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College to host ‘Encounter Retreat’

Susan Head | Friday, February 18, 2011

This weekend, 18 Saint Mary’s students will participate in the fourth annual student-run Encounter Retreat. The event, sponsored by Campus Ministries, will be held at Camp Friedenswald in Michigan from Friday afternoon until Saturday evening.

The Encounter Retreat is a once-a-year event for Saint Mary’s that focuses on students developing personal relationships with Christ. Students also learn to think about the ways they encounter Christ in their lives.

The retreat involves a series of six different talks concerning different aspects of faith and relationships. Student leaders deliver all of the talks.

“Students enjoy getting to know God through other people,” Campus Ministry Assistant Director Regina Wilson said.

The student speeches differentiate the Encounter Retreat from other retreats. Every year, student leaders put a lot of thought and effort into their speeches. Students often apply creative techniques in their lessons including the use of music to establish and support a message.

The weekend will begin with a talk on how the attendees might first come to understand themselves and will conclude on Saturday with a talk titled “Beyond the Encounter,” at which time attendees will be invited to learn how to be Christ-like to others. Throughout the weekend, attendees will also be encouraged to share personal stories of how Christ has impacted their lives. The retreat will end with a Mass at the retreat center.

In the past, students have found the retreat rewarding, giving positive feedback, and Wilson said she is confident this year’s retreat will prove to have similar results.

“Students come looking for something such as friendship or faith and often find it very gratifying,” Wilson said. “The goal of the retreat is that students will learn that their encounters with Christ have consequences.”

The retreat also promises community-bonding events including games and various other activities. Wilson said she hopes the weekend will bring all in attendance closer not only with Christ, but also with each other.