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Nearly 100 seniors go on retreat

| Sunday, January 26, 2014

Over the weekend, a group of nearly 100 Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s seniors took time out of their schedules to reflect at the beginning of their last semester of college.
The Campus Ministry Senior Retreat took place Friday and Saturday in the Sacred Heart Parish Center, located on the other side of St. Joseph’s Lake, retreat director Margaret Morgan said.

Meg Handelman | The Observer

“The retreat is a chance for the senior class to come together and reflect on their time at Notre Dame and what they’ve learned. It is also a chance to look forward and think about who you are and who God wants you to be,” said Morgan, who is also the rector of Howard Hall.
MC Larme, a Notre Dame senior who attended the retreat, said the experience helped her reflect on many of the questions she faces as a senior ready to go out into the world.
“Out of the retreat, I feel like I got a lot of questions about my future and a framework for my relationship with God as I prepare to leave Notre Dame,” Larme said.
Morgan said the theme of the retreat was “Live the Big Questions Now,” a line taken from a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, and they wanted to help the seniors embrace thequestions and uncertainties in their lives.
“There are so many populations who can benefit from retreats, but in a way our seniors are most in need,” Morgan said. “We often underestimate how stressful senior year can be. It’s such a crucial moment in their lives that it’s often easy to push faith aside.”
Larme said many of the activities on the retreat centered on questions seniors face everyday.
“Based on the question of ‘Who am I?’ we got to paint whatever came to our head,” Larme said. “We had one hour and a blank canvas. It was really cool.”
Larme said even though she is a senior, the retreat still exposed her to people she had never met before.

Meg Handelman | The Observer

“I got the chance to talk to people that I’ve never known before and I realized they’re thinking about a lot of the same things I am and they have a lot of the same questions and concerns that I do,” Larme said. “I signed up [for the retreat] on my own accord but then it turned out that five to seven of my close friends signed up, too. But I also met a lot of people I hadn’t met before, so it was a cool balance of both.”
Larme said she did not know what to think going into the retreat, but knew she wanted the chance to remove herself from her everyday life for a little bit.
“I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the retreat, but I knew I wanted to take the opportunity at this point in senior year when stuff gets really busy to slow down and think about my relationship with God,” Larme said.
Campus Ministry intern Rob Goodale said the retreat, which he and Morgan have been planning since October, formed after talking to several other schools about their senior retreats.
“We talked to people at Villanova, Marquette, Gonzaga and Texas A&M about what they were doing with their seniors to get ideas for what we wanted to do,” Goodale said.
Larme said the retreat featured typical activities such as silent reflection and small group time, but also included some creative and fun exercises designed to help students reflect.
“We recorded videos of ourselves talking about where we are in our lives and sent them to an e-mail address set up my the retreat directors and they will send them to us after graduation,” Larme said. “It will be interesting to see how we have changed from now until then.”
Larme said the retreat made her realize once again how much she appreciates the entire Notre Dame community.
“It just reinforced the feeling that I am so lucky to be in the type of school environment we have,” Larme said. “It made me fall in love with my school all over again.”

About Jack Rooney

Jack is a 2016 graduate of Notre Dame, and The Observer's former managing editor. He is currently spending a year living and working for the University in Ireland, and writing columns to keep him busy. For more random thoughts and plenty of news links, follow Jack on Twitter @RooneyReports.

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