Bonding at the Academy usually involves food, laughter, and reflection. True to form, on a lovely morning in mid-November the sophomore class headed for a retreat that began with delicious breakfast goodies and ended with a rousing rendition of “You Are Holy.”
On November 12, the sophomore class set out for their retreat at Mary Help of Christians, a notable retreat center, school, and summer camp. Not knowing what to expect, the girls entered Mary Help of Christians with open minds. The day flew by with laughter, team bonding activities, and a final Mass.
After Mary Help of Christians’ staff randomly organized new groups for the girls, they energetically engaged in helping each other with some challenging activities and patiently listened to each other’s ideas and concerns.
The trials included balloon bobbling, bottle lifting, balance beam re-arranging, bridge building, skiing, and reflecting on the “Patch Adams” movie clip.
As Madison Allen stated, “The team activities were a good idea, and it really brought us together.”
An important part of retreat was the Mass celebrated by Father Paul Chung, S. D. B., while Ms. Linda Ruescher conducted the music. During his homily, Father told the sophomore class about what he saw during their activities and reminded everyone about the connection to the real Dr. Patch Adams, a doctor who showed love of others by befriending them and making them laugh. At the end, Father passed out little pieces of paper with Bible verses for each person to contemplate.
In the view of Nora Johnson, one of the team leaders, “The most memorable event of the day was the balloon games.” Throughout the day, activities such as this truly brought the sophomore class together. Amanda Bell added, “It was an enriching experience and a good time to grow closer to my sisters.”
Father concluded the retreat with an inspiring PowerPoint titled “Go Light Your World,” which incorporated multiple photos of the sophomore class.
Campus Minister Sister Mary Patricia Plumb suggested that this retreat was a time to “get away from daily routine and realize that there is more to life while associating with those we care about.”