Twice a year, about 60 members of the Loyola student body go out of their minds planning the most awesome retreat that this city has ever seen. You guessed it- Awakening. If you haven’t seen the fliers, banners, and the tables set up in the Dana Center advertising the retreat weekend… well, you’re blind. Awakening is March 9-11, costs $30 (scholarships are available!), and if you haven’t gone yet, you need to go!

I’ve attended Catholic schools my whole life, so retreats are not anything new for me. But Awakening is a breed of its own. It’s magical, reflective, inclusive, and has a way of affecting you for far longer than just the weekend. I can’t reveal too much about what goes on during the retreat (I don’t want to ruin the surprises!) but I can say there is never a dull moment. Are you looking for thoughtful insight on relationships, people, faith, and love? Awakening has that. Have something you want to talk through with someone not intimately connected to your life? Done. Need some moments of quiet introspection? You can do that. Just dying to get off campus and learn a little about what it means to live in community? Awakening makes that possible.

I went on Awakening for the first time in the fall semester of my sophomore year. I attempted to go during freshman year, but other obligations and a less than optimal stomach bug prevented it from happening. For some serendipitous reason, I went on Awakening at just the time that I needed a break from the real world, some perspective on petty drama, and a chance to breathe in fresh country air. The weekend itself was amazing- its crazy how such a random group of people made me feel so at home. But I didn’t feel the real effects of Awakening until I got back to school. Again, I can’t reveal exactly what went on, but I experienced a profound sense of peace that continues to influence my everyday life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the Awakening community. Awakening is silly. It’s intense. It’s calm. It’s random. It’s whatever you need it to be and always more that you expected. This semester, I’m returning to Awakening as a staff member. I can’t wait to pass on my experience to all the new retreaters!

What are you doing this weekend, March 9-11? Are you ready to be Awakened?

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