The first Sex, Love and Relationships Retreat took place at Chapman Lake from Friday to Saturday. It is a new retreat that deeply examines the interactions among people on the college campus and in the real world.
Since it happened during Family Weekend, the number of students on the retreat was small. There were nine students, close to an even number of females and males. Three faculty members, including Nathan Lefler, Ph.D. of the theology department, coordinated and oversaw the 24-hour experience.
Faculty members thought the community at The University would benefit after seeing many other Catholic schools having success with the retreat.
Overall, students seemed to enjoy their experience at Chapman Lake. Sophomore Sean Bassler called the retreat “transformative.”
“I think everyone benefited from it in one way or another,” Bassler said. “I saw a lot of thought going on, deep thought, maybe deeper than what would take place on campus.”
The retreat’s structure was similar to other retreats students can experience at The University. Retreatants were organized into small groups with males and females separated. This allowed conversations to be uninfluenced by the presence of the opposite sex, which could cause a person to be hesitant of what he or she says. Lefler praised a non-university speaker, Meghan Murphy, for her work.
“She did an enormous amount of work. She did all the talks,” Lefler said.
“Desire of the Everlasting Hills,” which is a documentary that came out in 2013, was shown. According to the International Movie Database, the film is a “candid intimate portrait of three Catholics struggling to reconcile their faith and sexuality.”
The retreat is expected to happen again next year and possibly one more time during this school year. Even though there was not much time to advertise, Lefler pointed out the amount of interest gauged on campus was more than the nine students that went to Chapman Lake.
“We had more interest than the 11 who signed up,” Lefler said. “We had probably 20 [students] that expressed varying degrees of interest.”
Lefler and Bassler feel that students who went on the retreat enjoyed the program and learned from it.
“This a really unique experience that I can’t see anyone regretting being a part of,” Bassler said.