The retreat is based on the conviction that God has made each one of us for a purpose in this life. In our Church tradition we call this purpose our Vocation. This Vocation, this reason for being, is a gift from God in our lives. Think about getting a jacket that was tailored just for you. The tailor first measures your frame and makes a jacket that is uniquely designed to fit you and only you. Your Vocation is similarly tailored for you by God. However, God did not have to measure us, because He created us, and formed us from our conception. You and your Vocation were quite literally made for each other.
The Life Awareness Retreat is designed to help you become aware of the reason for your life. This process of growing in understanding of our Vocation is called discernment, and that is the heart of the weekend. The retreat is for those who have never discerned seriously, those who are just starting out, and for those who are already on their discernment journey.
One of the most important things to remember is that one cannot discern alone. We gather together with priests, religious brothers and sisters, lay vocation promoters, and people discerning from all walks of life in order to discern together. We gather for prayer (mass, rosary, adoration, liturgy of the hours, etc.), fellowship, discussions, reflections, talks, and one-on-one walks in order to help the retreatants learn from the experience of all present. Very often, it is the experience of others that helps us to see clearly the signs God has given us to show us the way to our Vocation.
The retreat lasts from Friday evening to Sunday midday. There is no registration fee. You will enjoy a two night stay, meals, retreat materials, and a whole crew of priests, nuns, and brothers ready to answer your questions. There are activities for the whole group throughout the day, but also time to reflect and get more in depth with a particular vocation minister.
While everyone comes away with something different (see the testimonials), there are some things to expect. You will will have the time, real time, to devote to the deepest, most important decision of your life. You will also have people all together in the same place who are trained and ready to help you explore that decision. Plus, you will get to hang out with a bunch of cool priests and religious.
You are only expected to be yourself; that is exactly the point. If you are honest with yourself, and can be honest with the people around you on retreat, you will find out things about yourself that you never knew. Think about what you can discover when guided in the right direction.
Is there too much/too little praying?
We know that people have different spiritualities, so we try and find a nice balance between prayer and social interaction. We have mass, prayer time, discussions, socials, "hang-out" time, and personal quiet time.
The Vocation Office and the Vocation Committee are committed to supporting you after the retreat as you continue your journey of discernment. If you need more organized activities, we can find those for you. If you need one-on-one guidance, one of us can help you. Or, if you discern your way into a community or the diocese, we can walk with you every step of that process. Our life-goal is to make your process of life awareness easy.