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s2smodern

A lot of youth activities at the Dalmatian Coast this summer: Spiritual exercises in an austere previous imprisonment camp, or a Laudato si camp.

Spiritual exercises on the "Bare island"

On the Croatian island Goli Otok (goli = naked, bare, otok = island) for a fifth year in a row groups of young people come to experience Ignatian spiritual exercises, organised by the Magis association and guided by Croatian Jesuits. The island of Goli used to be a notorious imprisonment camp for the political enemies of Tito's communist dictatorship from 1940s through 1950s and 1960s (started with Tito-Stalin split in 1948). Now, several decades after the last of the prisoners left, young people from different parts of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina come here to deepen their connection to God, nature and themselves. The conditions of accommodation are modest to say the least. The young people are sleeping in their sleeping bags on the wooden floors of old buildings. There is no electricity, no water supply (drinking water must be transported in canisters from the nearby island of Rab), no TVs, no smartphones or any kind of modern gadgets.

The daily routine consists of three meals, an hour of work, lecture about Ignatian Spirituality, free time in which they are encouraged to pray and meditate. The day ends with the Holy Mass and adoration. Apart from a 30-minute daily conversation with their spiritual guide, they spend the week in complete silence. But the hard conditions in which they spend their time seem to have a beneficial effect on their spiritual exercises. It seems that in this silence and isolation from the outside world they have a better chance of hearing God's voice. It also seems that with their presence and prayer camp is in those days transformed in the place of holiness and that each one of them experiences a transformation of his own. And after a week, they go back to their homes enriched with this new experience and encouraged to search for and find God in all things.

Youth camps based on Laudato si'

In the Nature park of Lastovo this summer there were two youth camps based on the Papal encyclical Laudato si. Forty young people participated in a program as well as in practical outcome which means cleaning costal and island’s areas from different kind of rubbish. The biodiversity of Lastovo island nature park and its history were learned by visiting historical and sacral places, climbing and celebrating Mass. The camp has a missionary role also for many local people participated in spiritual and working activities. Having prayer and meditating out in a nature participants recognise God’s presence in their lives. Main emphasis in the program is integral ecology which connects experiences in natural and human environment. The main purpose of this camp is to restore relationships with God, neighbour and nature.

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s2smodern