Graduate Voyageur Retreat

May 18-20, 2021

New this year is Marquette’s first retreat specifically for graduate students. Led by fellow graduate students, the retreat invites participants to enjoy relaxed time in the Northwoods, create and deepen friendships with students from other programs, and spend communal and individual time in reflection and prayer.

Voyageur takes place during the Tuesday-Thursday between finals and Commencement and will feature hiking, whitewater rafting, campfire cooking, exploration, and lots of meaningful prayer and conversation with fellow graduate students.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why do an outdoors retreat?

From Moses to Jesus to the Desert Mothers and Fathers, Judeo-Christian faith has a long history of encountering God in the wilderness. Saint Ignatius had major spiritual encounters at a cave near Montserrat and along the banks of the Cardonet River. Father Marquette’s prayer sustained him on both of his expeditions with the voyageurs. The Voyageur retreat is an opportunity to experience God in the beauty, majesty, and challenge of the outdoors. It is a chance to encounter God while doing—paddling, cooking, hiking, talking with others—and then to reflect on that experience.

How is this retreat different from the “regular” Voyageur retreat?

The major difference is that Graduate Voyageur is planned by and for graduate students, while the other Voyageur retreat is open to all and tends to be mostly undergraduate students. The Graduate Voyageur retreat will also begin a little earlier on the first day to take advantage of the added flexibility of going in the middle of the week. There will also be some differences in activities and prayer to better accommodate the needs and desires of graduate students. Graduate students are welcome to go on either retreat, particularly if the Graduate Voyageur retreat dates do not work for their schedules.

What are the cabins like? Are they heated?

We will be staying in two one-room cabins that each sleep 10 people in bunk beds. They are heated and have a gas range but no electricity or plumbing. There is a water pump outside, a big fire pit and grill, and an outhouse 100 feet away. The cabins are side-by-side and right on the Lake Michigan shoreline, making them an ideal place to retreat.

Is the whitewater rafting doable even if I’ve never done any rafting before?

Absolutely. First, the rafting most people think about in Colorado or West Virginia is taking place in locations with more elevation and larger rivers. Whitewater rafting in Wisconsin is a lot of fun but much more manageable. Second, the rafting company we work with has different-sized boats depending on the water level so they can make sure that the experience is both safe and exciting in all conditions. In 40 years of operation, they have never had any serious injuries. Read more about the rafting portion of the retreat.

What kind of equipment do I need?

You won’t need much specialized gear. In addition to clothes and toiletries you would pack for any weekend away, each participant will also need a sleeping bag, rain jacket, sneakers or hiking boots, water bottles, and a flashlight or headlamp. Wetsuits and boots are provided by the rafting company, and you have the option to rent additional gear like paddling gloves or jackets.

Campus Ministry has some sleeping bags available to loan. If any of the other gear presents a problem, we can probably help you find or borrow what you need.


Open to:
All graduate students, full-time or part-time, of the Marquette Community.


We will be staying in rustic cabins in J.W. Wells State Park in Cedar River, Michigan. Read more about the Rustic Cabins.


Meet at Campus Ministry (AMU 236) on Tuesday, May 18, in the morning (exact time TBD).
Return to Marquette in the afternoon or early evening on Thursday, May 20.

There will be a pre-retreat meeting a week before the retreat in which packing, logistics, and other pre-retreat information will be discussed.


$50, covers transportation, food, lodging, park fees, and whitewater rafting. Financial assistance is readily available; see the Retreat FAQ page for more information.


Registration for the Graduate Voyageur Retreat is now closed. Registration will open on Tuesday, March 9.


For any questions or for further information, please contact:

Sara Knutson
Campus Ministry, AMU 236
(414) 288-3689