What goes on at a Vocation Orientation/Camp?

vietnam02The Vocation Orientation/Camp is one of the most significant activities the Daughters of Divine Zeal has as part of the Rogate family. So what actually goes on?

I reflect on the camp we had in the summer of 2012.  It was held in one parish which belonged to the Don Bosco community at K’ren, Dalat in Vietnam. It involved four days’ experience of prayer, reflection, knowing, discerning and sharing… I am always so grateful for the young people who answered our invitation, despite their hectic schedules. I know it would not have been an easy decision for them because nowadays living in silence and prayer is not their priority in life. This is understandable because the young people of today are so much influenced by the advancements in science and technology, and the global expansion of business and communication.  Yet, here were these few young ones who were willing to know, to  understand and to discover  their Vocation in life.

Arriving at the camp location, they were so amazed with what they found:  a place so silent and cool. It was near a mountain and most of the people around were indigenous to the area. The life was so simple and very peaceful. The parish priest (Fr Thuy, sdb) welcomed us and wished us all the best in our activities.

During the orientation the young people were introduced to different activities and the rules they had to follow while in the camp. We encouraged them to set aside some of their concerns and instead focus on prayer and reflection and open their hearts to really listen to the speakers, and while they wrote and shared their reflections.  It was for them a taste of living in a community and an opportunity to clarify the many questions they had on religious and priestly life.  The different speakers shared with them the merits of religious and priestly life, the importance of listening and the value of deepening prayer. We also shared with them the significance of ROGATE in our World today, the great legacy that our Father Founder handed to us. This is the mission that gives meaning to our every action as Daughters of Divine Zeal.  It was not hard for them to lend a listening heart to the speakers because they came from families of deep faith and devotion.

Listening to their sharing, the young people expressed the challenges they experienced with the realities of our world today:  a world of competition, capitalism, individualism, materialism and the fast developing means of social communications. The mentality of having to be IN and to HAVE IT is a very demanding aspect of their lives.  However, it was emphasised to them that life is a choice, and it is our choice that matters.  What is important is that the dignity of the person is valued.  God, indeed, is so good to all of us as He allows us to experience His goodness and love. It is our call to share this goodness and love of God to others especially to the poor and less fortunate in our world today.

And so, this is our way of helping these young people who are searching for the meaning of life and a vocation that is such a precious and priceless grace and gift from God.  Since it is a gift, so it is to be shared with others for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.  The camp allows them to understand the life that we have embraced and live through our daily witnessing as we travel on the road of sanctity, in the following of the Christ of the Rogate in every area of apostolate and task given to us, anywhere.  In our simple way of living we relate to others in the spirit of Rogate – for Rogate is our life and our DNA as Daughters of Divine Zeal and Rogationists.

At the end of the activities the young people had a chance to visit the churches and religious sites in Dalat, such as the Cathedral, Bishop’s House, Pastoral center and Don Bosco community, where we had our lunch and closing celebration.

Reflecting on this experience, I’m so grateful for the occasion of this encounter and accompanying these young people on their vocational discernment journey.  They help me grow in my own spiritual journey and in my relationship with others, regardless of the obvious differences of culture. I realize that it is in our good witnessing that we attract others to know and experience God’s love in their lives.  We never tire of saying:  SEND O LORD, HOLY APOSTLES INTO YOUR CHURCH!  Send them Lord, to more young people around the globe so that they, too, may know and love God and spread His good news!

Sr M Elmie Guilaran, fdz

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