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May 10-12, 2019

Numen Flumenque! Marquette’s motto, translated God and River, is at the center of this brand-new retreat. Named for Father Marquette and his fellow explorers, the Voyageur retreat invites participants to be immersed in the outdoors and reflect on faith together.

We will meet Friday afternoon, drive 3 hours north to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and stay in the rustic cabins in at Wells State Park. Saturday morning we will drive to Silver Cliff, Wisconsin and go whitewater rafting on the Peshtigo River. In the afternoon we’ll hike and have plenty of time for personal and communal reflection, then have dinner, conversation, and evening prayer. We will depart on Sunday after lunch, arriving back at Marquette at 4:00 pm.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.
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.
Why are we staying in cabins? I’d rather stay in tents.
This retreat is intended to be accessible to both experienced outdoorspeople and people new to outdoor adventure, and staying in cabins makes that possible. If you desire tent camping, explore the Voyageur II retreat which is a more rugged experience.
Whitewater rafting sounds intense! Is it 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. More information about the rafting portion of the retreat can be found here.
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.

If any of the gear presents a problem, we can probably help you find or borrow what you need.

Open to:
All students, both undergraduate and graduate, of the Marquette Community.

Up north! We will be staying in rustic cabins in J.W. Wells State Park in Cedar River, Michigan. More information about the cabins can be found here.

Meet at Campus Ministry (AMU 236) at 4:00 pm on Friday.
Return to Marquette by 4:00 pm on Sunday.

$100, covers transportation, food, lodging, park fees, and whitewater rafting. Financial assistance is available; contact Sara Knutson for more information.

Registration for the Voyageur retreat is now open. Registration will close Wednesday, April 23, or when the retreat is full.

For any questions or for further information, please contact:

Sara Knutson
Campus Ministry, AMU 236
(414) 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 ...