Catholic Retreats a Place for Spiritual Grounding

By Michelle Siemietkowski, (C’92, G’98), Catholic Chaplain for Spiritual Formation

A single adirondack chair sits on a hill facing a vista and blue sky

Be Still and Rest in God, our newest Catholic retreat, is being offered this semester at the beautiful Calcagnini Contemplative Center and is the result of students’ desires to go deeper with their spirituality. While we offer many Catholic retreats, this one is different, as it will be spent primarily in silence.  

At first, one might think students would steer away from the idea of being silent on an overnight retreat, however, we are finding the opposite is true, students are saying they want to unplug.  They want to be still and have time and space to rest with God. I remember back in the fall when one student asked me what the silent retreat would entail, and I shared with him the general idea (the retreat will include chaplain reflections, Mass, and lots of time for quiet prayer and journaling), the student beamed and said, “That sounds glorious!”

If the experiences of the past few years have taught us anything it is how vital our spiritual lives are in helping us through particularly tough times. The Be Still retreat, like all Campus Ministry retreats, is an opportunity for students to realign with their spiritual practices and fortify their relationship with God. I’m deeply grateful that here at Georgetown we are blessed to offer our students these programs. I personally have come to rely on the spirituality of St. Ignatius for my own prayer practices, and I’m so consoled that our students find Ignatian spirituality deeply nourishing as well.

As one of our first-year Hoyas put it, “I would absolutely recommend the retreats to a friend. I think that it is very important to get away from the hustle and bustle so that we can hear and better recognize how God works in each of our lives.”  

As I look forward to our upcoming silent retreat, as well as our other Catholic retreats that also share Ignatian spiritual practices, I’m reminded of all the students who have treasured our retreats for years. They cherish the gift of time and space to receive God’s love and friendship.  And no matter where life leads, they are inspired to return again and again to spiritual practices that ground them. My heart is deeply consoled, grateful, and encouraged as I know the retreats help our students deepen their friendships with God, a God who loves them dearly and wants to give them life abundantly.