Why go on a retreat?

For any of the following reasons:

People come for their own purposes and desires, and one of the strengths of a retreat is that people can come for many reasons and each get what they need, as part of the community.

Iím not very religious. Will I fit in on a retreat?

If youíre open to engaging questions of meaning, purpose, faith, and spirituality, and youíre curious about how other people approach those questions, then a retreat will be a good fit for you. That matters much more than what faith tradition (if any) you come from, how often you go or donít go to church, and how strong or struggling you feel in your spirituality.

If you donít like considering questions of meaning, purpose, faith, and spirituality, then you wonít enjoy a retreat experience, but if youíre on this webpage right now, that probably isnít you.

Iím not Christian. Will I fit in on a retreat?

People of all faiths are welcome on all retreats! Participants regularly report that they learn and receive insights on retreat particularly from talking with those with a different perspective (not just religious perspective, but that is a common one mentioned). Most Campus Ministry retreats are based on Christian, Ignatian, and/or Catholic ideals and use vocabulary and principles from those traditions, but student leaders are attentive to defining and translating those principles so people from all backgrounds can find them helpful.

Finding God in All Things and Milwalking are retreats particularly geared toward people of all faith backgrounds or none, and Salt & Light is particularly helpful for people curious about or wanting to grow in Catholic understanding and practice, but all retreats are inviting and open.

How does financial assistance work?

Our office believes strongly that every person should be able to attend a retreat no matter their financial situation. If you want to go on a retreat, money need not be a concern. Just register for the retreat you plan to attend, then email Sara Knutson (the Campus Ministry retreat director) letting her know that youíd like to receive financial assistance. That will be followed by a brief (5-10 minute) meeting to work out the best form of financial assistance for you, which can be a reduction in price, installment plan, delay of payment, or some combination of these things. We have always been able to work out a solution for every student and are happy to tailor to what helps you most.

Are there any prerequisites for any of the retreats?

Almost none. Two retreats (Connect and the Ignatian Leadership Retreat) are for first year students only, and two others (the Marquette Experience and Silent Directed Retreats) require you to be in your sophomore year or beyond, but otherwise all are open to any interested student. You do not need to have any prior experience with Campus Ministry; in fact, retreats are a common first Campus Ministry encounter for students. You do not need any prior experience with faith or religion, and you do not need to be at any particular point in your faith journey.

I did retreats in high school, why would I do them now?

Two reasons:

  1. Many high schools and religious education programs have excellent retreats, but those retreats are often mandatory. While there can be good reasons for this, it creates a different kind of atmosphere and usually some participants are disengaged. All Campus Ministry retreats are entirely voluntaryóin fact, people make a sacrifice of time and money to attend, and so they desire to get as much out of the experience as they possibly can.
  2. You are (hopefully) more emotionally and spiritually mature than when you were in high school, and your questions may have changed and deepened as well. These can include questions about career and vocation, relationships, how to integrate faith and college life, how to fully own and grow oneís own faith, and more.

For both of these reasons, conversations and insights on college retreats are usually deeper, more open, and more meaningful than on high school ones.

Which retreat is the best one to start with?

It depends on your interests, desires, class year, and schedule. Every retreat last year had at least a few people for whom it was their first retreat, and mainly they were just happy theyíd been able to do a retreat (in fact, several juniors and seniors mentioned they were sorry they had waited so long to participate in one).

In general terms, the best retreat is the first one you can make that looks appealing. Pretty simple!

What if I donít know anyone else going?

It is very common for people to attend retreats without knowing any other participants, and usually the desire to meet new people is one of the top hopes mentioned by participants (including those who came with friends). Sometimes lifelong friendships are formed on retreat, sometimes the community disperses after the retreat, sometimes nearly the entire group stays in touch. But just about always there is a kind of community magic that brings retreatants together for the duration of the experience, forged from people who were previously strangers.

Is there time to do homework on the retreat?

We ask that participants not bring homework on retreat in order to make the most of the experience. We stay fairly busy with activities and conversation and like to use free time for community time and personal reflection. Even the longest weekend retreats intentionally return by noon on Sunday so that you have a good amount of the weekend still available for homework and other obligations. Generally, people appreciate the time away from the busy-ness of Marquette and find their retreat to be a worthwhile and memorable use of time.

I have other questions not answered here. Who should I contact?

Sara Knutson, the Campus Ministry Retreat Director, is happy to talk through any questions and can be reached in the Office of Campus Ministry, AMU 236, or at 288-3689.


Campus Ministry

The office of Campus Ministry is located in room 236 of the Alumni Memorial Union. A dedicated staff is available throughout the day to provide you with a wealth of information. If you are searching for a worship space, they can help you find a suitable space on or off campus. They can also inform you of the many service opportunities we offer. Read More ...