Hello, my name is Jennifer Zambie! I’m from Austin, Texas and I’m a Senior studying Speech Pathology. When I was a freshman, I always heard upper classmen call St. Peter’s their second home, but I never understood what they meant until after I attended Bear Awakening.
I was raised Catholic, so when Baylor’s Welcome Week Church Fair came along, I headed straight to St. Peter’s booth because many high school friends had told me how great Father Daniel was (it’s true). I started attending St. Peter’s and joined a Bible study. But, when the semester got busy, I became one of those people who showed up right on time for Mass and left as soon as the final song ended. My faith and prayer life became a Sunday-only thing. The bare bones faith wasn’t fulfilling me, so I started looking for something more. My Bible Study leader kept talking about Bear Awakening and encouraged me to attend, so I did.
I went on Bear Awakening the spring semester of my freshman year, and it 100% changed the way I practiced my faith. Awakening showed me two very important aspects of my faith I was missing: COMMUNITY AND COMMITMENT.
First, community: Because of that powerful weekend, I met the community of St. Peter’s who welcomed me with open arms. I met people from every class, major and hometown that were praying for me and who put aside countless hours to plan for this retreat. I saw how much joy and energy these staffers had in the middle of a crazy semester, and for the first time I felt that I was missing something from my faith. I wanted that unfailing trust in God and the life giving friendship that were apparent in the community. They encouraged me to grow in my prayer life, attend Mass, go to Confession, join other ministries and share the Gospel with not only people on campus, but also the world. This retreat and the friendships that have followed taught me how to live out my faith daily.
Second, commitment: During that weekend and the weeks after I realized that the closeness to God I felt on the retreat was not just a one weekend thing but something that can be lived out every day through the Sacraments, prayer, and friendships. Bear Awakening inspired me to make a deeper commitment to my faith and helped me figure out how exactly to fulfill that commitment. It helped me grow from a Sunday only Catholic to an everyday Catholic. My college journey and, more importantly, my faith journey would look exponentially different if not for this incredible retreat.
Now, fast forward to my senior year (what?!?). I am the coordinator for Bear Awakening 15 and I’m writing to persuade you to sign up for the retreat!
“But wait Jennifer,” you might be saying. “You told us how cool Awakening was, but you didn’t tell us WHAT it was!”
You’re right. Whoops! Okay… what is Awakening? Awakening is a weekend-long retreat put on by college students for college students. The retreat is based on Catholic teachings, but it is open to anyone who wants to grow closer to God to “re-awaken” the fire of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t matter where you are in your faith journey, you are welcome here and we want you here.
Another cool thing: Awakening retreats happen all across the country at various college campuses, and once you have attended an Awakening retreat; you can staff any other Awakening anywhere! As far as our retreat goes, this year Bear Awakening is in the Fall from October 7th to the 9th (don’t worry there is no football game that weekend).
It costs $30 to go, but don’t let money be a hindrance. We have scholarships available! Applications are open, and you can sign up here or pick up an app at St. Peter’s. What makes the Awakening experience so special? The combination of the sacraments, getting to know others and the community, learning more about the faith, playing games, eating food, friendly competition, and other activities are just some ways that make Awakening an unforgettable weekend. But don’t just take my word for it, sign up for Bear Awakening and see for yourself what the Holy Spirit can do!
If you have any questions at all please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you! Thank you for reading and God Bless!