"But Jesus said, Suffer the little children, and forbid them not,
to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." -Matthew 19:14
|Icon of Mattew 19:14, Icon housed at the Holy Trinity Kellia at St. Simeon Skete|
St. Simeon Skete is a place of solitude, prayer and silence. The sound of children playing, laughing and romping is not something you hear on a daily basis, nor is it meant to be. For the most part, the skete is typically for adults. However, there are those wonderful times when the joyful noise of children meet up with the monastic discipline of the skete.
And when allowances are made for that to take place, there is a mystical magic that occurs.
Children WANT to know about God, they want the consolation of knowing that there is something bigger than themselves and even bigger than their parents. They take comfort in knowing that God sees, God knows, God hears.
On Friday, June 28th, St. Simeon Skete opened its doors to the children attending the Jesus Life Prayer Rosary Day Camp. And in doing so, energy and smiles became abundant.
Some of the children had to travel from long distances. Friday traffic can be hectic so we had a bit of delay waiting for the rest of the children to arrive.
This gave us some time to unwind and burn off some energy so that our focus during the Rosary lessons would be easier.
At Seraphim's lead, the children - of which Joan E. Markwell is included - acted out different animals, situations and items that Seraphim called out to them.
We acted out many things ...
we became zip lock bags ...
once everyone arrived, the Rosary Class began with a prayer....
We learned about the origin, and the technique of praying the Jesus Life Prayer Rosary.
When the class finished, we made a large Rosary fashioned in prayers for others.
Each child wrote the name of a person they wished to offer prayers onto a bead of the paper rosary.
After we finished making the prayer rosary, we went outside for a Rosary Mystery Scavenger Hunt.
Images of the Mysteries of the Rosary were laminated and hidden in the bushes and grass in Anna House's front lawn and the children collected them. Once we found all the mysteries, we talked about them and learned more about the Life of Jesus.
By then it was lunch time and we had a simple meal of peanut butter sandwiches and snacks.
Finally it was time to take our rosary made of prayers to the St. Simeon Skete Wailing Wall.
Once it was placed upon the prayer wall, each child received a Jesus Life Prayer Rosary made by Seraphim.
The Rosary was enclosed in a ziplock sandwich bag (which Seraphim explained "contains bread and Jesus is the Bread of Life")
along with a journal and a pen to write down the clauses.
The children left, rosaries in hand
- each knowing that they had something to hold on to when life gets confusing or difficult, happy or sad...
- they held in their hands the Life of Jesus contained in all of the mysteries.
The children that returned to Anna House immediately began to study
and write the clauses in their journals.
I take a lot of photographs, but I'm not sure I've ever had more pleasure
or captured more inspiring and heartwarming sights than seeing children eagerly
learning the rosary while having so much fun.
It was a wonderful day.
Note: Special thank you to Joan Markwell, Sarah & Cecil Appleman, Cindy Peterson & her sister-in-law - Melanie, Deedee Miller, Teresa Jennings for helping us to provide this event for the children.