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    In-person Divinely Designed Retreat is a Success

    February 23, 2021
    By: Amy Hoegen, Campus Minister for Retreats and Bereavement Ministry

    This year’s Divinely Designed retreat looked different but felt similar to previous years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the retreat leaders had to prepare in accordance with social distancing guidelines. The retreat took place at a new location: Bryn Mawr Retreat Center.

    At first, the leaders felt daunted by the large facility -- it did not compare to the cozy atmosphere that radiates from beloved Chapman Lake. After the leaders decorated their small group rooms and the common areas, Bryn Mawr embodied the safe space the leaders needed to create an amazing weekend full of reflection, laughter, some crying and joy; something everyone seems to be craving during these uncertain times. The retreat had been an experience the leaders and retreatants needed. This year’s theme focused on growth, and after the turbulent year we all endured, a little bit of growth was something we all could learn to cherish. 

    Marnie Monahan, junior occupational therapy major, had attended the retreat as a first-year student and became a team leader for this year’s retreat. While Monahan said the task of leading a retreat in the times of this pandemic was “intimidating and a bit overwhelming,” she said she ndivinelydesignedretreat.jpgever could have imagined the impact this weekend would have not only on the retreatants but herself as well.

    “It was incredible seeing everyone come together to listen, reflect and open up on this retreat,” said the junior OT major. “For the first time in a long time, it felt like a bit of normalcy, despite the distancing, masks and sanitizing. It was so nice to have some human interaction and be in the presence of some amazing people,” says Monahan.

    Another leader, Sultana Rahman, felt that the message behind the retreat still remains the same despite several changes. “The leaders worked incredibly hard to show each other and the retreatants that there is strength in your vulnerability,” said the junior political science major. The facility accommodated for safe social distancing while allowing retreatants to meet new people.

    Rahman was in awe during meals because “everyone was getting that little bit of human interaction that we had been missing for the past year.”

    She said she an overwhelming sense of pride for the leaders and is thankful for their patience and their willingness to adapt to this new change.

    Overall, the weekend had been such a success as a result of everyone working together. We wanted to take the time to thank the staff at the Bryn Mawr Retreat Center for opening their space to us and helping us create a welcoming environment for this year's Divinely Designed Retreat.

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