Erika Tuarez, Ecuador: Once everything was ready, we would leave a sign on the Sisters’ door, ring the doorbell and take off running to hide in the hall. The sign would say something like, “We are the Three Kings. Come find us so we can bring our gifts to the Child Jesus.”
For the past two years, the girls in the Home of the Mother from Playa Prieta, Ecuador, have been preparing a surprise dinner for the Sisters on the day of Epiphany with games, gifts and songs included. We’ve always tried to make it a surprise, but it was so difficult to hide while we dressed up for the big night! Last year, 2016, we asked the sisters to write a letter to the Three Kings. They had to leave the letters at Baby Jesus’ crib so that the Kings could find them.
Usually we would go to Mass at 7 o’clock at the Cathedral. When we returned, while the Sisters went up to their house, we stayed downstairs to finish setting the tables for dinner, putting together the Nativity Scene and decorating the hall...
Once everything was ready, we would leave a sign on the Sisters’ door, ring the doorbell and take off running to hide in the hall. The sign would say something like, “We are the Three Kings. Come find us so we can bring our gifts to the Child Jesus.” So from that moment began a countless number of fun challenges that the Sisters had to accomplish, such as singing with teeth made of chewing gum (one of the funniest things ever), running, jumping and other things. There was a girl at each challenge while the rest of the girls waited in the hall with the lights turned off.
Once they finished all of the challenges, the Sisters had to find the star that would lead them to the place where the Child Jesus and the Kings were (three of us were the Kings). Then, wearing blindfolds, the Sisters were led to the hall, and... Surprise! A delicious dinner and a hall beautifully decorated. We had a nice time at the table, full of laughter and conversations that enriched our souls. After dinner we would give each sister her gifts from the Kings with a spiritual explanation for each gift.
Providentially, we found the letter Sr. Clare wrote to the Three Kings last January 6, 2016. When you read it, it feels like you’re listening to her.
Dearest and honorable Kings,
Simply your majestic presence is a gift in itself for me. Thank you for coming, even though I don’t deserve it!
I heard that you bring SPIRITUAL and MATERIAL gifts, is that right? … Well then, here goes my list:
There’s a song titled, “¿Qué quiero mi Jesús?” [What Do I Want, My Jesus?]. I would like to live what the song says. Can you grant me this, or do I have to speak directly with Jesus Christ and his Mother?
I would love an increase of FAITH. I don’t know if lenses or something similar exist that can make me see things as God sees them… You’ll see to what is best… (I’M WRITING THIS LETTER WHILE DIVANY AND FABIANA ARE FIGHTING IN FRONT OF ME AND THREE OTHER KIDS JUMP AROUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE, SO I’M SORRY IF THIS DOESN’T MAKE SENSE).
I don’t know if you can give me the virtue of magnanimity: to desire, and not only desire, but TO DO great things for the Lord. In order to that, I need a lot of love, of course, right?
Would a heart transplant be possible? Could you give me a heart like Padre Pio’s or John Paul II’s?
AAAAHHHH… I want to ask for a lot of things, but… I DON’T HAVE TIME!
The material things:
- A fried egg that never ends.
- A guitar pick that doesn’t break (metallic).
- A cool belt that can somehow hold several white board markers.
- Batteries so that I don’t get tired when I play soccer.
And……. whatever you want to give me “MOTU PROPIO” (by your own will).
Hey, I’m very thankful. Really.
Pray for me before Baby Jesus, ok?
I bow respectfully before your Majesties,
The same year the Sisters gave us a small Epiphany gift. One of the things was an eraser for each girl with a message written by Sr. Clare. While the message was written jokingly and made you laugh, it was profound and meaningful. On the elephant, for example, was written, “May the Lord give you a heart as big as an elephant’s trunk.” The lion said, “Queen lion, be so strong that the devil is afraid of you.” On the turtle was written, “Slowly, but surely.”
Her grace and sense of humor had a supernatural source. She always got something deep out of daily life, and while it was always something very funny, it was not vain.
Celebrating Epiphany that year was very special. Let us thank God for allowing us to live such good moments.
Erika Tuarez, Playa Prieta