It is that time of year again: deadlines are looming, the work is piling up and the end of the semester is just under a month away.
All of this combined with the circumstances of COVID-19 make for one stressed out and overwhelmed student body.
Luckily, the Busy Person Retreat is happening now to help students to stay calm and connected to their faith during this time. The Busy Person Retreat is an annual offering by Campus Ministry to help students navigate their faith with the help of a spiritual leader.
Though normally students involved with Campus Ministry are the ones to take advantage of these experiences, the retreat is open to all students. As compared to a normal weekend-long retreat, this event runs over the course of two weeks where students coordinate four and a half hours to spend with their spiritual guides.
This year the event runs from Nov. 2 through 9, with leaders including Father James Piszker, university chaplain, Sister Natalie Rossi, Officer for Equity, Justice and Inclusion, Sister Michele Schroek, former Mercyhurst employee, Janell Patton, Assistant Director of Campus Ministry, and Jillian Zaczyk of The Erie Diocese. Students are assigned to one of these leaders and will coordinate a consistent meeting time with them.
“Students appreciate the individualized attention the retreat offers. Many will say they appreciate being able to be in a judgment free space and able to work through their struggles of life and faith,” said Patton. Each year the retreat operates under a different theme, this year’s being “Finding God in the Mundane.”
“Given that many students are feeling like they wake-up and have the same day over and over again during COVID, we wanted to create space for students to process how they are doing in their daily lives,” said Patton. “Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives.” It is important for us to develop our understanding of God during the mundane, ordinary moments of life as we have more of those than the mountain top experiences of life.”
In addition to the four meetings, students are provided with a booklet filled with daily readings, passages from the Bible and reflection questions which can be used to guide their meetings.
Each of the four days includes a different focus with the first being “Day 1: Wonder of Creation” followed by “Day 2: Give Us This Day,” “Day 3: Finding Contentment” and “Day 4: Offering Hospitality.” It is nice to know that even during the midst of a busy semester, students can always look to Campus Ministry to find peace.