Retreats and Reflection Days

We are women of hope, called by God to listen with the ear of the heart. Compassion and justice are at the heart of our mission to be neighbour.

Rationale

The retreats and reflection day program at Mount St Benedict College is an integral part of our mission of holistic, Catholic education.

Founded by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict, our school community is committed to following in the footsteps of the Sisters and St Benedict. One of the key dimensions to the rule of St Benedict that has been closely followed by the Sisters is the focus on a balanced life that includes a strong element of prayerful listening to God’s presence in scripture, people and the natural world.

Our retreats and reflection days are focused on nurturing this sense of a balanced life within our staff and students.

Aims

All retreats and reflection day programs aim to be:

  • Christ centred
  • True to our Catholic life and mission and
  • Relevant and engaging to the student’s stage of life

 

In particular our Retreat and Reflection Day programs aim to:

  • provide regular opportunities for the students to “listen with the ear of their heart” – to reflect on their spiritual life and deepen their connection with God
  • equip the students with knowledge, insights and skills that can empower them to participate in their own regular prayer life
  • provide opportunities for reconciliation and inter-personal growth as fellow members of our community

 

Themes

The program themes are:

  • Year 7 Reflection Day – Welcome to our community
  • Year 8 Reflection Day – My relationship with God
  • Year 9 Reflection Day – Building friendships – living life to the full
  • Year 10 Retreat – Choices we face in life
  • Year 11 Retreat – God in Creation (Stewardship) / Going Deeper with God (Pax) / God in each other (Hospitality) - students are given a choice from these three
  • Year 12 Retreat – Nurturing our Flame

 

Retreats

Throughout their years at Mount St Benedict, students in all year levels will have the opportunity to enjoy Retreat and Reflection Day experiences with their peers. The age specific programs on these days aim to connect with the particular interests and concerns of the students at their respective ages. 

Reflection days are held in Years 7, 8 and 9 while in Years 10, 11 and 12 a residential Retreat is offered. These days provide an excellent opportunity for students to gain a greater insight and appreciation of their faith and of the Benedictine and Good Samaritan traditions expressed in the core values of Pax, Hospitality and Stewardship

Content

The programs have been developed within the school and are the responsibility of the Ministry Coordinator. For each program there is a specific flow to the retreat within their design. This flow aims to engage the students “where they are at” in life and then inspire them to slow down and look deeper into their spirituality and connection with God.

The depth varies according to the length of the retreat and the age readiness of the students. They attempt to be gentle and inclusive. Each retreat is evaluated by staff and students and each reflection day by staff. Adjustments are made where appropriate based on this feedback.

Programs place a strong focus on giving students positive experiences of reflection, prayer skills and strategies that can be taken with the students after the program and transferred into their daily life.

Length

Years 10, 11 and 12 retreats are two nights and three days. This is considered to be the ideal time frame to enable a variety of activities, a depth of reflection and prayer as well as time to prepare for returning back to their normal routines of life after the retreat.

The Years 7, 8, and 9 reflection days are a normal school day in length. This is limiting in terms of depth, however, highly effective in terms of connecting with the normal routines of school and family life.

Grouping of Students

The Year 7 reflection day is held with the entire year group together as this is seen to enhance the effectiveness of the program in terms of its aim of welcoming the group to our school community. 

With all other reflection days and retreats, the year group is divided into three smaller groups. This is done to enhance the effectiveness of some of the key activities such as meditations, journaling, liturgy and sacred rituals.

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