A dozen University students took part in a three-day silent retreat at Chapman Lake from Friday to Sunday. St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises formed the basis for the retreat, which focused on the power of imagination in prayer.
Senior Tim Janes attended the retreat and said it was a unique experience. He especially appreciated the reflections when he was called to imagine himself in Biblical scenes.
“That was totally new to me,” Janes said. “I think they’re great. They call you to imagine yourself as if you’re there … it makes it more real.”
Janes also said he thinks everyone can benefit from a silent retreat.
“I would say don’t let yourself get in the way of you going on a retreat. It’s not scary — it’s really calming,” he said.
Campus minister Amy Hoegan said the silent retreat provides an opportunity to be open to God’s presence in the mind and reflect on what that means.
Hoegan said the retreat is beneficial because “we are inundated with so much busyness and noise” in daily life.
The silence allows retreatants to give themselves permission to be quiet, she added.
Hoegan acted as spiritual director during the weekend, which allowed her to guide the student without being overbearing, she said.
“The role of the spiritual director is really to get out of the way so God can work,” Hoegan said.
Senior Benjamin Turcea, who also attended the retreat, said he found the silence liberating.
“When you shut up verbally, you find yourself mentally and emotionally speaking to God and to yourself. I found going into the experience that I was holding my breath, and I was able to let it out in a way and relax,” Turcea said. “But on another level, I was holding my breath through the whole thing because I saw the retreat as a way to reflect on the coming year.”