By Jane Hearn and Clare Coniglio
Every year, sometime after Christmas, Mercy students are given a day off. A day, we’re told, for the faculty retreat. Besides the obvious of a day off what is the faculty retreat and what do the teachers do at it?
This is a question that many students have not bothered to ask. While it might momentarily cross their minds, the promise of a day off is a more pressing matter. This article will try to answer this ever present question of what the faculty retreat is, what the teachers do at it, and what its real purpose is.
While the faculty retreat might seem like an unstructured day for teachers to relax, it is anything but that. The day is packed full of fun spiritual and bonding activities.
When asked what these activities are, Campus Minister Mrs. Miller said, “It varies year to year. The last few years we have included service in our retreat. Recently we all went to the open door mission and volunteered together.”
While previous years have included lots of fun activities in the Omaha community, this year
promises to be different. According to Miller, this year’s retreat will be a great opportunity in the midst of Covid-19 to, “provide faculty and staff with time to be together, especially this year since we have all been very isolated.”
In years past the retreat has taken many different forms. This year it will take on the challenge of not only being a spiritual retreat but also an opportunity for Mercy’s staff to have some much needed relaxed bonding time.
Every student can relate to the experience of a retreat. Teachers and student retreats are very similar.
Miller says, “Covid is allowing us to appreciate things we usually take for granted.” For most students retreats are fun days spent together with classmates.
This year many retreats have been different and more isolated. The faculty is lucky enough to all be together and grow further in their relationships with each other and their personal faith lives. And yes, lunch will be provided.
The overall theme for the retreat is “The Mercy Embrace”. Because of Covid-19 restrictions there will be no extra people in the building like guest speakers. Guests will be zooming in to lead parts of the retreat.
One guest speaker is Fr. Harry Gillick. Gillick is a Jesuit priest who is living on the Jesuit campus due to concern for the health and well being of their community. Gillick is the leader of the retreat and has created the theme He will be leading various zoom breakout sessions throughout the retreat. He is focusing on Mercy though different aspects of life.