Club of the Month January 2016

Leader’s Name
Veronica Guerrero
Does your club have a title? (e.g. St. Thomas Aquinas’ Little Flowers)
Little Flowers of St. Therese – San Jose East Foothills
Where does your club meet?
Private homes
What made you decide to start or lead a Little Flowers Group?
We joined a Little Flowers group through our homeschool community when our oldest daughter was only 5 years old. Our daughter was our only child at the time and we wanted to surround her with a good group of friends. The existing Little Flowers group was across town and so we decided to start one in our home. We had a rough start at first keeping members as our home is quite a distance from most homeschooling friends. The following year, we shifted gears and started a group in Spanish. There was great interest at first from folks in our community,, but I noticed that while the moms desired that the girls hear/speak Spanish, the girls were just more comfortable understanding the talks in English. I spoke to the mothers and told them I wanted to switch the group back to English. We quickly lost many members as they were more interested in the Spanish-immersion aspect and we were more interested in having the girls learn the faith. We didn’t give up and the following year, we started Wreath 1 again in English. This time, the group came together nicely. The moms bonded well and we had a lot of fun. We have now gone through all the wreaths in the program and the girls, with great excitement, started the Little Women program. God is good!
Why do you think makes your Little Flowers Girls’ Club special and unique?
While we started out as a Catholic homeschool girls club, we opened our group to other Catholic girls from our neighborhood. One of our neighbors was non-Catholic Christian and brought her daughter to our girls club. The beauty of the program, the other moms, and the joy she saw in her daughter brought her to the Catholic Church. While we still have fair amount of homeschool girls in the club, we also have a growing number (perhaps half the group) of neighborhood girls.

The girls are now 10+ years old, with the majority being 12 years old. The girls have certainly grown with the program. Last year we moved to have the girls present each month, under the guidance of the moms. I took sections of the talk the moms normally give and broke it down into 2-min presentations (tell us about this virtue -definition, synonyms, what is the opposite of this virtue, tell us about this virtue in action, tell us about a time that St. Therese displayed this virtue, how does the flower relate to the virtue, who is the saint for this virtue, lead us through an activity, game, skit to highlight the virtue,,…). At every meeting, the girls had a chance to get up in front of the group to speak. We encouraged the girls in the audience to take notes and they were all up for the task.

Every year, we have tried to help the girls come together and leverage what is already within reach. Last year, the girls hosted a tea and organized a talent show for the moms. They played piano, sang, danced, acted one-minute skits,…. This year, we ended the 4th wreath with a fashion show all based on the words of St. Therese. In a nutshell, the girls picked from a hat a quote by St. Therese, these were metaphors or imagery that she used to describe how she saw herself in relationship with God,, and used this to inspire an outfit for the fashion show. One girl wore an outfit inspired by the “Springtime of the Little White Flower,” another wore an outfit inspired by “the magic Christmas shoes,” another by “a shower of roses,” and so on. The girls not only learned more about our patron, St. Therese but also learned that even in their choice of clothes they can communicate the beauty of God.

How do you think the Little Flower program has changed the lives of the girls, their families and their communities?
Every year, more and more girls and their mothers are asking to join the Little Flowers girls club. They come from far to make the meetings as they recognize the beauty and friendships that come out of the program. It seems, however, that the group has settled nicely as a neighborhood group even though it started as a homeschool club. Every year, we see new girls coming from the local public school whose parents want the girls to be around other girls who are not shy to live their faith, who talk about being holy, who pray, and who are fun. The moms have done their share of learning the faith through the program and have come to love the Catholic faith more and more!

We have now moved to the Little Woman program and already we have a full house of girls!. Girls who normally would not know each other, are working together beating eggs as they learn the virtue of hospitality in the kitchen, as they bake cookies, and as they clean up and wash pots and pans!

How long has your group been meeting?
6+ years