Life is a gift that we learn to embrace in Community, celebrating the gift of our resurrected lives each day! Mother Elvira’s birthday is a beautiful reminder of how to live your life to the fullest, embracing the daily joys and struggles, and walking with Jesus through it all. In preparation for Mother Elvira’s birthday, we joined together with the entire Community to pray a nine day novena in thanksgiving for her life. The novena was composed of many catechisms given throughout the years that highlighted the pillars of our Community: prayer, work, and friendship. It was a beautiful push in the right direction to continue fighting to live the life that the Community proposes for us to live. The day finally arrived! With a lot of joy and gratitude in our hearts, we celebrated the great gift of our Mother Elvira’s life! Reflecting on the freedom and the joy that Mother Elvira always desires for us to have, we embraced the day and celebrated the true freedom that each of us are finding. At lunch, some of the girls who have had the gift to meet her throughout the years shared some of their stories. Though the stories varied, one thing was consistent: that each of them saw Jesus in her eyes. We were blessed to have Albino with us who shared some stories from “the early days.” The stories are priceless, and it’s always touching to hear him share his experiences with us! After lunch was done, we met in our chapel to pray an adoration together. Prayer is the biggest gift of all. We thanked Jesus for Mother Elvira’s life, for the gift of the Community, and the healing that each one of us are finding individually through walking with Jesus. After adoration, we sang to our Mother Elvira and blew out her candles on a big homemade cake we made! In the days to come, we were able to live stream the birthday celebration they have in Italy. The days consisted of short skits, catechisms, videos, and talks about work, friendship and prayer. We could relate to a lot of the questions that were asked and it was a very unifying experience. Thank you Mother Elvira for your life that you have fully embraced! Through your example, we are learning to do the same!