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Year 12 Retreat Reflection

1 May 2017

Our final Year 12 Retreat was an uplifting and spiritually inspiring experience. On Wednesday 5 April we arrived at Mulgoa full of anticipation and excitement for what was to come. We started with some icebreakers, which helped us to settle in and get in the mood. During the opening prayer, Ms Stojanovski introduced the theme of our retreat, ‘our life journey is our faith journey’. She reminded us that along the road there will be both joys and challenges, however, it is not what happened that matters most, but how you respond that really counts.

 

The focus of the first day of retreat was to look at the past and how our journey has shaped where we are today. The activities that we participated in allowed us to ‘peel back the layers,’ allowing us to know more about each other at a deeper and more personal level, so we could bond as a Year group. We soon split into small groups where each person shared a sacred and meaningful object. This allowed us to learn things about each other that we never knew before and build relationships with members of our grade. Following this, we had the opportunity to contribute our objects to the sacred space. This made us feel united as a Year group, each with our own stories and pasts. We then participated in a ‘rotational conversation’ activity, listening to each other with our eyes, ears and hearts about various topics. The mandala activity afterwards allowed us to build resilience and allow us to respond to different situations that could occur in our lives. Here, we learnt that our futures are uncertain but exciting. Later in the day we had the privilege to listen to Ms Munro’s life journey. Ms Munro’s perseverance throughout her journey towards becoming a teacher was inspiring, and helped to encourage us through our HSC and futures beyond school. After a long day of reflecting upon our pasts, we engaged in silent and reflective meditation, allowing us to wind down and take in all the events of the day, before going back to our cabins and sleeping.

 

After our good night’s rest, Ms Stojanovski, Ms Gill and some early risers participated in a early morning walk where they had the opportunity to be amongst nature, meet the infamous Thomas and start thinking about the present- the theme of Thursday’s activities. After breakfast, Ms Gill led us in prayer through her story highlighting the journey of a man towards achieving his dreams of finding treasure. This taught us the importance of following our dreams and perseverance. This led to the next activity, affirmations. Here we engaged with each other, learning about the qualities of another person in our grade, underlining each other's gifts and talents. In doing this, we understood that every unique individual is valued and plays an important role in our community. After morning tea, Ms Stojanovski shared with us her personal faith journey emphasising the importance of continuing our faith journey in life and be open to the signs of the holy spirit. 


Following a break where we were able to enjoy the company of others and our surroundings, we focused on our relationships with our families. Ms Thomas shared her story of being a child a parent emphasising the unconditional love a parent has for their child. We then received surprise letters from our loved ones, aspecial moment which moved many of us. Later in the afternoon we prepared for mass and reconciliation where each of us were able to use our talents to create this special occasion. Reconciliation was a sacred time where we took time to reflect, build bridges and thanked each other for the friendships we have made. We were also very lucky to have Simon lead us in song.  We ended the night with a friendly game of trivia, which allowed us to have some fun at the end of a great day.

 

The final day at Retreat was a day we all focused on the future, and how we could take our Retreat

experience with us on our journeys outside of school. The day began with Mass where we reflected on our Retreat  experience, shared in the Eucharist and sang our favourite hymns. To end the Retreat, we individually wrote a letter to ourselves that will be sent to us when we graduate from Mercy, which will remind us about our special Retreat and how this experience will impact on our time after school.

 

This was a special ending to what has been a great retreat!

 

Ashleigh H & Ingrid P

Year 12 College Leaders

 

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