17 March 2023

Year 12 Retreat Reflection

Article by Mr Michael Tod | Director of Ignatian Ethos and Identity

Year 12 Retreat Reflection

Last week, the Year 12 cohort and a large number of staff headed off to Mornington Peninsula for the annual Year 12 Retreat. After leaving the school grounds in buses, the students were transported to the Queenscliff Ferry, where a brief trip across the bay saw them alighting at Sorrento. Another quick bus trip brought them into the wonderful setting of the retreat centre at Don Bosco Camp, Safety Beach. In a short period of time, students crossed land and water to arrive at a destination that is intentionally removed from their typical experience. This is the purpose of a retreat - to allow retreatants to step away from the demands and distractions of everyday life so as to become more aware of themselves and their interior lives.

While on Retreat, students are encouraged to spend time reflecting on what is important to them, their relationships with themselves and other significant people within their inner circle. In small groups, conversations about these topics are allowed to develop naturally, with the opportunity to contribute available to all but without the pressure to say something if it is not forthcoming. How often do we take the time to check-in on ourselves, to intentionally focus on our inner sense of self and consider what we might do to foster our wellbeing and spiritual growth? Along with the games, the shared meals, the ride on the Arthurs Seat gondolas, the African drumming session, the beach walks and the skits performed by each group on the final night, the retreat hopes to instil in all students an appreciation of how God might be at work in their lives.

It was so encouraging to hear students speak openly about their developing sense of self, their supportive families back at home, the specific challenges they face, and their hopes and dreams for the future. The ability to reflect on our experiences and learn from what we observe is a key Ignatian value and one that we can continue to refine as we grow and mature throughout our lives. I commend all those Year 12 students who were able to take advantage of this opportunity while on retreat and hope that the experience of small group conversation and personal reflection will continue to enrich their experience of themselves and their place in the world well beyond their school years.

Mr Michael Tod | Director of Ignatian Ethos and Identity