Regnum Christi

girls

6-8th Grade Girls ECYD South Regional Convention

  • Title: Hearts on Fire
  • Subtitle: Were Not Our Hearts Burning Within Us? Apostles of the Eucharist
  • Formation Theme:  Jesus our best friend stays with us in the Eucharistic and invites us to bring others into friendship with him. He shares his mission to bring his love to others.
  • Activities Include: Formation experiences, crafts, games, crazy fun night activities, team time, daily Mass, adoration and guided prayers, opportunity for confession and one-on-one spiritual mentoring, outdoor fun, meeting other ECYD girls from around the South Region of the US and more!   
    The activities are led by ECYD team leaders from Louisiana, Atlanta and Houston, adult volunteers, Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi and the Legionaries of Christ.
  • 5:30pm arrival (dinner   included) and departure is after 11:30am Mass on Sunday
  • Step 1: Complete Registration by October  1st 
  • Step 2: Pay fee $190.  Traveling a distance?  Stay an extra night at Bocamb for  $35.
  • Questions: [email protected]

ECYD events are volunteer operated!  Please help make them happen!

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“Nun-Run” Takes Girls To Visit Five Religious Orders Across Three States In Three Days

Catholic parents are called to help their children discern God’s will for their lives, whether that be marriage or the religious life. But many Catholic girls, especially in North America, have never seen religious sisters or nuns in everyday life, and have very little knowledge of what daily religious and consecrated life even entails. How can they discern a religious vocation when they don’t even know what they are discerning, when they’ve never witnessed it? And if they do feel the call to religious life, how will they know where to seek the opportunities that await them?

 

These are the questions that Regnum Christi member Donna McCall, who has two teenage daughters, recently faced. Unlike most girls their age, Donna’s daughters, ages 14 and 16, were fortunate to have daily contact with nuns, having attended a school run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, and spend time with the Sisters of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. These early experiences created in her girls a desire to learn more about religious orders, so Donna decided to organize a “Nun-Run,” where girls could visit several different religious orders in just a few days.

 

Donna and her daughters enlisted the help of Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi, Natalia Santos, who serves as the ECYD Girls Director in Atlanta. Together, the two contacted religious orders in the area, and eventually arranged to visit five different congregations in Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama. Free lodging was provided by generous Regnum Christi families in the Nashville and Birmingham areas, who offered up their home or paid for hotel accommodations for the group. In the end, Donna and Natalia, with the help of a mom who generously offered to drive the group in her 15-passenger van, took five girls to five different religious orders in three different states over three and a half days.

 

The Nun-Run began on Friday morning at the home of the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi in Cumming, Georgia, with Mass and breakfast. From there, the group headed to Nashville, Tennessee, to visit the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. Upon arrival, they went on a tour of the Motherhouse and learned about the order’s over 150-year history. Following the tour, the girls visited, asked questions, and heard the vocation story of one of the sisters, all over cookies. The group spent evening prayers with the sisters before heading to their first host family’s home for dinner.

 

On Saturday morning, after delicious blueberry muffins provided by their Regnum Christi host family, the group travelled south to the Casa Maria Convent and Retreat House of the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word in Irondale, Alabama. This being a retreat weekend at the convent, the girls got to see the sisters’ Franciscan and Dominican faith in action, and participated in confession, Mass, communal prayer, adoration, and a retreat talk, which, providentially, focused on following God’s plan for one’s life. They also received a tour of the property and learned about the community’s history, and during lunch and dinner with the sisters, the girls heard vocation stories and had an opportunity to ask questions.

 

Sunday morning took the group to Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama to meet with Sister Mary Jacinta, Vocations Director of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration. Here, the group was blessed to speak with a cloistered nun, who surprised them all when she pulled out her laptop to share a picture presentation she had created for them about daily life in the cloister. Before leaving the monastery, they visited the grave of Mother Angelica, who herself was a nun of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, walked the grounds of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and prayed at the replica of the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes there.

 

The group headed back to Georgia in time for Sunday evening Mass, after which they returned to the consecrated women’s home where the girls baked cookies with the consecrated and had dinner. They also had the opportunity to hear vocation stories and ask questions, have a tour of the home, and experience adoration and night prayers with the community, as well as stay the night in one of the rooms where the Regnum Christi missionaries live during the year.

 

On Monday morning, the group headed to the Gift of Grace House in downtown Atlanta, a home for women suffering from AIDS run by the Missionaries of Charity. Here, the girls visited the AIDS home and visited with patients. They also prayed in the chapel, held a relic of St. Teresa of Calcutta, toured the grounds, and were able to spend time with one of the sisters, who shared her vocation testimony and many entertaining stories about life as a Missionary of Charity and her encounters with Mother Teresa. After their visit at the Gift of Grace House, the group returned to the consecrated women’s home for Mass before heading home.

 

For Donna, the highlight of this activity-filled trip was watching the girls have potentially and fundamentally life-changing encounters with Christ. “Regardless of why these five girls came, they left spiritually changed in a very beautiful way, and whether or not any of these girls end up joining a religious order, this was a trip of a lifetime, and it will stay with them all of their lives,” says Donna. “For these five girls, nuns, consecrated, and religious sisters are no longer just some super holy women – they’re really cool regular people who have a deep personal relationship with Christ and who fully and completely give themselves to God.”

 

Since the first weekend-long Nun-Run, plans for more are already in the works, and at the end of June, Donna accompanied a group of eight young women on the first Nun-Run day trip, facilitated by Sister Mariam of the Hawthorne Dominicans of St. Rose of Lima. The group visited Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in downtown Atlanta, where the sisters care for terminally ill cancer patients who cannot afford care elsewhere. The group toured the hospital and grounds, talked with patients, and had a Holy Hour, and then had lunch with the sisters where they were able to learn more about the order, ask questions, and hear vocation stories, including the testimony from one sister was once a blackjack dealer in Vegas!

 

And Donna is not stopping there – she feels a great call to continue the Nun-Run ministry, and plans to host at least three day trips and one weekend trip every year. “There is a great need for young ladies to experience religious orders,” says Donna. “It is so hard in today’s society to not feel weird or out of place when seeking God’s will, and seeing others doing the same thing helps the girls feel less alone. They can talk with each other about their shared experiences, and help each other along the way.”

 

Although the nun-runs are an excellent opportunity for girls to experience religious life and can be a step in their process of discerning what vocation God is calling them to, Donna believes that the journey of discernment begins at home. “I think one of the most important things, besides taking our kids to adoration and praying as a family, is simply making vocations a normal option for our children,” says Donna. “We prepare them for the sacrament of marriage daily because they see that lived out in the home. We talk with them about their careers, and we take them on college tours or help them find a trade school or a military recruitment office. But very few families think to introduce their kids to religious orders, or take them to monasteries or convents, and chances are, the kids never thought about it because no one ever asked them. It’s important that we introduce them to this possibility.”

 

Donna and her husband, Chris, have been married for 21 years, and have five children ages 15 months to 16 years. Both having grown up as Air Force brats, Donna and Chris had lived numerous places throughout their lives, before meeting in Virginia and settling down in Georgia, where they now live in Canton, just north of Atlanta. A few years after their marriage, Donna converted to the Catholic faith, and she joined Regnum Christi in 2018.

 

Donna would love to see the Nun-Run ministry spread across North America! If you are interested in hosting a Nun-Run in your own area and would like some advice on how to get started, feel free to contact Donna at [email protected].

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Hearing His Heartbeat: A video series to help young people listen and respond to the voice of God

When Jacquie Lustig, a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi living and serving in Cincinnati, first discovered the writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola during her early years of formation, a dream began to grow inside of her. Once she began her role as the ECYD Girls Director in the Ohio Valley, spending most of her time mentoring junior high and high school girls, that dream – to translate the Rules of Discernment of St. Ignatius into everyday language that everyone can appreciate and understand – only became stronger the more she listened to young women talk about their experiences of seeking God.

Jacquie’s many conversations with young women on how to navigate the spiritual life, and reject the lies that keep them from hearing God, confirmed to her the need for an understanding of discernment that could be accessible to all, particularly the youth she was serving. After these conversations, witnessing how learning about discernment and how to hear the voice of God gave the young women she was ministering to the freedom and space to be able to connect with God in a healthy and natural way, she would often walk away wondering, ‘How on earth can I get this to more of them?’.

The answer to this question came to her with the arrival of Ilona Kies, a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi who joined the Cincinnati community in the summer of 2020. Before that, Ilona had worked in Germany in the areas of media work and catechesis, and in 2018, she obtained her bachelor’s degree in media design in Cologne. And Ilona’s education and expertise was just what Jacquie needed to make her dream a reality. “Ilona heard about my dream and literally sat me down in front of a camera and told me, ‘Just talk to me, Jacquie!’.” Together, they created the Hearing His Heartbeat video discernment series, which presents the ideas of the Ignatian Rules of Discernment in language and themes that are relevant and easily applicable to young people today.

One of the greatest challenges to discernment that young people face today is real doubt and uncertainty about how to “hear God” in the first place, which can lead to discouragement and confusion, and Jacquie hopes that the Hearing His Heartbeat series will help:

“Sometimes we try super hard to find God, feeling like we aren’t sure if we’re ‘getting it right’. It’s kind of like walking around life with question marks swirling around our spiritual experiences: ‘Was that God?’, ‘Can God even talk to me?’. I hope that through the videos, people catch a whiff of the truth that God wants them to hear his voice, and wants them to feel and be free!”

The Hearing His Heartbeat discernment series consists of six videos designed to help young people become aware of the voice of God in their own hearts and respond to him fully in their everyday lives, but would be helpful for all people who might be seeking more freedom and connection in their relationship with God. The videos offer practical skills for the spiritual life designed to increase the viewers’ knowledge and faith that they have everything they need to hear God’s voice and respond to him in a healthy and natural way. There are also printable journal prompts available in the show notes to guide viewers in applying some of the messages they have received to their own lives in a concrete way.

“Truth really matters, and the truth is, God is sometimes simpler than we give him credit for,” says Jacquie. “Hopefully these videos make a little step forward in teaching some of those simple truths about the voice of God that can lead to a deeper freedom in the heart.”

And for Jacquie, that moment when the young women she is serving discover not only that God is speaking to them, but also that they can truly hear him, is a priceless gift that she feels humbled to be a part of:

“It is impressive, in so many ways and forms, that a soul already knows the voice of God inside her . Sometimes, all it takes is just a few words, or the right question, to unlock that security in them. But always, always, that girl’s deeper heart knows the voice of God. And it’s just such a gift to help her listen to him and believe in his voice.”

Currently, Jacquie is rounding out her ninth year of serving young women and their families through ECYD in Cincinnati. She is also continuing in the theme of discernment, working with a team that is creating an ECYD summer camp for middle school and high school girls that focuses on the voice of God and what he sounds like in their everyday lives. Besides the local work that she loves, Jacquie’s newest surprise has been the assignment to support consecrated vocations work as Assistant Vocations Director. “I am already enjoying working on a wider team of consecrated women in love with God, and have felt many new sparks of life in this recent addition to my life and mission!”

To watch the Hearing His Heartbeats discernment series, visit the ECYD Ohio Valley YouTube channel. You can also donate to this and future initiatives of the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi in Cincinnati by following this link.

 

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Pinecrest Academy Challenge Girls Club serves the most vulnerable in Atlanta

The Pinecrest Challenge Girls Club is a service-based, apostolic ECYD after school club at Pinecrest Academy, a private preK-12 Catholic School in Cumming, Georgia. The group meets regularly in teams to grow in friendship with Christ and with each other, and to undertake apostolic projects to serve their community throughout the year. And this year, the club has spent time learning about, praying for, and serving on of downtown Atlanta’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations.

This past fall, Angie Doxtader, a Pinecrest mom and Challenge Club leader, shared with the Challenge girls about a very important ministry located in the heart of the city of Atlanta, called Out of Darkness. Out of Darkness is a chapter of the anti-trafficking ministry of Frontline Ministry, a Christian-based non-profit organization headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. This much-needed ministry seeks to assist victims of sex trafficking by providing outreach, rescue, and emergency safe housing, and to help to transition men, women, and children out of homelessness. 

After its founding in January of 2014, Out of Darkness began its initial ministry out of local truck stops: educating truck-drivers on how to recognize, prevent, and report sex trafficking across the United States. Shortly after this important ministry was launched, Out of Darkness established a second ministry called Princess Night, which seeks to break the cycle of sex trafficking by sharing the message of God’s love, hope and restoration with the women they encounter. Several Friday evenings a month, adult volunteers go out to neighborhoods rampant with street prostitution to build relationships with the women they meet and to ultimately offer these women an opportunity to escape the bondage of sex slavery and embrace physical and spiritual freedom. Since then, Out of Darkness has added further outreach initiatives, such as a jail ministry, hotline, and, importantly, a new Transitional House that offers a home environment, staff and volunteers, community, and the additional support necessary for the women to gain the skills and confidence needed to gradually move towards independent living.

In the fall, Angie, who volunteers for Out of Darkness, shared with the seventh and eighth grade Pinecrest Academy Challenge girls a short video about two of the women who have benefitted from the ministry, and how they discovered the love of God through others at the shelter. Immediately, the Challenge girls were interested in serving the women at the Transitional House, and decided to work together to make a meal to be delivered to the women in the home. After school one day, they shopped for all the supplies (with the help of their moms) to make a delicious lasagna meal, complete with salad and dessert. This meal was then dropped off at Angie’s home, who delivered it to the Transitional Home downtown. Since confidentiality is an essential part of the Out of Darkness ministry, the girls never visited the Transitional Home themselves, nor met the women staying there; they know only that it was delivered to the safe house in downtown Atlanta along with their messages of love and their prayers for them, and that the women who received it, women who had grown accustomed to being dehumanized, abused, and rejected, greatly appreciated this act of service, kindness, and love that was meant just for them.

“What impressed me about this little service project was that it was simple enough for the 12- and 13-year-olds to do; they learned to cook (which is a necessary skill), they worked together, and everyone had a part to play towards this common goal of serving those in need,” says Denise Madgey, president of the Pinecrest Academy Challenge Club. In addition to teamwork, service, and charity, the girls learned about the dangers of trafficking, and that the decisions that they make in life have real consequences. They were also able to pray for these women and accompany them spiritually.”

Although the service project was relatively simple, Denise knows that this small initiative will have lasting effects. In fact, the girls enjoyed this service project so much that the Challenge group decided to include it as part of their Holy Week Missions and prepared another meal which Angie graciously delivered. “Sometimes it’s the little everyday acts of charity that make the biggest difference.”

To find out more about the Challenge Girls Club or to find a club in your area, visit their website at challengeyouthministry.com. 

To learn more about Frontline Response, of which Out of Darkness is a chapter, visit their website at frontlineresponse.org, or consider joining the Responder Community here.

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Spiritual Weekend Getaway for Moms and Adult Daughters

The Regnum Christi young woman’s section of Almagro (in South-East Madrid, Spain) organized an event for young women to have a weekend away with their moms.

Thirteen young women between 18 and 29 signed up to spend the weekend with their mothers in Avila, Spain, home of St. Theresa. Paty López, age 29, who runs an event agency, spoke about it. She concluded, “I recommend this event to all mothers and daughters, and encourage them to leave their fears aside and launch into this adventure of getting to know each other more, sharing, forgiving, and spending quality time and many laughs together.”

Paty explained the history, “This new spiritual adventure getaway began five years ago with two Regnum Christi consecrated women who have been accompanying young people for a long time, Tere Rodríguez and Cecilia Ruiloba. They began to consider the possibility of a weekend with mothers and daughters. After much prayer, trusting in God to know that He was going to choose the right moment, and with enlightenment from the Holy Spirit; they decided to do it.”

Paty explained the goal and planning a little more: “The weekend was intended for young women from the Almagro section, between 18 and 29 years old, so that we could have some time with our mothers. The relationship with a mother is fundamental and, many times, it can be wounded by both parties, so it is an important thing to work on. Deepening in this relationship and addressing these hurts is something that is not often done, and it has a very positive impact since it gives a deeper personal security, spiritual and personal growth, and also helps to bring forgiveness.”

Paty noted that her team of RC young women got the ball rolling, “With great enthusiasm, we signed up 13 young women who, in turn, invited their mothers to spend the weekend with us. Some of the mothers traveled to Avila from their areas of residence: Barcelona, ​​Madrid, and Córdoba. It has been two and a half days squeezed to the fullest. We have been able to share, mothers and daughters have gotten to know each other better, we toured Ávila, played team games, had times of prayer and encounters with Christ, and had the opportunity to meet other mothers and others young women from the Almagro section.”

Paty continued, “It has been a joy to see our mothers so excited, and to see the entire team so enthusiastic and enjoying every moment, every activity. It is incredible to see how, in just one weekend, you can create so much deep unity with each other, where people who were complete strangers have ended up having a beautiful friendship and wanting to continue keeping in touch. We have had a true  atmosphere of trust, joy, and fun times.”

She noted, “The daughters were very happy to be able to teach our mothers about the charism of Regnum Christi, what we do in our section of Almagro, what an Encounter with Christ is, how we enjoy our Regnum Christi family, and the joy we feel from keep Christ present in our lives.”

Paty when on to explain how Regnum Christi had helped her, “It has personally helped me make a break in the week and in my life, to see everything with a spiritual perspective and to share it with Jesus. It has also been a gift to be able to live it with my mother, Isabel. We love spending time together but, in the end because of the whirlwind of day to day life, we do not often have the opportunity to enjoy moments like these. I loved that my mother met the Consecrated Women, my friends and their mothers. My family is Catholic but, except for my cousin, no one else belongs to Regnum Christi, so I am happy that my mother was able to know a bit about what RC is.”

Paty concluded, “Without a doubt, I recommend to all mothers and daughters who are considering making this weekend that they leave their fears aside and launch into this adventure of knowing each other more deeply, sharing, and forgiving.”

The original is on the Regnum Christi site of Spain.

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Alex Kucera

Atlanta

Alex Kucera has lived in Atlanta, GA, for the last 46 years. He is one of 9 children, married to his wife Karmen, and has 3 girls, one grandson, and a granddaughter on the way. Alex joined Regnum Christi in 2007. Out of the gate, he joined the Helping Hands Medical Missions apostolate and is still participating today with the Ghana Friendship Mission.

In 2009, Alex was asked to be the Atlanta RC Renewal Coordinator for the Atlanta Locality to help the RC members with the RC renewal process. Alex became a Group Leader in 2012 for four of the Atlanta Men’s Section Teams and continues today. Running in parallel, in 2013, Alex became a Team Leader and shepherded a large team of good men.

Alex was honored to be the Atlanta Mission Coordinator between 2010 to 2022 (12 years), coordinating 5-8 Holy Week Mission teams across Georgia. He also created and coordinated missions at a parish in Athens, GA, for 9 years. Alex continues to coordinate Holy Week Missions, Advent Missions, and Monthly missions at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Cumming, GA.

From 2016 to 2022, Alex also served as the Men’s Section Assistant in Atlanta. He loved working with the Men’s Section Director, the Legionaries, Consecrated, and Women’s Section leadership teams.

Alex is exceptionally grateful to the Legionaries, Consecrated, and many RC members who he’s journeyed shoulder to shoulder, growing his relationship with Christ and others along the way. He knows that there is only one way, that’s Christ’s Way, with others!