Students, faculty, and staff are involved in many service activities that provide opportunities for personal growth through campus ministry. This school year, six undergraduate students, along with the director of campus ministry, trained 30 retreat leaders from our undergraduate student population, as well as alumni, faculty and staff, to lead 75 undergraduates on three Kairos Retreats.
These weekend-long retreats are held at Cradle Beach Camp in Angola, NY and provide “an opportune time” (the meaning of the Greek word, Kairos), away from campus life, to reflect on creating meaning in our lives. It is run completely by members of the Canisius community, for members of the Canisius community, is based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, and concentrates mostly on the first week of the exercises. The retreats are based on self-reflective presentations by team members, followed by small-group discussions, along with several “surprises” along the way that are held in confidence by those who participate in the experience. In short, to know what the surprises are, you need to attend the retreat!
Our six undergraduates who served as Kairos directors and assistant directors this year gained real-world experience in executing a retreat program just as a pastoral minister would who organizes a retreat for young adults in a parish or for an incoming group at a retreat house. The group included Kaitlin Garrity ’16, director of Kairos LII, Emily Dorward ’17, assistant director of Kairos LII, Ben Brasley ’16, director of Kairos LIII, Joseph Lesh ’17, assistant director of Kairos LIII, Darby Ratliff ’16, director of Kairos LIV, and Daphne Sietz ’18, assistant director of Kairos LIV.
The three-day retreats provided much needed reflection, built camaraderie and revealed to many where God is working in their lives, through the daily interactions that they have on campus.
Kairos is open to all students, regardless of faith tradition or a lack of one. The retreats are based in Catholic tradition and Mass is held on Sunday, but many non-Catholics have attended and found the experience to be a powerful one, which resonates with deep meaning in their lives. Faculty and staff are invited to be members of the team by the Kairos directors after their summer discernment retreat, where they plan the three retreats for the upcoming year.
Next year’s Kairos retreats will be held on:
- Kairos LV: October 21-23, 2016
- Kairos LVI: February 10-12, 2017
- Kairos LVII: March 31-April 2, 2017
If you are interested in attending Kairos, please contact Mike Hayes, director of campus ministry, at firstname.lastname@example.org or x2487.
Submitted by: Sara Morris, PhD, associate vice president for academic affairs