Amongst the numerous practices, events, and appointments that fill our calendars, it's easy to fall into a state of mesmerization from Monday through Saturday. 12-hour days can make it awfully difficult to stop, take inventory of the positives in our lives, and give thanks. Sometimes, it takes a change of scenery to find clarity.
For 13 Marquette students, they found that clarity this past week in Chicago. Ten seniors, two juniors, and one freshman took part in the school's first service retreat held this past Monday through Wednesday at the Lourdes Student Retreat Center.
As part of the spiritual refuge, the baker's dozen rolled up their sleeves and volunteered at a local soup kitchen. Helping the hungry served as fulfillment for the students as much as those in need.
It made me feel really good and I realized how positive people can be in the hardest situations. I learned from their example that to be positive in a world of hunger, loneliness, and emptiness shows an amazing strength of character. I want to be like that when things aren't going my way. If they can smile in the midst of despair, then I can also stay positive during the minuscule moments of sadness I experience in my life," senior Sam Salyer said.
Classmate Emmery Joseph echoed Salyer's sentiments.
My favorite part was engaging in conversation with those we served at the soup kitchen. It was amazing to know that we had truly made a difference and brightened someone's day," Joseph remarked.
In addition to their volunteer work at the soup kitchen, the students spent time reflecting on the meaning of the Eucharist, listening to guest speakers, and attending a Mass service.
The service retreats serve as a precursor for the ever-popular Kairos retreat scheduled for October 24-27th.
With the first successful retreat of the year in the books, Joseph returned with lessons that will be long-lasting.
"This service experience gave me a new appreciation for the blessings in my own life. It also showed me that kindness, even the smallest amount, can go a long way. I saw first hand that something as simple as a smile and warm welcome can mean the world to someone who is going through a hardship," Joseph said.
Interested in booking the Lourdes Student Retreat Center for a retreat or corporate outing? Located just blocks from Wrigley Field, Lourdes is surrounded by world-class culture at every turn. Contact President Jim White at email@example.com for more information.