Three weeks ago, the men of Old College made a weekend retreat. Going on a retreat is part of life and formation in Old College. Once a semester, we stay in a retreat house for the weekend and spend time focusing on a particular aspect of the faith. We have scheduled conferences and discussions about the theme, and often learn about a different type of prayer that we have never been exposed to before.
Friday night is devoted to nocturnal Adoration, a practice where we leave the Eucharist exposed on the altar overnight. We all take shifts throughout the night, staying with the Eucharist and spending time in prayer and reflection. We do our best to maintain a retreat mindset, trying not to use our cell phones or do homework while there—although we did pause Saturday evening to watch the Notre Dame football game. It truly is a time of blessing each semester, allowing us a weekend of recuperation and spiritual growth that is not enjoyed by many other college students.
The theme for this retreat was Our Lady of Sorrows, an important topic for us because she is the Patroness of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The retreat was led by Fr. Steve Lacroix, C.S.C., the Rector of Old College, Bro. Ed Luther, C.S.C., the Procurator of Old College, and Mr. Jarrod Waugh, C.S.C., the Assistant Rector of Old College.
We had the opportunity to learn about the history of the devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows. The devotion centers on the practice of the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows, which are moments throughout the life of Our Lady in which sorrow pierced her heart out of her great love for her Son.
Each of us picked a specific one and spent the weekend in meditation upon that particular Sorrow. We were introduced to Ignatian Meditation (or the Visualization Method), which involves intense meditation on a particular event or subject. For instance, I had the 6th Sorrow: Jesus is taken down from the Cross. I spent the weekend trying to visualize the scene, meditating upon the great pain such a sight would have caused Our Lady. The retreat greatly aided me in understanding and appreciating the scene of Our Lord being removed from the Cross.
Throughout the retreat, we were challenged to greater understand the Congregation and ourselves through a devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows. Such an experience is enriching and formative – truly a blessing.
Mr. Josh Bathon is in his second year at Old College Undergraduate Seminary on the campus of Notre Dame. He and his fellow Old Collegians write a post each month for the Spes Unica Blog, sharing on their life and formation in Old College. Learn more about seminary life in Holy Cross, and specifically the Old College Undergraduate Seminary.
The Icon of Our Lady of Sorrows on this page was written by Holy Cross Seminarian Anthony Stachowksi, C.S.C., and is copyrighted.