Finding God as a college student

STUDENTS ‘AWAKEN’ TO CHRIST—Fifty college students recently experienced an Awakening retreat at Catholic Campus Ministry on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau. (Photo by Meg Garner/The Mirror)
STUDENTS ‘AWAKEN’ TO CHRIST—Fifty college students recently experienced an Awakening retreat at Catholic Campus Ministry on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau. (Photo by Robert Hendrix/The Mirror)

Awakening retreat held at Southeast Missouri State University

“I loved getting out into the fresh autumn atmosphere in the woods to better hear God’s voice and to encounter His love for me,” said Madison Heisserer, one of the 50 college students that attended the annual Awakening retreat hosted by Catholic Campus Ministry at Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO). Awakening is a peer-led retreat for college students facilitated by college students in hopes to lead participants closer to Christ.

This year’s retreat theme was “Life Before: Finding God in the Silence as a College Student in 2016.” While on Awakening, students heard talks given by fellow students on “What is a Christian?,” “Masks,” “Reconciliation,” “Faith/the Mystical Body Of Christ,” “Prayer,” “Palanca” (self-sacrificing love), and “Responding to God’s Call.” Students also had an opportunity for the sacraments of the Eucharist and reconciliation.

“Finding God in the Silence as a College Student in 2016—this is a daunting task undertaken by self-aware, courageous men and women desperate to find meaning in a morally desensitized world,” retreat director Addie Harris said.

An adaptation of the Cursillo retreat to a college setting, the first Awakening retreat was held in 1974 at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA. From there, it spread to Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge. St. Mary at Texas A&M University adopted it from LSU, holding its own Awakening in October 1983. The retreat has now popular on numerous colleges/universities.

“My favorite part was getting to know all of the people on the retreat,” Beth Ludwig said. “My small group allowed me to be with others who I had not known my whole life. I also enjoyed the quiet prayer time, and the opportunity for reconciliation.”

Fr. Patrick Nwokoye serves as the priest chaplain for Catholic Campus Ministry at SEMO. Its director is Deacon Tom Schumer.

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