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October 24, 2013
All year long the Gen 3 were committed to the Hearts in Action project: putting into practice the Works of Mercy. For 11 lively “city” girls from the Chicago area, a summer camp at Villa Loretto was the culminating moment.

Following their hearts the Gen 3 girls returned to Mount Calvary, Wisconsin in August. After an enchanted visit last December to see the Live Nativity Play held annually at Villa Loretto Nursing Home, the Gen 3 could not wait to go back, this time with their “Hearts in Action”. This past year around the world, the Gen 3 have been putting the Works of Mercy into practice, undertaking the Hearts in Action project. There would be no better place than Villa Loretto to live out this plan of action.

Gen 3 watering the plants with Sr. Michael  Do you like to work with animals? Villa Loretto has it…both farm and exotic animals, lemurs and llamas included. Have a special knack for gardening? Come to Villa Loretto…loads of watering to be done. Love working with people? Villa Loretto has that too…wonderful nursing home residents to entertain and get to know.

Every day, the girls spent time with Villa Loretto residents, doing nails, chatting, bringing baby goats and fluffy rabbits to resident rooms, or just taking morning strolls together with their new friends. They even had a chance to swing in the special wheel-chair accessible swing that Villa Loretto has.  When quiet Tom swung with Kim and Alice, he came to life and started to sing, truly enjoying the ride. Our city girls were troopers and also instant farm girls. Along with spending quality time with the residents, the Gen 3 milked goats, cleaned rabbit hutches, helped with feeding and watering the animals, and helped round up chickens. The days were full.

But not all was hard work. The week also included dominoes with local experts, horseback riding, beautiful country drives, award winning homemade ice cream, musical theater, a relaxing swim at a local state park, and a campfire with s’mores and hotdogs, all finished off with star gazing.a nice day for a swing

As exciting as the week was, each day would begin with the essential, a chance to take a moment and center their day, remembering the desire to love their neighbor in each present moment. Midday they participated at Mass and rosary. Each day would also end in the chapel, giving the girls a moment of one-on-one with Jesus. The girls and the Sisters also had many moments of simple, but deep, sharing. Sister Stephen’s story of her vocation brought the girls to think about God’s plan for each of us. The girls confessed they had never felt so close to Jesus as they felt that week!

As this varied and memorable week came to an end, the Gen 3, the Sisters, their new friends, and it seemed even the animals were sad to have it be over. One resident lamented how he would not be seeing his new Gen 3 friends from his window each day.

But the girls left convinced they would return. Their hearts would bring them back.