Catholic Campus Ministry spring retreat offered peace, faith and community

This was Catholic Campus Ministry's third retreat of the academic year with 36 students participating.

Emma Webb ’27 gave a talk about finding your identity and foundation in Christ

It was a beautiful sunny morning as 36 students arrived at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, North Carolina, to begin their day-long Spring Retreat. This was Elon Catholic Campus Ministry’s third retreat hosted this year, with Beach Retreat in September and Awakening in November. Spring Retreat is unique due to its length. CCM’s previous retreats were multi-day off-site events, which can be an obstacle for many students whose commitments to jobs, athletics, and academics limit their availability. However, since the Spring Retreat was just six hours on a Saturday, many students jumped at the opportunity to get away from campus and connect to something more profound.

Adam Pittman ’24 highlighted the importance of this retreat. “Retreats foster and strengthen community, especially in a world where we feel disconnected despite our constant connection to technology,” Pittman said. “This retreat allowed us to slow down from the busyness of everyday life and have meaningful conversations that help us realize we are not alone in our struggles and that there are people around us we can lean on and talk to about the hardships we face.”

Throughout the retreat, students had conversations and got to know each other without worrying about what was next or what was on their to-do list. As the retreat continued, student leaders Emma Webb ‘27 and Kiara Cronin ‘25 gave personal talks based on the theme, ‘Rooted in Him.’ Both speakers are a part of the CCM Servant Leadership team. The rest of the retreat team led small group discussions after the talks, led prayer walks through the peaceful wooden grounds, and served at Mass in the outdoor chapel.

Students on Spring Retreat attend Mass in the outdoor chapel at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, NC

As the retreat wrapped up, the participants had to be encouraged to leave. Many wanted to continue to hang out and talk with each other. Even as the cars pulled away, the sounds of conversation and laughter could be heard. Adam offered a wonderful perspective on the impact the retreat had on him as a soon-to-be graduate, “Retreats can heal this separated feeling and, through the commonality of faith, allow us to instantly form a connection with someone we have never met before or deepen a relationship with someone we’ve known for years. I have learned that faith is best experienced when shared with others, and retreats offer the space to give this gift to one another.”