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Natalie Hoefer

Christian Awakening Retreat Reflections

What makes this retreat so special?

February 1, 2022

The Christian Awakening Retreat has long been considered a staple of the Saint Xavier High School experience. Furthermore, there isn’t a single person on the St. X faculty that would say it isn’t worth the time. At no point did I not want to go on this retreat, but the pandemic almost changed my plans. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to go on this typically junior year retreat during my senior year. After this past weekend of retreat, I can say, unequivocally, that this retreat is truly awesome.


There are few, if any, experiences at St. X that bridge the gap between all different types of students like this retreat. No matter who you are, what you do, or where you’re from, there is a place for you on this retreat. I grew close to people I likely would have never met in my time at St. X and shared fond memories with people whose names I didn’t even know. Despite all this, my experience alone isn’t enough to encapsulate this retreat, so here are some reflections from my fellow classmates:


Anthony Eisert (’23)

Retreat was nothing like what I was expecting. I went into it thinking it was praying all the time and talking to God every day when in reality it’s mostly about reflecting on your own life and experiences. Retreat made me aware of my existence and helped me start to find out why I’m here.


My biggest take away was my newfound relationship with the guys in my small group as well as my connection with God. Before retreat I didn’t go to church much and didn’t really set aside any time to pray. After going on retreat I now feel more welcoming to the idea of praying, going to church, and talking to God.


There’s no reason for you not to go on retreat. Retreat was probably the coolest experience I’ve had at St. X so far. Even if you’re not Catholic or religious, there’s something in it for everyone. Retreat is about learning who you are with God’s help. Going on retreat will change your life. Everyone I’ve talked to who’s gone on retreat has said it was an amazing experience and they don’t regret it.


Will Varga (’22)

Retreat was nothing like I expected it to be. Going into it, I thought it would just be three days devoted to scripture and faith, almost like a reset button for my Catholic education. While retreat does focus heavily on that aspect, I was not expecting how much we look inward at ourselves. Retreat was a wonderful time for me to take stock of the decisions I have made in my life and how they have shaped the things that I hold most dear. I was also not expecting the renewal of brotherhood found at Mt. Saint Francis. Retreat gave me the opportunity to reconnect with friends new and old and find solace in the fact that we may all be lost, but we are finding our way together.


I think my biggest takeaway from retreat was the importance of reflection. Spending time away from reality gave me a chance to really get to know myself — body and soul. I realized that until I knew myself, I couldn’t find the necessary values to prioritize in my life. Also, the reflection I got from retreat has allowed me to establish better, more spiritual relationships.


Retreat is for everyone and I believe it is a necessary experience to have as a teenager. It doesn’t matter what you believe or your current circumstances, retreat gives us the chance to look inward at ourselves to truly understand the fire within us: the desires we have and what we do with them. I encourage all juniors and seniors to attend retreat.


Sky Kustes (’22)

Retreat was more than what I expected it to be, it still has an impact on me to this day.


My biggest takeaway was that there are people out there who truly care about me and enjoy my company.


I would say to definitely go on this retreat, it changed my perspective and how I see life in the everyday. It is most certainly worth it.


As you can clearly see, I’m not alone in my fondness for this retreat. So, if you have the opportunity to experience this St. X tradition, take it. With the help of this retreat, I feel closer to the St. X community than ever before. If you’re interested in hearing more about this retreat, ask your teachers or some upperclassmen, because pretty much anyone who knows about this retreat knows just how special it is.

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