Originally Posted: Nov 18, 2011
Last Updated: Feb 27, 2020
Was your interest piqued by my last post? (Was it the “family-style meals” part? That always gets me.) You must be itching to know more about Catholic college retreats! Below you’ll find just a few examples of the many Catholic-centric retreat programs out there. And whether you attended any of the retreats here or you have another experience you’d like to share, we’d love hear about it in the comments!
Encounter with Christ, Creighton University
Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, a Jesuit university, offers a number of retreats. Some occur at the school’s retreat center in Iowa; others, at various off-campus locations. Many focus on student bonding, like the annual freshman retreat. The Encounter with Christ Retreat is one of Creighton’s most popular.
“Encounter [with Christ] seeks to build a community of faith by inviting conversation about where God is found in the experiences of our lives,” says the Creighton website. During this retreat, students visit the Creighton center in Iowa and experience three core tenets of retreats, which I talked about briefly in my last post: reflection, prayer, and small group sharing. A support team coordinates the materials and prays for the students on the trip. Students are told to expect a life-changing experience; to bring a musical instrument or sports equipment if they like; and to leave their cell phones, computers, and “worries about school” at home.
Kairos, Boston College
Boston College students looking to strengthen their relationship with God can attend one of the school’s 10 annual Kairos retreats. They achieve that renewed closeness to God through their own reflection and bearing witness to others’ stories. “Kairos is an intensive weekend experience that invites close examination of our relationships with God, ourselves, and others in a communal and reflective setting,” says the BC campus ministry website. The events are actually open to students of all faiths, but participants need to be chosen via lottery—it’s that popular.
Awakening, Duke University
Though Duke isn’t a Catholic school (it was actually founded by Methodists and Quakers), the Duke Catholic Center offers some cool retreats, indicative of the offerings Catholic students might find at secular or otherwise non-Catholic schools.
Held one weekend each semester, Awakening is a student-led retreat for undergraduates that gives participants a chance to get away from the “sometimes hectic pace of university life for fellowship, reflection, and focus,” says the Duke Catholic Center website. Students join together in fellowship, listen to speakers, and talk about what it means to be Catholic in today’s world. Pretty holy for a school with a blue devil for a mascot . . .
P.S. If these trips sound like something you want to do, be sure to register up for them as soon as possible—they fill up fast! Often, this means signing up months in advance, including the spring semester before a fall retreat. So keep your eyes open for announcements and deadlines!