Retreat brings Freshmen closer to God
by Katie Rojas ’13, Staff Writer
The beginning of the spring semester brought about new feelings for IU’s freshmen. Students not only reunited with friends, but also marked the time of Novaremus IV, the freshman retreat. All during the Christmas break, fifteen freshmen eagerly awaited this event to meet new friends, gain a clearer understanding of one another, and more deeply explore their spiritual sides.
For the past three years, Novaremus has deeply impacted individuals. Many upper classmen elaborated that this event was great, and, with this mindset, Will McCann, Katie Bryson, Katie Shurer, and Denise Rose, the retreat leaders, as well as Sister Cathy gathered together fifteen freshman to join, the largest amount of students in the retreat’s four-year history. The retreat itself was held at Camp Innabah in Spring City, Pennsylvania. The peaceful wooded area proved to be a nice setting for reflective thought and meditation.
During the three days spent at Camp Innabah, we engaged in all sorts of activities: “icebreakers” in order to get to know each other better, small group meetings, discussions, journaling sessions, and games. Each leader also prepared speeches for us to understand the meaning of the retreat. We talked about freedom and responsibility, spirituality, change, and the importance of staying true to one’s own self.
In addition, we also watched a movie called Facing the Giants, a movie in which the protagonist turned to God in order to inspire a high school football team. Thanks to faith, the team was able to defeat the Giants, the reigning state champions, since each player faced his own “giants” or obstacles and overcame them.
Similarly, the retreat leaders also wanted us to face our own giants instead of merely accepting them as unconquerable. During a journaling session, we were instructed to write down things in our lives that we desired to overcome on large (“giant”) index cards. That very evening, we roasted marshmallows in a bonfire. As well, we also roasted away those index cards, meaning that we threw away our personal giants. When I threw away my personal giants, I felt as though a new beginning had begun and it had: a new semester at IU.
Overall, the freshmen immensely enjoyed the retreat. Many commented that they were more than happy to gain a better understanding of their classmates. Instead of only seeing that person physically in a class or around campus, we now see each other more as fellow companions on a personal level.
The religious events also brought us together in a spiritual sense when we celebrated mass, prayed the rosary, and sang songs of worship. Each person felt a bond while experiencing those moments. We felt united as a class, and we all gained precious memories that will not be forgotten anytime soon.