VIA Retreat

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Over the weekend, I was able to go on the annual Vincentians in Action (VIA) retreat to Lake Geneva.  We stayed at George Williams College, which was right on the lake and was a wonderful space to host us all. 

Around forty students went on the retreat, and each student is a leader in the VIA community.  Some of these leadership positions students on the retreat hold include being a leader for a DePaul Community Service Association (DCSA) site, being a service immersion trip leader, being on the Senior Team, or being apart of Meet Me at the Mission. 

While the whole retreat was enjoyable for me, a few things stood out.  One part of the retreat focused on solitude, and we were allowed thirty minutes to sit in silence for reflection with ourselves.  These thirty minutes were much needed for me, because I felt as if I had been constantly on the run from September 5th until then.  I was very grateful to have time to reflect on the year so far, and to simply allow time for myself with no distractions.  Another part of the retreat that stood out to me was peace circles.  Peace circles are a common restorative justice model that help facilitate discussion in a meaningful way.  I think peace circles are a powerful thing because it allows one to not only reflect and share their opinions with others but also to listen carefully to what others have to say.  Lastly, at the end of the night on Saturday, before we went to bed, we all sat around a bonfire and shared ghost stories.  I not only enjoyed these stories but also being able to form a closer community with one another. 

This one night retreat came at a great time because it allowed me to have a break from my busy life in Chicago and enjoy some nature before the weather becomes too cold.  I also enjoyed getting to know all of these Vincentian leaders better, and I cannot wait to see all of the amazing things each one of them does this school year to carry out the Vincentian mission.  ​