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    Student Reflects on The Mystery Retreat

    Mystery Retreat group hosted by Campus Ministries.
    November 9, 2021
    By: Maggie Oberlies '24
    We began these new friendships with endless laughs and the best stories and it felt like I had known them all my whole life.

    How do I even sum up such an amazing weekend in just a few paragraphs? Well, I’ll give it a shot. What I thought would just be another uneventful weekend sitting in my room became a key moment in my faith journey with amazing new friends. In high school, I had such a great experience going on my home parish's Confirmation Retreat (as a retreatant and as a leader) that I knew that I had to go on retreats here at The University of Scranton with Campus Ministries. After going on the Connections Retreat as a first-year student, it was a no-brainer: I had to go on the Mystery Retreat!

     

    Student on beachAt first, I had some doubts. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to focus on my faith journey since I didn't know some of the other retreatants except as being part of the University worshipping community. I met the other students coming on the retreat and the amazing leaders who had put this whole thing together. To my relief, this retreat brought me closer to God and solidified my values within my faith. We began these new friendships with endless laughs and the best stories and it felt like I had known them all my whole life. Not even ten minutes into unpacking we were already bonding over the adventures that lie ahead of us. The rest of the weekend was no different.

    The conversations I had within my small group were eye-opening and spiritually fulfilling. One point that was made throughout the weekend was to reflect on our image of God and identify where some of those images need healing. Even though I always knew that God has no gender, I realized that I consistently think of God as "male."  But every time I feel that I am talking with God, I always get a response that seems like it is coming from a female. Once I allowed this – the feminine side of God – to be brought to my consciousness, it made so much sense and made my image of God so much clearer.

    retreat student groupHearing the retreat leaders’ witness talks really affected me spiritually and emotionally. On most retreats, I am able to connect in some way to the witness talk, but for some reason, this time around, they really hit home. It was almost like God knew that I needed to come on this retreat and hear these talks. I think She also knew that I had been struggling with a few things and needed some perspective. It was very refreshing to hear these stories from other people my age. Just having the reminder that I’m not alone was amazing. Listening to the witness talks and discussing them in our small groups truly helped me open up and talk about the hard questions about our faith. Being able to share this part of my life with friends is a huge blessing.

    I cannot stress enough how wonderful the Mystery Retreat was. This was a spiritually fulfilling and enlightening experience, and the student leaders were/are awesome. I could not have asked for a better weekend. I hope that other students have a chance to go on this retreat and that someday I can help lead it. And to anyone that reads this, please come on these retreats! It is one of the best ways to deepen your faith and connect with others who want the same thing!

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