On Saturday, March 23, 2019, for the first time in Siena’s history, the Chaplain’s Office hosted a campus-wide retreat.
In the past, the Chaplain’s Office has put on retreats for freshmen and seniors only but never for the entire student body. The retreat’s theme was “Resurrection: Emerging from Suffering Through Faith,” which touched on topics that occur throughout the Lenten season. The workshops at the retreat were offered by Fr. Larry, Nick Ascioti and other guest alumni.
Hannah Morley ’21, Retreat Board Representative, provided some insight into why a campus-wide retreat is now being offered for students. “When I interviewed and was offered the position as the Retreats Board Representative, I had a number of students approach me and tell me that they wanted a retreat for Siena students,” she said. The Retreats Board Representative is usually responsible for organizing and leading retreats for local high schools and parishes as well as sending out emails to retreat leaders, but Morley wanted to do more. After bringing up the idea of a campus-wide retreat to Fr. Larry in the fall, they began development on the retreat. “We hope to develop a full-campus retreat every semester from this point forward with new themes and material,” she added.
About 30 students attended the retreat on Saturday and the Chaplain’s Office hopes to continue them in the coming years. This theme was chosen due to the alignment it has with the season of Lent, which inspires self-reflection and preparing for Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection. “No matter the severity, everyone is dealing with something, and we want to help students emerge from this suffering through their faith,” Morley said on the retreat’s theme.
The day’s activities included listening to talks surrounding the theme, journaling, attending confession and a mass at the end of the day. “I hope that the students had the opportunity to step away from the stress of life for one day and reflect on themselves. I truly hope that this retreat can offer emotional and spiritual healing and a feeling of unity with others who are doing their best to maneuver through life’s obstacles as well,” Morley said.
If you attended the retreat on Saturday, look for an evaluation that is being sent out to attendees in order to receive feedback on this retreat. The Chaplain’s Office also plans to offer another campus-wide retreat in the fall.