Sixteen students along with four directors (Marists John Ulrich, Kevin Duggan and Sisters Judy SMSM and Christina SMSM) gathered at Cal Poly’s Newman Center on Sunday January 29 to begin the ‘Busy Students Retreat.’ This is a retreat amidst the daily activities of life. These sixteen students committed to spending 30 minutes with assigned Scripture passages four times during the week. They would then schedule a 30 minute period of time with one of the directors so that together each could share the fruit of their reflection. Students were also encouraged to find other ways to mark the week as different (e.g., walking to class without the ever-present earbuds, coming to daily Mass, praying a rosary, talking a walk and noticing the beauty of the campus located in southern California).
The opening session on Sunday gave some direction about how to pray with the Scriptures and a daily guide for each passage was given to students. The closing session was a Mass on Friday evening. Each of the students and directors shared briefly what the retreat has meant to him or her or some insight they gained from the Scriptures. Of course, we also shared a meal – college students always expect to be fed.
This yearly retreat is a great opportunity to share more deeply with young adults who have a desire to deepen their faith. Obviously, our faith as directors was deepened as well. The extra bonus for John and me was being able to share prayer, meals, drinks and laughter with Srs. Judy and Christina of the Marist Missionary Sisters. Both Chris and Judy are working with Mary’s Guest House in San Diego where they support women on the journey of healing who have been caught up in human trafficking. (by Kevin Duggan SM in the Society of Mary e-Bulletin, Feb 10, 2017)
SISTER JUDY'S REFLECTION ON ACCOMPANYING BUSY STUDENTS ON RETREAT
I was delighted to once again be asked to accompany 4 students on their retreat. We gathered Sunday evening to meet and to share our expectations as we entered the Busy Persons Retreat. The 4 Directors and 16 Students had great expectations for this special time given to scripture, prayer and sharing. Students juggled, classes, homework, & outside work, to commit to praying on scripture 40 min. a day and meeting with their directors 40 min. daily. Meeting times ranged from 8:00 am to 8:00pm: reflection times ranged from 6:00am to 3:00am. This amazing commitment did not go unnoticed by their loving God. My gift was to see the Spirit working in my retreatants. Their honesty, their desire to know and love Jesus more, their struggles with loss, faith crisis and their dreams to make a difference in the world with their lives was awesome. My work as Director of a shelter for women victims of trafficking and my awareness- raising to this global evil plunges me into the dark side of life. Here, I encounter the Light of the world that counters the darkness and gives hope. Our young people hunger for faith, hope and love. The Neumann Center nurtures this; the Spirit of God lives and is transforming. Thank you, Students and thank you, the Marist Family Team!