Testimony Tuesdays: Awakening Reflections

awakening

On the weekend of March 28th, over 60 college students embarked on a life-changing retreat known as Bear Awakening. There is a long-standing tradition when it come to Awakening retreats, and this year marked the 12th Awakening retreat for St. Peter’s Catholic Student Center. Here is what a few retreaters have to say about what they experienced on the retreat:

“Bear Awakening 12 was not the first retreat that I have been able to go on, but it is certainly one of the best ones! I went into Friday thinking I kind of knew what was going to go on during the retreat because I had experienced so many before as a retreater and as a team/staff member. This weekend certainly was nothing that I had experienced ever before. I let everything sink in day-by-day and finally was able to relight the fire of the Holy Spirit in my soul once again by attending the retreat. Ever since coming to college, I’ve been looking for something to do this, and I finally found it. I found the love and kindness in my new BA family and all of the activities that happened will forever be in my mind, constantly reminding me of God’s love and mercy for all of us. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world; it’s amazing that we have something like this on college campuses to further grow closer to Christ. Praise God for all he does in the staff members; they did a wonderful job! God spoke to me several times throughout the weekend, and each one touched my soul even more than the previous one. Feeling Christ’s love for me left me in tears several times, and it was just the happiest feeling I’ve had in a long time. I am thankful for the time away from college to focus on my spiritual life and grow. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up this “retreat high” and carry it on into next year, and if it’s God’s will, I will be able to staff BA13 and bring others closer to our Lord.” –Cody Soto

“My experience with Awakening was something that was more than memorable. Although I must admit it was unlike anything I expected. With the secrecy and talk kept under lock and key, I thought I would experience something that was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Much to my surprise, on arriving at Awakening, many of the things we did I had experienced in a few of the retreats I have been on in previous years. What made Awakening the experience that it was, (at least for me) was the different and refreshing ways that these things had been presented. What really hit home was that I saw these activities and for some of them I knew exactly how they would play out, yet they still brought tears to my eyes. The beauty that they hold, and the distinguishing way Awakening presented them was a much welcomed experience that I don’t think could be reproduced anywhere. I say all these things and yet, that only applies to the events that I HAD seen before. Needless to say, the surprises of Awakening that I was not at all expecting, were all the more wonderful! I heard words of love spoken by people I knew, as well as some that I didn’t. That was perhaps the most touching part, and through those words wonderful bonds were made between me and my new family, a family I know I can call on for advice, prayers, or even just to hang out. Awakening was an experience that I can honestly say left a permanent mark in my memory and in my heart. It’s a pleasant experience I know I’ll hold with me for the rest of my life.” –Sam Esparza

“Bear Awakening was so great. I had been hearing about it since the New Student Retreat in the fall and waiting for it took patience that I do not have. My countdown started in January. I was the first one to pay and sign up for Awakening, so you could say that I thought I was ready. Nope. Once it was finally Awakening weekend, it was so much more than I thought it would be. I saw the people from St. Peter’s open up and speak about topics that we never really hear. The whole weekend was simply indescribable and practically perfect. After coming back from that weekend, I am trying to keep everything in my head and use it in my life. I really cannot wait until next year’s Awakening.” –Clarissa Pompa

“Before Awakening I knew only a few people from St. Peter’s. Afterwards, I felt like I was really connected with a ton of new friends, and St. Peter’s became a new home. It’s also really cool to have a bunch of Catholic friends. Your friendship becomes centered on faith and is strengthened by it.” –Kevin Torres

“‘What was your favorite part of Awakening?’ You’ve probably been asked this plenty of times since Awakening has ended. For me it comes with the same reaction as when people ask why I chose Baylor. So many thoughts go through my head that it’s hard to give an answer. Everything had its own uniqueness. There were parts of the retreat that felt so powerful and real because I knew quite a few of the staffers. But while I was experiencing these and other parts of the retreat, I wondered how they were going to affect the other retreaters. So now I ask all of those who have been awakened, whether it was BA12 or any other awakening. You’ve been awakened. Now what? You may have heard voices tell you to hit the snooze button and go back to the way things were before the retreat. However, the voice you should listen to is one of defiance; a voice that says there’s a reason you went on that retreat. Hitting the snooze button makes us comfortable, but we weren’t made for comfort. We were made for greatness. You’ve been awakened. Rise and shine.” –Andrew Ferrara

Bear Awakening is also staffed by college students who have previously attended an Awakening retreat. Here are a couple reflections from a staffer point of view:

“I staff awakening. I have fun. I no sleep on awakening.” –Derek Christensen

“Awakening is a weekend centered around the great love Jesus has for each of us. I think what surprised me most this year was that even as a staff member, I was able to learn just as much (if not more) from this retreat experience as I did when I was a retreater. Being able to focus on God and pouring into the retreaters was not only humbling, but also a source of great joy. Seeing God working through all those on Bear Awakening was a truly beautiful experience that makes me so grateful to be part of a great Catholic community likeSt. Peter’s.” –Lori Owens

Bear Awakening is truly a memorable weekend and St. Peter’s is incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to put on such an powerful retreat.

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One Comment

  1. BA3 retreater. Staffed BA 5-9. I truly miss this part of my college/adult life. Such a great experience helping build others faith in Him

    Reply

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