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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Campus ministry retreat season wraps up, allows reflection

Photo by Claire Gallagher
Daniel Chekal, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, attended the Ignatian Leadership Retreat with other first-year students.

Campus Ministry is preparing to wrap up the fall season with two final retreats: the Marquette Experience Retreat Nov. 8-10 and Silent Weekend Dec. 13-15.

Sara Knutson, assistant director of Campus Ministry, has spent time this semester planning and setting the retreats into motion.

Knutson has been involved with retreats since high school. She said that after she went to a college retreat during her junior undergraduate year at Xavier University, she decided to become a retreat leader her senior year. She said she found it was better to lead because she was able to see God’s changes in the people she led.

It is the change and growth in faith that some students emphasized as part of their enriching retreat experience, especially for a few freshmen that went on the Ignatian Leadership Retreat and the Connect Retreat.

“I think retreats offer a great opportunity for students to grow in their faith and learn more about themselves, and also it provides an opportunity to connect with others,” Jacque Dixon, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

Dixon attended the Ignatian Leadership Retreat Aug. 19-21 which took place at Lutherdale Ministries and the Connect Retreat Sept 14. which was held at the Holy Hill Guest House and said she plans to try to be a leader next year.

The aspect of connection was not only important to Dixon but also to Megan Lund, a freshman in the College of Health Sciences. Lund said she decided to attend the Ignatian Leadership Retreat after coming all the way from California and seeing the Campus Ministry table during SPARK, the pre-orientation program for first-year students.

“I didn’t know anyone coming here, and so I was told to do this retreat because it’d be great and I’d meet people,” Lund said.

The Ignatian Leadership Retreat was a retreat that had some students reflecting on what they’re time at Marquette would be like.

“We went out to a retreat center and we got to know each other, we reflected on what we want from the next four years, what led us here and the role of God in the next four years,” Daniel Chekal, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

Knutson said when planning for retreats, specifically keeping the first years in mind, the goal is to help students meet new people.

Scheduling the retreats is typically done based on Marquette’s calendar, Knutson said, making sure they don’t fall on important dates like National Marquette Day. The length of any given retreat also varies.

Knutson went on to talk about the most recent retreat — Finding God in All Things Oct. 25-26 — and the upcoming ones, specifically the Marquette Experience Retreat and Silent Weekend.

Finding God in All Things is a broader type of retreat, specifically relating to the title of the retreat which focuses on finding God in everything as well as answering how. The retreat, according to the Marquette retreat website, is a time spent answering God questions as a community. The retreat was held at camp Minikani in Hubertus, WI.

The Marquette Experience Retreat is open to sophomores through graduate students and is intended to allow students to focus on their Marquette experiences thus far. The website said the retreat consists of student talks, small group conversations and prayer. The retreat is taking place at the St. Vincent Pallotti Retreat Center in Elkhorn, WI.

The Silent Weekend retreat wraps up the semester, being held right after final exams. Knutson said this specific silent retreat is known as a “preached retreat” where a speaker comes in and gives a series of talks. This year, Fr. Michael Rossman, a recently ordained Jesuit priest, will be the speaker and will discuss discernment, which is a way of making a decision specifically with spiritual guidance. Knutson said this retreat is focused on teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

“(Ignatian teachings) are the backbone of what Marquette’s education is about, as well as a model for student holistic life,” Knutson said.

There is another silent retreat during winter break — the Silent Directed Retreat — the week before second semester begins, Jan. 6-11. The retreat description on the website says it takes place at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, WI. Those who go on it will have a spiritual director in which once a day they will get to sit down and talk with them.

Once spring semester begins, there will be other retreats such as the Milwalking Retreat. This is an on-the-go retreat, allowing students to spend time on a retreat while walking around the city of Milwaukee. According to the retreat website for the Milwalking retreat, retreat goers will be stopping at different Milwaukee landmarks that will have speakers and different activities at each stop.

Bernardo Avila-Bornuda, assistant director for multicultural student ministry, helps plan the Milwalking and the Finding God in All Things retreats. He said that he finds retreats extremely important, especially in the college years.

“They are important because in the years of college, students are developing that sense of identity and spiritual identity plays a role in that,” Avila-Bornuda said.

Knutson said she thinks it’s extremely valuable to have an opportunity to be away from campus, at a place that is beautiful and welcoming, with other people also interested in meaningful conversation and in seeking out God and spirituality in their lives.

The retreat costs vary and can be found on the retreat website  along with registration. Financial aid is also offered.

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