The Catholic Society hosted a women’s retreat on Sat­urday at the Grotto, led by Dom­incan sisters from Ann Arbor. Olivia Brady | Courtesy

The Hillsdale College Catholic Society held a morning retreat for women this weekend, to provide addi­tional reli­gious com­munity for stu­dents.

More than 15 women from Hillsdale College gathered on Nov. 3 for the retreat. Tim Force ’17 and Peri Rose Force ’17 hosted the women at the Grotto, an off-campus hous

e owned by St. Anthony’s for out­reach pur­poses, from 9 a.m. until noon, and the par­tic­i­pants had the chance to spend some time with Dominican sisters.

Catholic Society Vice Pres­ident and junior Olivia Brady planned the event with the goal of cre­ating an event for women to be able to spend time in a reli­gious com­munity.

“I was thinking about all the guys here who have the oppor­tu­nities to be around other reli­gious men, like Chaplain Adam Rick or Father David Ream­snyder at St. Anthony’s Church,” Brady said. “I wanted an oppor­tunity for people to spend time with reli­gious sisters.”

Brady said Fran­ciscan brothers come to the college about once a semester, but it’s far less common for sisters to visit. She wanted to give women an oppor­tunity to connect with these reli­gious women, not nec­es­sarily as a potential vocation, but just for the chance to be around them.

Brady reached out to Dominican sisters from Ann Arbor, asking if they’d be willing to offer a relaxing morning retreat. She said the sisters were very gen­erous and willing to par­tic­ipate.

“I didn’t want it to be a retreat about dis­cerning reli­gious life, but a prac­tical retreat about prayer and living out faith in college,” she said. “And then just having some time to reevaluate your rela­tionship with God and how you can be living a prayer life.”

Sophomore Miriam Barry is a member of the out­reach board. She said she thought the retreat was even better than she expected.

“It’s def­i­nitely going to help me in my prayer life,” she said. “One of the sisters talked about methods of prayer and med­i­ta­tions and the rela­tionship with God. The other sister gave a talk about how to balance your life with God. School can be a real growth in your rela­tionship, but you need to make time for prayer.”

The event began with the Force family cooking breakfast for everyone at the Grotto. After breakfast and a time of fel­lowship, one of the sisters shared her tes­timony and spoke about med­i­tative prayer.

Then the group split in two. While one half spent time praying, the other half went on an Emmaus Walk. This walk pro­vided the women time to divide in pairs to have inten­tional dis­cus­sions about their rela­tion­ships with God.

“We talked about prayer and what prayer looks like in our lives,” Brady said. “We said what kinds of prayers have been most fruitful for us and some ways we’d like to grow in prayer. At the end of the walk, you prayed with your partner.”

Another sister gave a talk about living for Christ during college.

“Both of the talks were amazing, and I really appre­ciated this one,” Brady said. “The biggest takeaway for me was needing to go back to think about how I use my time in the day. I heard the quote ‘God gave you your entire life; you can give him 15 minutes in the morning,’ so that kind of kicked my butt and made me see how I need to re-pri­or­itize my time.”

Sophomore Bridget Breckler attended the retreat as well.

“I think the biggest thing from the retreat was hon­oring God through your present vocation that he’s given you, which for us right now is the vocation of being a student,” Breckler said. “So just real­izing that you can give the gift of love to him through the little mundane things like homework was a good rein­forcement that I needed.”

The group then divided in two again, switching activ­ities. Some women devoted time to prayer, while the others took their turn to go on the Emmaus Walk. After the retreat, the sisters went to lunch with the women and later on a hike to Hayden Park.

“I think the event went really well,” Brady said. “I really appre­ciated the very dif­ferent sorts of women that came. The sisters loved being here.”