What Senior Retreat Meant To Me


Emily Fitz-Patrick, Author

This year, Mercy seniors were told to pack our things, drive forty minutes to Sparks, Maryland, to the O’Dwyer Retreat House for senior retreat. Although I hate to admit it, sometimes I live for retreats. I love looking inwards, healing everything that needs healing. I love connecting with others, healing relationships, and getting a break from the every day grind.

When we first got there, everyone played a cheesy game that helped loosen some of the everyday tension people were feeling. As we played, it was as if I forgot all that had made me stressed. We also learned a cheesy dance/prayer that helped people get moving in the morning. It made me laugh, and I still remember it. I loved doing it with my classmates, seeing as everyone eventually got into it.

I can’t tell you what the other girls have gotten from senior retreat. Maybe they’ve gotten out just as much as me, or maybe they’ve gotten out nothing at all. Either way is okay. I can’t wait to talk to more of my classmates to hear about how they felt about the retreat. For me personally, I loved the meditation. I realized that the power of visualization is important. It even inspired me to meditate before bed for a long, long time that night. I was inspired by the gentleness I had for myself as well as my relatively good focus—sometimes, it’s hard to meditate. Distractions, stressors, and many other things get in the way of meditation sometimes. This time, it was like the air was crisp, the sky was clear, and everything was silent. My thoughts were relatively nonexistent, my negative feelings weren’t present. It felt good.

I read my letters, reflecting back on my relationships with my parents, adviser, Mrs. Mustillo, and Mrs. Kottraba. I felt so loved that I got four letters—and I looked inside myself to feel my parent’s love…even though sometimes I don’t take the time to notice it.

For dinner we had mac n’ cheese and barbecue chicken. For breakfast, we had french toast and sausages. The sausages were so good, that I went back for seconds. For our last meal, we had the choice of either chicken noodle soup or broccoli cheddar soup. I laughed at the table with my friends, and we shared stories over the long, relaxed time we had at mealtime.

Before I knew it, it was time to go. My roommate and I packed our bags and said a final goodbye to our very, very small room. I felt grateful. I got to sit and eat with friends I don’t normally chat with, and I got to bond with people I don’t normally bond with through fun activities.

Senior retreat was a success!