UW Whitewater Students: Guiding Feet into Peace

by Sister Julie Ann on October 16, 2008

October 12-15, 2008, surrounded by changing maples, and the fall season’s matching multi-colored marigolds and mums, UW Whitewater students promised to take time for personal prayer and to meet with other students for an evening session of group prayer amid their busy lives. Some came off of a weekend of helping with Habitat for Humanity, while others had enjoyed some time with family. And still others had studied their weekend away while being supported by some campus companionship, job commitment or other activities.

img_4780_1846.jpgBrian Zanin, campus minister, and UWW Catholic Coalition leaders invited the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity to be present for the retreat time. Commemorating the 800th anniversary of the Rule of St. Francis, Sister Mary Ann Spanjers, OSF and Sister Julie Ann Sheahan, OSF, planned the days around the theme of peace. Scripture,  sacramental moments, Franciscan sources, multi-media approaches, Marian intercession and small group gathering times allowed each person to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead to enlightenment. 

May he enlighten the eyes of our soul to guide our feet in the way of that peace which surpasses all understanding. (Eph 1:18)

This is the peace proclaimed and given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ and preached again and again by St. Francis. (The Soul’s Journey to God, St. Bonaventure)

Rev. Rafael Rodriguez, Pastor of St. Patrick Parish Community, Whitewater, WI,  Franciscan Friar of the Assumption of the BVM Province, Fr. Kim Studwell, OFM and Fr. Dave Bohnsack, MCCJ,  Comboni Missionaries, assisted with evening Eucharistic liturgies and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

26 thoughts on “UW Whitewater Students: Guiding Feet into Peace”

  1. Katie says:

    This retreat taught me a lot about peace and saying “yes” to God everyday. Before this retreat, I never really thought about God needing me, rather I thought I just needed Him. This retreat strengthened my relationship with God, my friends, and myself. Thank you!

  2. Julia says:

    It reminded me to take time out of my life to praise, reflect, and enjoy the things and people around me. Hopefully, I will have learned a way to peace.

  3. How great to see pictures reflecting prayer, discussion and “tending to soul matters.” I ask prayers for the students at UW Oshkosh who will be making retreat Oct. 26-30. What a force for good in our world and on our campuses are these students and their leaders gathered in prayer and worship.

    I would love to hear some of the students’ reactions AND any suggestions you may have for someone (me) directing a college retreat. I look forward to your responses.

  4. Ben says:

    It gave me the time to reflect on my life and the direction it is going. It was perfect timing for what I needed.

  5. Katie, after being with you the last days, I would say that God needs you and He is working through you. Julia, I hope you found your deep peace amid the evening tryouts. Now, Ben, you are a master of perfect timing. Peace and all good and thanks for commenting.

    Sister Anne Marie, I’ll let Sister Mary Ann respond to your request for suggestions. I feel I need to ask you first;)!

  6. Katy says:

    It opened my eyes to the presence of God. He is with us always and without Him, I can do nothing. I am now praying like St. Francis, because it is such a wonderful way to pray.

  7. Renee says:

    “By finding peace in yourselves, we make peace in the world.”

  8. The blessings of the goodness and hope that flow from these students are like a shower from God watering the earth!

    I so enjoy spending time with them, sharing prayer, the Eucharist, their sense of humor, their love for “free food,” along with their insights into life, school, architecture, family, friends, faith, and God!

    Sister Anne Marie, I have learned so much from you on how to listen, pray, appreciate, and share with others. My suggestion for you is that you continue to use your gifts of spiritual insight and deep faith as you meet with the U.W. Oshkosh students.

    Young adults are especially aware of people who are honest and compassionate, because they are so passionate about life…Sister Anne Marie, you do this quite naturally, thank you for being part of this stirring ministry!

  9. Joanne says:

    I felt rejuvenated, almost like a fresh start to strengthen my connection with God.

  10. Roberta says:

    This retreat gave me a chance to take time in the middle of the day and re-focus on God and his love with others. It gave me a focus and reminded me of peace in my life and reflecting on my feelings. It was great to have a small retreat from crazy life during the day and calm at the evening.

  11. Daniel says:

    Made me closer to God. Find it difficult to pray in dorms. Past 3 days was a beautiful time praying with Americans, seeing how important God is in their lives and learning from their personal reflections.

  12. Joanne and Roberta, it was wonderful to be able to share on a faith level with each of you!
    I am so glad that this was a renewing and peaceful experience for you both! A good deal of the blessings come from your openess to believing in God’s love for you! You are both very faith-filled women!

  13. Katy and Renee,
    Jesus’ peace is evident in both of your lives! Uniting oneself with Jesus IN THE MIDST of everyday life is so Franciscan and is the key to sharing the peace of God from within our hearts! Thanks for your presence and sincerity during the retreat!

  14. Daniel, I appreciated your honesty. Realize, too, that others are learning much from you. Your own reflections are extremely valuable as we all respond to the Gospel that is meant for every place and time.

  15. Karen says:

    The retreat provided me with moments where I understood what God wanted me to know at that moment. It helped me learn about peace.

  16. Sara says:

    Even for just a half-hour a day, I was able to find peace and focus on the things in life that really matter. I was able to slow down my life and really just be reminded of the things I have been neglecting spiritually.

  17. Karen, I trust that you are continuing to walk in the pathways of peace as you support those of the Jewish faith and those who share your own Catholic beliefs. Sara, I am ever impressed with your joyfulness. Peace and all good.

  18. Sara your smile and interaction bring peace to all who come in contact with you! I’m glad that the retreat provided an opportunity to “go deeper”!
    Peace and all goodness,

  19. Ellie says:

    The retreat allowed me to take time to consider more about God’s Word. The songs were good and I liked Mass here.

  20. Nick says:

    The retreat brought me so much closer to God. It helped me to balance my school life and still find time to be with God.

  21. Ellie and Nick, your faithfulness to the times of prayer and reflection during the retreat obviously bear fruit in harmony and peace.

    A relationship with Jesus takes effort, but he always meets us more than half way! It was so good to share this time with such faith-filled people like yourselves!

  22. Danielle says:

    This retreat has touched my life in a way my peace was enriched. I learned more about inner, deep peace and all the ways to find peace.

  23. Megan says:

    It was nice being able to spread out the ‘peace’ idea throughout several days and discovering where we see peace in our everyday life.

  24. You are both peace-filled young women Megan and Danielle! This is evident by the importance with which you placed this retreat on peace in your lives. May you continue to experience the peace of God!

  25. Justin says:

    It allowed myself to reflect on that peace is bestowed upon us. That it is a gift from God that we must ask and say yes if we want peace to enter our lives.

  26. Justin, peace and all good to you. Sister Mary Ann and I were able to visit your home parish last week. From our choir loft view, we were impressed with the wonderful people and their participation.

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