Lauren Kolenda ’24, Staff Writer

Last week, I participated in the Busy Person’s Retreat for the first time. This retreat is offered twice a year a few days before Advent and Lent and is organized by Campus Ministry. The retreat lasts 3 days and is specifically designed to work with the schedule of a busy college student. Each day of the retreat, the students involved spend some quiet time reading excerpts from Scripture and praying about them. Then, you have a thirty-minute meeting with your own assigned spiritual director, either an IHM Sister or a Norbertine Priest. This year due to COVID restrictions, everyone was given the option to have their meetings in-person or virtual. My spiritual director was Sister Kate, and we met each day at Gillet Hall where all of the sisters on campus live. Sister Kate is in charge of all of the sisters living in Gillet Hall, and she helps them whenever they have problems. Sister Kate and I were assigned as prayer partners at another retreat called Freshman Inroads that I participated in earlier this year, so I was delighted to have her as my spiritual director. Each day we discussed different topics such as inviting God into your life, friendship with God, and using our gifts to serve others. We also spent time getting to know each other which I really enjoyed.

This retreat was a great opportunity to relieve some of the stress of the last few weeks of the semester. The Scripture passages reminded me that I cannot always control my life and in those times I just need to sit back and let God take control. I also had some great conversations with Sister Kate about ways I can grow closer to God in my daily life. I gained an awareness of how God is working around me through the people He places in my life, and the opportunities that come my way.

To anyone considering participating in this retreat, I would definitely recommend at least trying it. You never know what you might learn about yourself or what you will gain from it. I learned a lot about myself in three days. I learned that if I actually tried, I could relax and actually spend some quality time in prayer. I learned how helpful and encouraging the Bible is in strengthening a relationship with God and with others. If you’re nervous about trying it, don’t worry, I was too. This was only the second retreat I’ve participated in and both retreats here at IU have been amazing. Everyone involved is incredibly supportive. As long as you try, you will gain something from this retreat.

Overall, I am so glad I participated in the Busy Person’s Retreat. After being super stressed out about all of the impending assignments due at the end of the semester, this retreat gave me a chance to spend some time with God and get to know Sister Kate.