As students go through the last semester of the year, stresses begin to accumulate and personal reflection time becomes rare.
The Newman University campus ministry office put together a special spring retreat for women at Newman to have time away and grow closer together as sisters in Christ while reflecting on where they place their identity, specifically as women.
A hunting cabin in Nickerson, Kansas was the setting for the women’s retreat. They listened and gave witness talks, had time for reflection and food, and spent time exploring nature.
Retreat coordinator Clare Morgan explained, “Our talks covered physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. After each talk, we had a small group discussion and solo time for reflection and prayer. At the end of the weekend, we had Adoration, Confession and Mass.”
Morgan was assisted in the organization of the trip by elementary education major Marie O’Neal and Sarah Evans, Ph.D., professor of biology,
“Our goals for the trip were to spend time away from the busyness of our world so that we could reflect on what it means to be a woman,” said O’Neal. “We wanted to reflect on our identity as daughters of the King because so often it is easy to allow our identity to rest in our achievements, activities and schoolwork.
“We also wanted to allow time for reflection in the beauty and silence of nature,” she added. “Another goal we had was to cultivate a group of women who support each other. Through the sisterhood that was created, we hope that the women who went on this retreat left refreshed to continue through the semester.
“We hope that the women are able to share the joy and peace experienced during the retreat, so that we may cultivate a community of support throughout at Newman.”
For Morgan, the short trip was a gift from God, she said. After a long week of school work and deadlines, it was incredibly refreshing for the group of women to be able to get away for a couple of days and focus on re-centering themselves.
“We had so much fun,” said Morgan. “And everyone who attended was excited to be there and ready to be open about the daily struggles we all face. I am so grateful to my team for all their help on the retreat and for being willing to give such powerful talks on such vital topics.”
Newman senior Amy Emerson was one of the retreat participants. She said her favorite part of the retreat was “getting to walk down the train tracks for as far as they could go. The weather was perfect, the wind was powerful, and I truly felt several moments of peace. I also found some beautiful teal, green and grey colored rocks along the train tracks that I was then able to hand out to the other retreat-goers as little souvenirs. I thought they were a good reminder that every person you meet is carrying around something heavy and that you are stronger than you know.”
Emerson added that both Morgan and O’Neal did a fantastic job of leading this retreat.
“They stayed organized, joyful, and even when it was pouring rain and the rainfly of their tent flew off in the middle of the night, they kept a positive attitude about it and laughed off the fact that they were drenched and had to go inside the cabin for the night. Both these women are so strong and have a great ability to listen, be there for others and host a very successful event.”