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College hosts intercultural retreat

Bridget Feeney | Thursday, September 15, 2011

Saint Mary’s students, faculty and other members of the community will participate in the Catalyst retreat, an opportunity to learn more about the history of slavery and abolitionism in the United States, over the College’s fall break.

The retreat, sponsored by the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership Office (CWIL), will be held Oct. 14 to 19 for students and from Oct. 14 to 16 for non-students. The retreat will depart from Saint Mary’s and travel to Cincinnati.

“This retreat is a chance for Saint Mary’s students to be exposed to different settings,” said Anabel Castañeda, a senior attending Catalyst. “It will be a great learning experience.”

Catalyst participants will visit the homes of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, John Rankin, an abolitionist and one of the first “conductors” on the Underground Railroad and John Parker, a slave, inventor and Underground Railroad supporter.

The trip will conclude with a tour of the Underground Railroad before returning to South Bend.

“This will be very interesting because we know the back story and history of all of these people and events, but now we will get to hear the detailed stories about everyone and have our questions answered,” Castañeda said.

She said the retreat will feature a variety of activities, including team building exercises, lectures, educational films and meetings with representatives from each of the museums.

Each part of the retreat is designed to provide participants with an enriching and intercultural experience to take back to Saint Mary’s.

“The CWIL office does the Catalyst retreat so that students who can’t go abroad, for whatever reason, still have an opportunity to have a life changing experience during their college years,” Castañeda said.

Although this will be Castañeda’s first Catalyst retreat, she said she has heard positive things about the five-day experience from participants who attended in previous years.

“I have friends who went and they told me that the stories you hear while on Catalyst will make you cry and change your perspective,” Castañeda said. “I’m most looking forward to bonding with the other Saint Mary’s girls and continuing to learn from our experiences after the retreat is over.”

Castañeda said there are still some spots on the retreat available if other students, faculty or community members are interested in attending.

An application and itinerary of events can be found online at www.saintmarys.edu/cwil

The cost for students is $50 and for non-students is $250. The cost includes travel, lodging and meals. For more information, contact the CWIL office.