In a few weeks the Church of St. Michael will host an annual gathering of the Little Flowers group. People from around Minnesota and the upper Midwest will gather the weekend of July 11/12. Several parishioners are part of organizing this event. I include in the bulletin this weekend an article from the most recent Catholic Spirit edition describing the event. The article was written by Jessica Trygstad. Saints are coming to camp at St. Michael in Pine Island this summer. “The Little Flowers Girls’ Camp Retreat, slated for July 10-12 at the southern-most parish in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, is one of three national camps hosted as part of the Little Flowers Girls’ Clubs. In the clubs, girls ages 5-11 meet regularly throughout the year to learn about virtues through Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and saints’ biographies. The camps serve as a continuation of fostering faith and relationships for the mother/daughter groups, and help them meet other members from across the country.
Joan Stromberg of the Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky, and one of the national organizers, said girls don’t have to be part of a group to attend any of the camps, which also will be held in Indiana and Pennsylvania, and participants will have the option of indoor or outdoor sleeping arrangements. With the theme, “Mary’s Garden Party,” the three-day event will include earning patron-saint badges, praying the rosary around a campfire, adoration and, of course, camp staples— skits, songs and s’mores. Carol Nelson, a parishioner of St. Michael, wanted her 9-yearold daughter, Annabelle, to be involved in a group like Girl Scouts. When she learned of the Little Flowers Girls’ Club at St. Agnes in St. Paul, she decided to start one with a woman from a nearby town. What she likes about the Little Flowers Girls’ Club is that it’s not about earning more and more badges. Rather, “it teaches girls virtues that are important to them that are valuable into adulthood: hope, love and love of God,” said Nelson, who will attend the camp with her daughter for the first time.
Since each virtue is attached to a saint, it gives the girls an opportunity to put into practice what they learn. “I feel like I can learn how to be a saint,” Annabelle said. The club at St. Michael is in its third year and has 10 girls. Stromberg said there are 11 registered clubs around the Twin Cities area.
In addition to meetings where the girls and their mothers learn more about their faith, the group participates in a variety of events and is involved in parish life. It hosts a St. Joseph’s altar during Lent, mother-daughter teas, a May crowning, and visits to shrines and religious communities. Nelson said the group appreciates how St. Michael’s pastor, Father Randal Kasel, is involved in almost everything it does. “It’s really important that a pastor is a spiritual director of the group,” she said, adding that St. Therese of Lisieux, aka the “Little Flower,” is the group’s patroness and that they emphasize prayer. For their monthly meetings, the group receives materials from Louisville-based Behold Publications, which Stromberg operates. Both Stromberg and Nelson said the resources are inexpensive and flexible so that groups can tailor activities to their own needs.
“I cannot say enough good about this group — how much it’s good for the girls and good for the moms to be able to get together . . . to foster a love of God, love of Mary and love of each other,” Nelson said.
Registration for the camp at a lower rate ends June 30, but people can register as late as July 5. Children younger than 10 must have an adult registrant with them.”
Through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Joseph, St. Paul and St. Michael, may Holy Spirit enliven our hearts with His strength and grace!