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Freshmen strengthen bonds on retreat

Earlier this week, the freshman students spent a day of reflection held at Mount St. Francis experiencing a day of activities facilitated by a team from CYO Camp Rancho Framasa. Activities included small group sharing, community building, witness talks, and prayer experiences. The students got a lot out of the retreat. 

Freshmen Emma Sharre and Mark Nokes are two of the students who attended, and they said they liked how the activities helped their classmates grow in their faith while getting to know one another.

“This was a great time for us to reflect on high school and focus on our faith,” Mark said. “I met a lot of really cool people I felt I could connect with. My group participated, and I was inspired by their confidence and stories. I felt like I was included and could express myself while listening to others.”

Emma, who is in the House of Loyalty, said the teamwork activities like the Human Knot, in which they work together to move their group from a small knot holding hands into a large circle all without breaking their held hands, and small group activities in which they affirmed one another’s strengths, helped them grow closer.

Both students enjoyed the prayer activities. Emma enjoyed the Lectio Divina prayer activity, in which the Leader read a Gospel passage about Jesus calming the storm four times, each followed by a different instruction for reflection.

“The last one was when we spent the time fully taking in what the passage said, and used it as a form of prayer to God,” Emma said. “We focused more on God than ourselves.”

She also enjoyed the Prayer Walk, in which students walked around a room with quotes, questions, and sayings posted on the wall, and stopped to reflect on each one.

“They made me think and genuflect, which I think we have an issue with right now, what with technology being at the center of our life – but it should be God,” Emma said. “I think that these forms of prayer may help me to change that.”

Mark, who is in the House of Humility,  enjoyed the guided prayer activity because it helped them learn “new ways to pray and share our faith,” he said.

“It was very peaceful and calm knowing we could not only share our stories, but listen to others’ stories as well,” Mark said. “I feel like I know my class a bit better now, and feel more confident talking to them now about things important to us. It’s always great to get away and reflect, but especially when you get to focus on God. It opened my eyes to him and my classmates and I’m glad I had the opportunity.”

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