This year’s participants pose together during their first retreat in October. Photo courtesy of Archiocese of Kingston

Duc in Altum gives guidance to Kingston young adults

By  Mirjana Villenueve, Youth Speak News
  • November 17, 2017
This year, Robert Brown wanted to make Jesus his main priority. 

So despite his busy schedule as a fourth-year engineering student at Queen’s University, he decided to sign up for Kingston’s Duc in Altum retreat. 

“When you’re a student, you’re busy and it’ll be nice to have that time with Jesus,” said Brown, who is participating with six other young adults. 

The program, in its second year, runs from October to May and has eight sessions — two weekend retreats that bookend six full Saturday sessions. Each session covers a different topic relevant to Catholic young adults and vocational discernment. 

Duc in Altum means “put out into the deep,” and that is exactly what this program has been challenging young adults to do since 2005. A small team in Montreal started the program with the help of the Salesian Sisters. Its success in Montreal inspired other cities to create similar programs, spreading to Ottawa, Toronto and now Kingston. 

Along with the monthly sessions, each participant is invited to meet with a spiritual accompanier once a month. They are older adults who are available to listen and share insights, essentially walking participants through the program.

“This year’s participants are wonderful and we are excited to head out into the deep with them as we move through the year,” said Nadia Gundert, youth coordinator for the Archdiocese of Kingston.

After the weekend retreat, Brown said he felt refreshed and that the change of pace was welcome, giving him time to reflect on his relationship with Jesus and connect with other young people. “It was a very peaceful time filled with great discussions. That’s probably the part I enjoy the most.”

Gundert said she started the program in Kingston last year because she felt “there wasn’t much going on for young adults in their 20s and 30s and that an awareness of vocation culture was needed.”

“After much praying about it and talking to those that have offered this experience in other dioceses, I felt that it would be a great opportunity for our archdiocese,” she said.

Gundert described the very first group of Duc in Altum participants as “incredible, faith-filled, awesome individuals. As soon as we met them on the opening retreat weekend, our facilitating team knew that this was going to be something really amazing.” 

Greta Racco, a third-year Concurrent Education student at Queen’s and one of the first to sign up for Duc in Altum last year, said the program gave her a greater appreciation of vocations and how beautiful each of them are when lived in and through Christ. 

“I think I was expecting to hear my call to something specific, but what I got was something greater, something I needed more at the time,” she said.

The experience, she added, equipped her with a new knowledge of herself and other tools that she can use to continue to grow closer to Christ and to discern, not just vocationally, but in every aspect of life.

(Villeneuve, 20, is a third-year Concurrent Education student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.)

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