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Campamento 2023 Kickoff Meeting

1 Feb

Kickoff Meeting

Monday, January 30, 6:30-8:00 PM, Room 125

We had a great meeting Monday night. Although is was -8F outside, we were thinking warm Carribean thoughts. Thank you to all who came and let us know you were interested, but couldn’t make this meeting. This meeting summary doesn’t name the people, but I will say there were 10 of us in person!

Opening Prayer

Walk with Us in Our Search
Help us discover our own riches;
Don’t judge us poor because we lack what you have.
Help us discover our chains;
Don’t judge us slaves by the type of shackles you wear.
Be patient with us as a people;
Don’t judge us backward simply because we don’t follow your stride.
Be patient with our pace;
Don’t judge us lazy simply because we can’t follow your tempo.
Be patient with our symbols;
Don’t judge us ignorant because we can’t read your signs.
Be with us and proclaim the richness of your life which you can share with us.
Be with us and be open to what we can give.
Be with us as a companion who walks with us neither behind nor in front in our search for life and ultimately for God!

Written by Bishop Bienvenido S Tudtud, Prelature of Marawi,Lanao del Sur, Philippines


Name, how you heard about trip, your background, your interest in this trip

Traveler’s Preparation Guide Overview


We have openings for July 8-16 and July 15-23 for travelers interested in sharing a spiritual experience with young women and girls from another country.


The Delta flight now is $1200. Plan on $1400-$1500. See the FAQ page for more cost factors.

Camp Activities

Our camp theme is “Women of Faith”. We study bible stories, play music, make crafts, perform skits, and do other activities. We pray, exchange stories, share love, and spend time with the girls. Through the activities they learn English, enjoy crafts, and build self-esteem.

Each trip is deeply touching and spiritual. Special gifts you may share are patience with kids, crafting and beading talents, or your professional experience.

Readings for Discernment

Along with Pope Francis writings and many readings in the Bible, check out Why? and Expectations

Campamento Zumba Dance Party Kickoff

Sunday, February 26, Time TBD, Church of Saint Edward Social Hall

It’s back and you’re invited! Learn about Campamento, meet past and future travelers, and enjoy joyful movement with Zumba instructors. Last year we started this tradition and we had so much fun, we’re doing it again.

We’d like 4-5 past and future travelers as well as other Amigas to stay after to help reset the social hall for the Bible study that evening. Plus, we’ll need some helpers during the event.

Next Steps

  • Mark your calendar for next meeting Monday, February 27 6:30-8 PM Central (we’ll do our best to be Zoom enabled)
  • Mark your calendar for Zumba – we’ll do planning by email – we just need a few helpers. A lot of past travelers will be there, so come to get the inside scoop!
  • Think about camp theme songs
  • Think about Old Testament, New Testament, and other women of Faith for Camp Bible Study

Closing Prayer

God thank you for bringing us together on this winter night to dream about warmer possibilities! Please help us all open our hearts and minds to joining Campamento this year. Help us discern this information so that we can make the best choice for ourselves, our families, the other travelers, our Parish, and our Sister Parish. Amen

Campamento 2023 Kickoff Activities

10 Jan

Campamento Zumba Dance Party Kickoff

Sunday, February 26, 11:45 AM, Church of Saint Edward Social Hall

It’s back and you’re invited! Learn about Campamento, meet past and future travelers, and enjoy joyful movement with Zumba instructors. Last year we started this tradition and we had so much fun, we’re doing it again.

Kickoff Meeting – a great start, strong turnout! See you on Feb 27 for the next meeting.

Monday, January 30, 6:30-7:30 PM, Room 125

You are invited to join St. Edward’s Campamento 2023. Support a social justice organization – the Teresa Toda Home, a home for very poor girls in Azua, Dominican Republic with a summer camp in July 2023. Start at to learn more.

We have openings for July 8-16 and July 15-23 for travelers interested in sharing a spiritual experience with young women and girls from another country.

Our camp theme is “Women of Faith”. We study bible stories, play music, make crafts, perform skits, and do other activities. We pray, exchange stories, share love, and spend time with the girls. Through the activities they learn English, enjoy crafts, and build self-esteem.

Each trip is deeply touching and spiritual. Special gifts you may share are patience with kids, crafting and beading talents, or your professional experience.

Is 2023 your year to follow the Pope’s lead on social justice, charity, adventure, spiritual experiences, fellowship, growth, and fun? If so, answer the call to travel with us this summer or help from Minnesota.

Please contact Ann McGuire at to RSVP to our kick-off meeting and take a look at this blog site.

Campamento 2022 Trip Report

3 Sep

Teresa Toda Home and Church of Saint Edward, 20th Camp, Our 25nd Year Together

“Do you remember my name?”

Each older girl, first moment of arrival. That was hard!

Dates July 9-17, 2022

Travelers 2022

Sister Mayra, Jen Millikin, Ann McGuire (me), Sister Grace, Ella Millikin, and Gwen

The First Arrivals
Jeane arrived shortly after – she was Abby’s wedding!!!

This year, we only had 5 total travelers, which is fewer than usual. Over the years, our guideline has been that 6-12 travelers is the range, with 8 being the optimal number of travelers. We had more travelers signed on, but with family illness, COVID+, passport delays, and a wedding (happy reason!), our numbers dropped over time.

We still wanted to do camp, so we made some accomodations.

Instead of brings donated goods to the home, we asked for monetary donations. Monetary donations

  • take up less suitcase space and
  • help the local economy as the Sisters use it to purchase their needed school and health supplies from local businesses

We restructured camp as well, so instead of stations, we had all math together on the kiosko, then all english, then crafts in the dining room. We broke into groups, but they were looser and let us move around as needed. We always began with the opening ritual, and ended the day with closing ritual and a drama.

Sister Grace did a lot more interpretting for us! We enjoyed being able to spend more time with her. She’s wise and light-hearted, like all the Sisters, a saint among us. Later in the week, Maria, a Noviciate, joined us as well and helped with her spanish and english skills!!


The girls we so excited to see us!! We missed two camps – but that was 3 years. So 6 year olds were 9, 9 year olds were 12, and so on. I recognized everyone’s face, but it was tricky putting names to these faces of much taller kids! Name tags were the first activity. I was so glad to see them healthy and happy, like I remember them. Like always, they greeted us all like family.


For English, we used bilingual books this year. If was fun. The girls really want to improve their english. We are brainstoring ideas for next year – please share your ideas.

Jeane with the older girls
Jen and girls reading Coco
Ella with two new girls!
Gwen reading Curious George

Coloring is always a hit.


We continued our tradition of dramas each evening. Group of girls used their costumes and a lot of creativity. Check out this angel!

Naomi and Ruth
A Glowing Angel


Crafts builds self esteem and is a channel for creativity. Also, older girls help younger girls. Crafts are fun!

“Friends stick together” Naomi and Ruth craft

Frames with dot paint. The girls are so creative!

Stick Puppet with children’s rights. We paired this craft with a lesson on children’s responsibilities and rights.


We went to Higuay, where the Virgin Mary visited locals. She is named “Our Lady of Alta Gracia.” We visited the Basilica built to honor that event.

End of Campamento and Grad Party

Our end of camp party included celebrating our latest high school grads! And, Bon came to serve ice cream – what a treat.

So much more

The travelers took an excursion to Barahona. We visited the cloistered Carmelites on the Feast of Our Lady of Carmel at their new location. That location is very close to our new friend Carmel’s farm (long story) so we got to visit her family before Mass. And when we did get to Mass, there were a group of young men in front of us with English-Spanish Mass books. They were seminarians from Wisconsin!

Please check out the daily blogs for more details on each day.


You make it special!!

Thank you to all donors. The Sisters are very conscientious and spend if all on the girls’ education and health.

Thank you to all crafters who came to “Cutting and Kitting Night” You are truly a blessing for camp. The girls love doing crafts!!

Thank you to Shelly Pomonis who organized a huge Zumba party and fundrasier for camp. She recruited 9 Zumba instructors. I wish I could have brought them all to camp. Their energy was through the roof.

Thank you to past travelers – the girls remember each of you and love the camp memories.

Thank you to Father Rick – your support from the pulpit moves people to support our unique mission.

Thank you to all St. Ed’s staff – especially, Mia, Mike, Mary Kay, Celeste, Linda, Andrew – each of you contributed to make this happen.

We’ll start recruiting again in January 2023. Hope to see you there!



Day 6 – Feast of our Lady of Mt. Carmel – End-of-Camp Party

17 Jul

Our “to do” list was long today. It ranged from meeting with Sister Fifi for her insight on camp to getting girls to finish their projects to to printing individual photos to being ready for Mass at 3. We did most of it!


The meeting with Sister Fifi went well. We learned a lot about the girls we got closer to over the week. She also talked about how camp was part of the Hogar. The girls really look forward to camp all year. The Sisters really appreciate the Church of Saint Edward and all the past travelers!

Mass to celebrate the Feast day was at another Carmelite Order – a contemplative order. The wear full habits and only have visitors on Sunday afternoons and some special days like today. Surprise! We also met seminarians and a priest from Wisconsin!

The Party Started with Bon ice cream. We also had chips and pizza
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
The Alter
Sisters’ Embroidery Work

No pics during Mass. We greeted the Sisters after Mass. They stayed separated from us, and were charming.

Contemplative Nuns Stay Separate and Like to Visit
Three Graduates
Graduates with the Sisters
This year gift bags included cards from parishioners and friends
The Whole Group

Despite tears, it was a fun party!

We look forward to returning next year!

Thank you for reading and thank you for all your support!!

Day 5 – Trip to Higuay and La Romana

16 Jul

We left the home this morning at 6 AM with all the Sisters and girls in a big guagua (bus in the DR pronouned “gwa gwa) to go to Higüey, home of the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Altagracia It celebrates Our Lady of Altagracias which is where Mary appeared in the country. More info here and

Campamento Group Picture 2022
on the church steps
The Basilica
Sister Fifi led the girls in prayers and songs
The Altar
My seatmate, wearing a coat because of the cold bus AC – like the rest of the girls

We finished with lunch at the Carmelite community in La Romana. We were hosted by a 93 year old Sister who was very sharp! but was camera shy. They made us grilled chicken, empanadas, rice, and pasta salad. Jean and I got to visit with Sisters We just met and who we’ve known for a while. Maria is a Noviciate who lived at the hogar all last year and ran camp last year! It was fun to catch up with her. She took and sent the pics for the 2021 blog! Sister Joani, whom we met ~10 years ago when she first went to Africa. She runs a home in the Ivory Coast. They have several around the world. She’s returning. Pray for her and all the Sisters.

We got home at about 9:30 PM. Long day!!

Thank you for reading!!

Day 4 – Mary, Mother of God, the Annunciation

15 Jul

Another very full day! We discussed Luke’s Annunciation story and how it related to our own lives. We also brought back Digi Si Señor – a wonderful bilingual song.

We continued with English lessons – very popular this year – and two crafts: the traditional frame and some dolls with children’s rights. Scroll down for pictures. I wish I had a picture of the model. it was about 8 dots of alternating colors. Boring! They were very creative.

A 2021 Graduate returned!

We visited two families. It was very challenging to see such poverty. Like Sonia Sotomayor says in her autobiography, no one expects much froma poor neighborhood. These people are truly destitute and the girls are brilliant and full of potential. No pictures or names. Both parents were obviously mentally ill and neither girl will return during break. We’re glad the girls didn’t join us this time. Very disturbing.

We also stopped at our favorite coffee factory. $4.71/pound of fresh coffee! It’s always a delicious stop.

Finally we stopped at the school the Sisters. Sister Carmen the director gave us a tour. It’s beautiful – the best in Azua. It was a hopeful way to end our afternoon.

And finally the Medianas performed a play. Fun!!

The Annunciation Cast

Day 3 – Trip for the Travelers

14 Jul

Our driver took us on an adventure to Barahona. It is truly beautiful. We started at the “magnetic pole” in Barahona. I’ll post a video when we’re home, but if you google Barahona magnetic pole, you’ll see videos. There was a boy on the side of the road who unknowingly debunked the myth. We had a good time though and this destination was up in the mountains. Next the Larimar Museum where we learned a little and bought jewelry. Then to Playo Patos “Ducks Beach” which is beautiful, but we were greeted by police at the parking lot telling us the waves were dangerous and while we could see the beach and take pictures, we couldn’t even put our feet in the water. The beach had a river than feeds into it. We dipped our feet in that cold water.

We had a typical Dominican lunch, then headed back. On the way back we stopped at another beach that we could swim at.

When we got back to Azua, before returning home, we stopped by the athletic facility. Super nice! Everything was outside including of course a baseball stadium, also basketball , volleyball, soccer, tennis, and a big track. It was hopping. Very cool to see so many people involved. We even saw some little kids getting batting coaching. Neither Jeanie nor I had seen this before. It’s very impressive.

After dinner the oldest girls were psyched to present their drama of Naomi and Ruth. As usual they did a beautiful job!

Caroline braided my hair!

I’ll upload more pictures later!

Thank you for reading!!

Day 2 – Naomi and Ruth

13 Jul

Today’s story was Naomi and Ruth, a story about two widows –  mother and her daughter in law, who stayed together despite a famine and other hardships.  it’s a great story.  There are few women and even fewer women named in the Bible, so they were very important people. Ruth was a Moabite – a foreigner.  She and Boaz had a son and their great-great-great (or more?)  grandson became King David, the greatest king of Isreal. 

“Friends stick together” craft
Spot It!
Spot It!
The pool
Johanna/Jeane arrives!!
Jeane and Sister Maria

Another great day!

Day 1 – Justice Sonia Sotomayor and more

12 Jul

Every camp is different and this is no exception. Excuse me, but I am the most proficient Spanish speaker here as of now. And that’s not because daily Duolingo plus tutoring has made me very good.  Sister Fifi asked the girls to cooperate and help.  They really srepped up today. Jeane, a real bilingual speaker,  will join Tuesday.

Our Woman of Faith

Four girls took turns reading a children’s book about Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  She was born into poverty, only spoke Spanish in kindergarten, had diabetes (which could not be managed easily in those days. She learned to give Bertram shots.). Despite these and more obstacles, she grew to be a Supreme Court Justice. Her mom worked 2 jobs to put her and her brother through Catholic school.  She always made the most of opportunities presented to her.  Side bite: the audio version of her Sotomayor is excellent.  Rita Moreno reads it.  Here were two of our readers.


For math we broke into two groups instead of four, then gave out appropriate coloring worksheets.  They happily went about adding, multiplying, and coloring!


For four groups, four travelers each had an English/Spanish children’s book. They read the story in Spanish, then we went pahe by page and read in English.  Each age-group were game for this activity.  They were proud to share the phrases they learned with Sister Carmen at our evening circle. 


Here’s the craft. The older girls helped The youngers one they were done.


Travel weekend and camp prep day 7/9&10

11 Jul

Every camp is unique and this is no exception. To summarize the travel was classic Summer of 2022 “The Summer of Travel Chaos.” But the greeting at the Hogar and our feelings were more vibrant than ever.

Travel Summer 2022

Travel around July 4th seemed especially brutal this year. The airlines responded to Covid-related pause in travel, and therefore revenue, with furloughed workers and early retirements. This left us with a shortage of pilots and other staff when travel did resume.  So there were many (1,000’s?) of canceled flights and delays all over the country. I felt pretty good about our plans, because we weren’t traveling on a holiday weekend.

Travelers on the American Airlines route were notified yesterday afternoon that they’d arrive 4 hours late. Not the best news, but we can make it work. Feeling confident in good old Delta, it’ll be ok to get there before the two new travelers arrive. Nope, our flight was delayed, so we wouldn’t make the connection to SDQ, so we were rerouted to JFK, the SDQ. There must have been a shortage of baggage handlers too, because once we boarded the plane to SDQ we sat 1 1/2 hours until the unaccompanied baggage was removed. We arrived at SDQ at 1 AM. We were the last customers of the night so the workers, always pleasant, moved us along much more quickly than ever before. We got super lucky with our taxi driver – the best I’ve had in Santo Domingo. He was safe and charged us a reasonable, agreed upon fare.  Sister Mayra stayed up for us when we arrived at 2 AM! What a Saint. We slept well. 

Jen and Ella arrive earlier Saturday at 6. They’ve got to experience the Sister’s warmth and patience and great food.


We started with prayer and breakfast with the Sisters. More were there than usual – from Columbia, Argentina, and others who are there for professional development. I started to feel the different world of Campamento – a retreat from the real world with prayer and song and few worries. Sister Grace (49 years in NYC, English speaker!!) and Sister Mayra led us to Mass at the closest parish. The gospel was The Good Samaritan – always an inspiration.

After stopping at the grocery store and packing the guagua, we headed to Azua with Sister Grace and Sister Mayra, who now live at the home. 

With Sister Mayra and Sister Grace. We should have taken this whole dressed for church!! Jeane, co-leader and Spanish speaker is joining us Tuesday.

We stopped in Bani at La Sirena (The Mermaid) for some groceries and cold Cokes made with sugar to power us for the final hour. And we stopped at the Payless there to make sure they had the shoes the girls need for their school uniform. Yes! And tomorrow is the last day of their “buy 2 get 1 free” sale.

Campamento Welcome

After waiting 2 years and 1 day (with the travel delays) the welcome was heartfelt and exciting. They played a past theme song  “Try Anything” by Shakira from Zootopia. The girls are a lot taller and the  new ones are adorable. The new travelers liked the unbridled excitement and warm welcome.  No one had their cameras out.

Dance Party

This happened!

Too much to write about. There are many new things to share. We’re all doing great. My goal is to update you daily.