Late last month, the freshman class participated in a one-day retreat, split between two days. It was the first high school retreat experience for the freshmen and one that allowed them to learn more about each other as well as deepen their faith through small-group sharing, community-building activities, witness talks, and prayer experiences.
Freshman Stella Huber said she enjoyed spending time in small groups because “it allowed for more well-rounded discussions to help guide us in reflection.”
Freshman Annabelle Grantz added that she enjoyed the chance to get to know classmates who came from different Deanery schools.
“The retreat helped the freshman class bond as a class by pulling us all together and focusing on faith and also getting to know each other better,” Annabelle said, adding that the small groups helped her feel comfortable sharing her faith with others.
For freshman Gus Ernstberger, the icebreaker games helped him learn more about his classmates. He said he especially enjoyed the circle game Wah! and the Coin Flip game.
Several of the students especially liked the nature walk activity, in which their small group walked around campus and spent time reflecting on their faith. Stella said her group had fun finding an apple tree on campus.
The students also liked the prayer experiences and talks. Freshman Remy Slotten said she was struck by the concept of “allowing the Lord to enter my relationships with everyone.”
Stella said she most enjoyed learning the different elements of the Lectio Divina prayer practice, especially learning its three types: nature, scripture meditation, and icons.
“All three types of this very sacred prayer will serve as very solid and pure prayer forms for me in my daily prayer life for now and in the future,” Stella said. “I think that all of these prayer forms portray Jesus in a different way; different than what we would normally expect Him to be.”
Campus Minister Andrew O’Neill said students in his small groups seemed “pleasantly surprised at how much they got out of the experience, as they didn’t really know what to expect going in. I was thankful to see this and happy to see them all eagerly participating in the large group experiences and offering their insights during small group conversations. This is a special class!”
Additionally, Mr. O’Neill said he was impressed with the CYO Camp Rancho Framasa team that led the retreat experience, especially because the team brought the retreat to Providence when typically retreats are held onsite in Nashville, Ind. (One of those team members was Robbie Steiner ’07. Read more about Steiner in the Blue Pride on Display section.)
“They were very gracious, flexible, and adaptable, with the both of them even facilitating small groups at different points over the course of the two days,” Mr. O’Neill said. “They made it clear they were willing to do whatever they needed to do to ensure it was a good experience for the students.”