Awakening Retreat: Chaminade’s Spiritual Tradition


Photo courtesy of Daniel O'Regan, Campus Ministry

The spring 2017 Awakening Retreat members take part in a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

By Brad Angelo, Staff Writer

The Chaminade Campus Ministry puts on many events for the students to attend during the school year. Many of them focus on bringing the students together and strengthening their connections to each other and to God. One of the most well-known and talked about events is the Awakening Retreat.

The Awakening Retreat is a three-day event that all undergraduate students can participate in and is held every semester. It takes place at Saint Stephens and started on March 3 and ended the evening of March 5. That way students could enjoy the whole experience and be ready to be back in school the next day.

“It really allows other people to share there story,” said Danny O’Regan, director of Campus Ministry. “The goal of the retreat is that when students leave … they feel like they’re connected to something much bigger.”

Campus Ministry wants the students to not just have a good time, but to also discover that they have a large campus community supporting them. He goes on to explain that there are many different themes, talks, and skits that are put on to help the students get more into it.

“The great thing about it is that the students plan the retreat, and they lead the retreat, so it feels very much like its a peer ministry program,” O’Regan said.

So while O’Regan and many other members of the Campus Ministry go on the retreat, it’s almost entirely student led. This helps the students feel more comfortable opening up and talking with everyone. The ministry works with the students to try and make them feel supported.

Once students have gone on the retreat, they will have the opportunity to become student leaders for the ministry and for future retreats. The leadership team this year consists of 20-25 students, but O’Regan said that they used to have many more students involved in the past.

“When I first came here the retreat was much, much bigger, it was like 60 students going on the retreat,” he said. “It was a huge, explosive event, but there were some pieces missing from it. We had to rein it back and figure out what was the focus of the retreat.”

It was also the only big event that the Campus Ministry was focusing on at the time. They eventually decided to scale it down, but this gave way for other opportunities as well.

A rumor that was going around campus was that there weren’t enough students signed up for this year’s retreat and it was going to be cancelled. O’Regan commented that they were having trouble with students signing up but not wanting to pay the $50 fee.

“The reason we ask them to pay is so they commit themselves to the retreat,” he said. “This year we’ve have a lack of student payment, and so there is a fear that we might not have enough students.”

If this had happened, it would have been the first time ever that the Awakening Retreat would have not had enough participance and would have gotten cancelled. In the end, they did end up fixing the problem by dropping the $50 fee and letting students go on the retreat for free. 23 students ended up participating in this year’s Awakening.

“We’ve noticed the down trend of student engagement as a whole,” said O’Regan. “It’s made us realize that we can’t just sit back and hope the students sign up, that we have to go out there a really get students talking and engaged with the programs that we offer.”