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    Students' Hike and Pray Retreat with Campus Ministries

    October 5, 2021
    By: Emily Novak ‘23

    On Saturday, Oct. 1, the Office of Campus Ministries sponsored a fall hiking retreat, '"All Things New," at Top of the World in Dunmore. This outdoor retreat was designed to commemorate the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius’s cannonball conversion. The student leadership team prepared talks, prayers and activities for the 27 retreatants who attended while trekking 3 miles up the mountain.

    Rose Camiolo ‘24, shared a reflection on conversion. She discussed St. Ignatius’s cannonball conversion and how these moments can happen through smaller, meaningful experiences during which we see the grace of God in the every day of life.

    After climbing up the mountain and having lunch, I gave a witness talk about the difference between joy and happiness, how happiness has been a fleeting thing in my life while joy has come about as a result of practicing the magis – the ongoing pursuit to go deeper, be more and love more.

    "Spending time in nature, reflecting on how God has been working in my life, was exactly what I needed."- David Pennino '23

    Before hiking down the mountain, Matt Simms ’22, the student director of the retreat, led the group in an ecological Examen where we reflected on Creation, our role in it and how we can be good stewards.

    We were blessed with perfect weather and took advantage of the opportunity to see “all things new in Christ.”  David Pennino ‘23, a retreatant who also participated in other hiking retreats in past years, reflected on his experience this semester. “Spending time in nature, reflecting on how God has been working in my life, was exactly what I needed,” he said.

    The retreat itself was a cannonball moment, whether it was through the beauty of nature, through interesting conversations where all could share their stories, or just through the community that was formed on this day hike. Connecting with God, Creation and others on the retreat was a refreshing experience that truly was, as Pennino said, a breath of fresh air in the middle of a busy semester.

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