|The Whole Gang: A Final Group Picture from COR 7, Spring 2016|
Earlier this month, Fordham Campus Ministry's Retreat Ministry sent a group of Fordham student's up to Goshen, NY for a weekend of food, camaraderie, and friendship. What is this magic, you ask? Enter COR 8, the eighth wonderful installment of Fordham's very own student directed retreat focused on the heart, love, and the spiritual exercises of Ignatius. So, in short, the best of the Jesuits for a whole weekend with some pretty cool Fordhamites.
When I first came to Fordham LC in Fall of 2014, the last thing on my mind was retreats. All throughout high school, I'd been a part of a youth ministry leadership team at my parish where a large part of my responsibilities came with leading Confirmation small groups and retreats. I thought I'd seen all there was to see, and closed that chapter of my life when I came to college. When I arrived, the experience was nothing like I expected. In my first week, sitting in a meeting with Dean Desciak, I explained feeling a little odd and out of place. Almost immediately, he recommended I register for the Fresh Vision Retreat: a Fordham retreat tailored specifically to freshman students and the transition to college life. Begrudgingly, I nodded, and filled out the handy Google Form to register for the retreat.
|The Famous FV18 Photo on the Deck: Now on Various Campus Ministry Literature Near You!|
The day I left for Fresh Vision 18, I learned I would be the only Lincoln Center student on this 30 person retreat. Anxiety filled me up almost immediately: I was going to be the outsider. Riding the Ram Van up to the retreat house in Goshen with a bunch of people I had no connection to was absolutely terrifying. Once the 30 of us got into the house and introduced ourselves, the stress started to melt away: we were all students from the same university just trying to get through the first semester of our freshman year, and we all ended up there, in the same living room. Ultimately, Fresh Vision was the absolute best experience of my freshman year. Fresh Vision gave me some of the most important and formative friendships I have at Fordham, even now. In spring, I decided to go on the Women's Retreat, then COR 7 in spring of the following year. Retreats became the place where I could take a break and be myself. On Women's Retreat, we had a late-night, 26 person Beyoncé dance party in the house kitchen while making milkshakes; we were totally free of homework, social media, and the stresses. 30 of us who had been complete strangers less than 2 days prior cooked a full dinner together on COR 7. These are just a few of the memories that have become so integral to my Fordham experience. I didn't have to be the leader anymore and be responsible on retreats like I had in high school: I could just be me and focus on my own journey rather than making sure all the events I'd planned went off without a hitch.
Anyone who knows me knows that I can't stay quiet about Fordham Retreats and the community they've created for me over these past couple of years. My advice to anyone would be to just GO. Fordham Retreats are about more than spirituality; they're really a picture of the Jesuit ideals at work. Care for the whole person (cura personalis) includes the self care of taking time out to be reflective and focus on ourselves, and that's exactly what these weekends provide. All of the retreats have different focuses and themes: from Fresh Vision, to Second Wind (a Sophomore retreat), to the Interfaith Retreat, to the Charis Senior Retreat in the spring, just to name a few, there's truly something for everyone. They are also not limited to students of the Catholic faith tradition: these are open, accepting communities that allow you to participate at your own speed, in your own way. There's almost 20 retreats happening this academic year from start to finish, so take a chance, fill out the Google Form, and see what you'll find.
(See the link for more info! http://www.fordham.edu/info/26121/retreat_ministry/145/retreat_registration)