About 6 months ago, I received an email about retreats through campus ministries. As I was looking at the dates, I realized that the only date that worked for my schedule was my 25th birthday weekend. Ohhh what the heck? SIGN ME UP!
As the date drew closer, I realized that it has been many years since I’ve gone on a retreat and I would be going with women I had never met before.
As my 25th birthday came, I was in denial that I was 5 years away from 30. I was simply “not having this” for various personal reasons. BUT I was hopeful that this mini-vacation to Erie, PA would change my outlook on life. AND boy it sure did!
I stepped so far outside of my comfort zone both in my faith and in my personal life. I am familiar with the Catholic faith and have participated in many Catholic activities over the years. But like back then, I still found myself being uncomfortable since I am not Catholic and do not engage in the same practices in my own faith. I am a firm believer that my higher power is present regardless and I can learn about faith from any perspective.
Oh, did I mention that I stayed the night in the convent? In a room like the nuns stay in? As I gathered with the rest of the Canisius women for “evening prayer” with the nuns. I couldn’t help but think “What am I doing here?” There were so many songs, readings and things to remember!
It was a little uncomfortable eating dinner with a bunch of nuns too! But after the first meal it turned out to be my favorite part! It was so inspiring to hear the stories of these women including how they got to the convent, what their families were like, and the ministries that they serve in Erie.
One of the women even talked about her ministry as a counselor servicing those with PTSD and military families. She talked in depth about her experiences and opened up many new areas of knowledge for myself as an emerging counselor.
I wish I could say that my spirit was lifted through a particular event of this retreat, but it wasn’t. I was lifted through the work, the spirit and the faith of other women. I was touched by each woman’s story during this retreat weekend.
So where does CANISIUS play a role in this experience? I seriously love Canisius and everything that it has to offer. I almost regret not having been involved in campus ministries sooner. I loved seeing the bond between the women that knew each other and experiencing love from those women although I did not know them prior to this retreat. I loved the way that they spoke about Canisius College with such passion and love. A few were even retired from working at Canisius and came back for this retreat. THAT is how special this experience and Canisius is to them!
Peace and love.