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    The Desert Experience Retreat

    January 7, 2019
    By: Fred Mercadante
    “In the desert, you can remember your name.”

    “In the desert, you can remember your name.”  I'm not sure if the rock band America knew how profoundly contemplative their lyric was when they wrote it, but the words are spot on!

    From December 16-22, 2018, the first of two Desert Experience Retreats this academic year took place in Death Valley, CA. This retreat experience is sponsored by the Office of Campus Ministries. Twenty student retreatants, four student leaders, and three faculty/staff chaperones took advantage of this unique opportunity to learn and practice the art of contemplation (or as is said on the retreat – “how to be present to Presence”). As the lyrics of the song intuit, the desert served as a great place for students to remember their true selves - who they really are, which is a key preliminary step to having a contemplative disposition. The five days of the retreat each revolved around different themes of contemplation (self-actualization, death, revelation/incarnation, perspective and surrender) and invited participants to explore how Presence resonates within the quiet nature of the different landscapes of the Park. 

    Matthew Marcotte `21, who is pursuing an accounting degree in the Kania School of Management, was a retreatant this past December and had this to say: “A Desert Experience was a challenging experience for me both physically and spiritually. It offered a unique opportunity to think about and reflect on topics that have impacted my life in such large ways while seeing some of the most beautiful sights that I have ever seen. It’s an experience that has transformed my way of thinking forever.” 

    The second Desert Experience retreat this year is set to take place during Spring Break with a new group of student participants, team and chaperones. For a list of all the Spring 2019 retreats, check out Retreat our web page soon!

    • alt placeholderStudents in Death Valley, CA.
    Mr. Mercadante is the Campus Minister for Sacramental Formation and the Retreat Designer/Facilitator.
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