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First year retreat spurs faith and friendship

Emma Borne | Monday, September 16, 2013

The first of five freshman retreats directed by Notre Dame Campus Ministry took place this weekend at the Sacred Heart Parish Center.
Campus Ministry organizes freshman retreats each year to help first-year students reflect on what brought them to Notre Dame and what personal and spiritual goals they have.
John Paul Lichon, retreat coordinator for Campus Ministry, said the goal of the retreat is “to be an entry point for students for their faith life” and to “introduce the spirituality of the Holy Cross.”
Lichon said students at the retreat are challenged to ask the question, “What does it mean to be complete in Christ?”
According to the Campus Ministry website, this year’s retreat centered around the famous quote by Holy Cross founder, Fr. Basil Moreau, “Education is the art of bringing young people to completeness.”
Tiphaine Delepine, a freshman business major, said activities ranged from awkward family photo contests to trips to the Grotto. She said adoration was particularly moving for her.
“It was so powerful that everyone was sitting in silence for over an hour, just praying and being with God,” she said.
Delepine said she initially signed up for the retreat to bond with her roommate. But after reflecting on the weekend, she said, the retreat took on more significance.
“I learned about myself, I learned how I want to grow in my four years at Notre Dame, I learned about different opportunities to grow in my faith, and I made friends,” she said
Danielle Thelen, a sophomore retreat leader and a music and business major at Saint Mary’s, said the retreat was an absolute success.
“I wanted [the freshmen] to feel welcomed and for them to feel like they had a family and that they belong here at Notre Dame,” Thelen said. “I truly believe that we achieved this. You could tell by watching them becoming friends with people from different dorms and walks of life, talking about faith and opening up about their lives.”