Students and staff spent a day in silent prayer in order to better dedicate their school year to God. Photo courtesy of Seat of Wisdom College

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom students kick off the year in prayer

By  Gabriela Pariseau, Youth Speak News
  • September 27, 2018

Second-year university student Gabriela Jezierska didn’t know what the new school year would bring, but she knew she wanted to make the most of it. 

That’s why she’s glad her school, Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ont., hosted a Day of Recollection for all its students. 

As students began classes and assignments piled up, Seat of Wisdom College encouraged students to nurture their spiritual lives with its annual day of retreat on Sept. 12.

“I did a lot of just thinking in myself. What am I trying to get at? I don’t really know how to explain it,” said Jezierska. “So most of the time I was thinking what I am even doing and what do I want to be, who do I want to be?”

During Adoration, she asked God to show her how to be intentional with her prayer life, friends and academics. 

School chaplain Fr. Joseph Hattie said the retreat, hosted at St. Mary’s Church in Wilno, Ont., is a unique opportunity for students to put down their studies for a day and contemplate their lives, vocations, strengths, weaknesses and how God is calling them to grow this year. 

“When He created you, He created you as a gift to yourself with the task of developing your potential to make the appropriate gift of self (to others),” he said.

The retreat’s theme —“You have made us for Yourself” — was taken from St. Augustine’s Confessions and encouraged students to consider big questions like “Who am I?” and “What is my purpose?” 

The idea of being a gift to yourself was new to many students, including second-year student Elizabeth Jordan.

 “I had never heard that before,” she said. “I knew that we were supposed give ourselves as a gift to others, but I never really realized that God gave us to ourselves.”

During the day’s schedule of prayer and spiritual talks, the students had three hours to meditate. The time could be spent in the church with the Blessed Sacrament exposed or outside enjoying the beautiful church grounds. 

All were asked to maintain an atmosphere of silence during the retreat, except during community prayer, the talks and meals. 

Many students, including first-year Aedan Reidy, commented on how much they needed the silence for fruitful prayer. 

“I found it (Adoration) very helpful because it was silent,” he said.  “It put you in contact with the person we are here to study, who is the person with whom we are trying to develop a stronger relationship with.”

The retreat ended with a community Mass for students, staff and professors. In his homily, associate chaplain Fr. Blaire Bernard challenged the students to make a resolution so the strength gained by the retreat would not quickly fade away. 

He also suggested that students begin their day by meditating for 10 minutes on a Scripture passage and end each day reflecting on the question “Have I broken the bond of charity today?” 

He promised that these two resolutions done well and consistently will change a person’s life.

(Pariseau, 21, is a third-year Catholic Studies student at Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ont.)

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