Maria Jose Zambrano, EcuadorShe knew how to give of herself with love in everything, and she taught us to do the same.

Maria Jose Zambrano, from Ecuador, got to know Catalina during her first camp. Catalina was her team counselor and helped Maria Jose a lot to integrate into the camp and discover – by her example of generosity and sincere friendship – God’s love for her.

I remember how I got to know her in the worst way possible. It was my first camp. I didn’t know anyone except my classmates from school, who I thought I was going to be with. That kept me calm. But one of the girls who came with me on the bus told me a lot about the camp and how great it was going to be. I was really close to getting off the bus and going back home, since I didn’t want to be with anyone. 

We arrived at the place where we were going to be. The camp leaders were Mercedes and Jazmina. By the way, I was a little afraid of both of them. They started to divide us into groups, by teams. When they called out team six, and named all the girls in it, they called my name. I put on a "I'm the new girl" face, but was really unhappy. I got up and stood next to Catalina, the team counselor. She said to me, “Welcome. What’s your name? I hope we can get to know each other.”  I only answered, “Hi. I’m Maria Jose.” In that moment I thought, “I can’t believe it. I don’t even know this girl and she seems really nice already.”

That day, I didn’t say a word to anyone except for Catalina, since she did everything possible so that everyone spoke with everyone in our team. She always asked us a lot of questions… literally, “a lot.” She asked each one of us about everything. As the days passed, I felt really comfortable around her. We spoke a lot, and I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone except Catalina or one of the Sisters. She always spoke to me about the infinite love that Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother have for all of us. When a conversation became serious, we always ended up laughing, because out of the blue she would come up with one of her jokes or comments that always made us laugh a lot. All of the girls on our team thought Catalina was a girl who had a lot – a ton – of experience as a counselor. That’s how she knew how to give of herself with love in everything, and she taught us to do the same.

I will never forget her answer when I once asked her, “Why are you so generous?” She responded, “All of us should be very good and faithful to the Lord to be able to make it to Heaven and become saints. But don’t forget that, as good as we may be, the Lord is never outdone in generosity.”


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