through the gates of Captivenia might experience Christ’s love. Whether it is through the opportunities to receive the sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and confession, through the nightly adoration, through the songs that are constantly being sung in praise of the King, or through the inspiring talks given by the Priests, Consecrated, and Team members; the Holy Spirit moves and stirs the hearts of all.
Chelsey Stasuik, a young team member, summarizes the camp’s impact well: “Captivenia truly is a miraculous kingdom where young women can step out of the pressures and vices of the world to experience the King in a free and unshrouded way.”
Christ is fully and unmistakably present in the land of Captivenia, and it is evident that those who enter are irreversibly touched by the love and beauty that radiates from this haven.
For more information on the camp, please visit www.captivenia.com