What’s Happening With Retreats?

By J1 Reporter Carli Ahsan

With the current pandemic going on, class retreats are the last thing on any student’s mind, but this isn’t the case for Deacon Kevin Fuller, Mrs. Anna Kolterman, Sr. Jackie Thorn and the Campus Ministry Team. They have been working tirelessly to find ways to have the freshman and junior retreats. Luckily, freshman retreat is having minimal changes, but junior retreat is still very up in the air. 

Their goal for the freshman retreat was to make it as similar to the previous years as possible, while still following the COVID-19 regulations. They definitely achieved that goal, considering the only major change was not having a sleepover. The plan was for the freshmen to have a mandatory all-day retreat from 9 a.m.- 10 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13. The Class of 2024 still had a mix of large and small group spiritual and fun activities that served as bonding experiences for their grade. 

Freshman Retreat welcome sign at Entrance 9 of Marian in the fall of 2018.
Photo by Emori Hamilton ’19.

These were necessary this year considering that most of their time in school has been with only half of their grade. Everyone participating in freshman retreat was required to wear a mask at all times, just like any other time they are in the building. Administration and Campus Ministers strongly encouraged all of the freshman class to attend. Most activities were done in the gym. This provides enough room to follow social distancing regulations.

Just like any other year, the freshmen had no idea what freshman retreat entails. Before the event, when asked what she thinks the retreat will be like, freshman Mia Ramirez said, “I’ve heard that it’s the best event at Marian. It brings most girls closer to their grade and allows them to meet new friends.” As far as she knows it will be lots of activities to build bonds with her class that will last during her four years at Marian. Just like many other freshmen, she knows nobody is allowed to give any details, so that is just a guess. 

Other freshmen, like Shelby Gerken and Sydney Auman, say they also don’t know any details about it except that it’s about bonding with their class. “I think there will be tons of icebreakers, games, and group activities to help us get to know each other,” Gerken said. The element of surprise is still relevant in the upcoming retreat.

Freshman retreat isn’t the only retreat being affected by this pandemic. Junior retreat is being completely re-thought. Normally, the juniors go out in groups of about seven to the Open Door Mission with a different faculty member. They spend a whole school day there helping the community. This year, the Open Door Mission isn’t accepting any in-person volunteers. This caused a complete disruption to the traditional plans of junior retreat but definitely didn’t ruin the retreat itself. Junior retreat is still going to happen, but nobody is really sure what it will be like yet. The Junior Class Officers are helping the Campus Ministers figure out something fun and service-related to do. Nothing is finalized yet, but they already have some ideas that could happen and can’t wait to share them as soon as possible. 

Not even a global pandemic can stop Marian girls from going on their retreats. Sophomore retreat still happened on Sept. 8 and 9. The only change was splitting the grade into two different days depending on if they had an A-L or M-Z last name. Senior retreat is still tentatively scheduled for the spring, depending on the COVID-19 circumstances at that time. With the hard work of Deacon Fuller, Mrs. Kolterman, Sr. Jackie, the Campus Ministry Team, the Junior COs, and the Marian administration, the freshmen and juniors will, as of now, still be able to experience safe and enjoyable retreats.

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