Freshman retreat: a 26-year tradition

Riley Spieler, Freshman Focus Editor

Jesuit’s 26th annual  Freshman Overnight is a time where friendships will blossom, games will be played, and everyone will get closer to their fellow Marauders and God.

“Freshman Overnight retreat is the prime [retreat] for building brotherhood,” said Mr. Paul LeBoeuf, Director of Campus Ministry.

Preparation for the excursion begins in the spring, when Big Brothers are recruited and the campus ministry core team is put together.  Mrs. Kelly Barnes, the Director of Christian Service, Mrs. Amanda Smith, Administrative Assistant to Campus Ministry, and Mr. LeBoeuf are responsible for planning and operating this year’s Freshman Overnight Retreat.

The retreat exists to help freshmen get closer to God, but due to its intimate nature, freshmen also form deeper bonds and friendships.  It certainly helps that the talented student and faculty leaders of the retreat are working hard in order to help Jesuit’s newest students feel comfortable and happy in their new four-year home.

It’s Mr. LeBoeuf’s hope that freshmen understand the “men for others” mentality, as it is the predominant message conveyed during the retreat.  He explained that Jesuit isn’t a magical place where everyone automatically loves and helps each other out; its legacy of brotherhood is built upon by each generation of students.

“Be kind to people.  Go out of your way to say ‘hi’ to someone who’s sitting alone.  That’s what builds brotherhood,” advises Mr. LeBoeuf to the class of 2018.

Unlike a normal family, at Jesuit, you can choose your brothers.  It’s entirely your decision whether you answer the calls to compassion and understanding given to all of us.

Beneath the friendship and human bonds, the core of the retreat lies in religion.  Freshman Overnight primarily serves to question who you are and what you wish to do and be in the future, both the immediate and distant.  Then, the Junior Retreat serves to look back at some of the goals and revelations you had at Freshman Overnight, and to get a picture of the man you’re becoming.  Finally, in the Kairos retreat, students delve deeply inside their relationships with the people in their lives and with God.

Ministry and spirituality at Jesuit are set up in a cycle, Mr. LeBoeuf explained.  When a student learns something in a theology course, he wishes to see it firsthand, and then to act on that learning, which is where service comes in.  Retreats serve as reflections for what you’ve learned and done, and where you still can grow.  For growth, continuous learning is required, then service puts the learning into action, and the cycle continues.  The program ensures that upon graduating, every student at Jesuit can look back at their time and see that there is a great future ahead of them because of their new knowledge.

But, that’s all many years from now for a freshman.  If you’re preparing to embark on your first retreat, just keep an open mind, and store away the advice of Mrs. Barnes and Mr. LeBoeuf.  Focus on making friends, having a good time, and learning about God on your freshmen overnight retreat. “It’s the biggest slumber party in town,” said Mrs. Barnes.