Posted: 22nd September 2015

Clongowes Wood College SJ

On Friday the 18th of September, accompanied by Mr. Corcoran, Ms. Dolan and Mr. Heslin, we left the school for our Grammar retreat to the Dominican centre in Tallaght. The objective of the retreat was to become more connected with ourselves and become more open towards the people around us. We arrived there at around 9:45 am and already we had speculation as to what the centre would have in store for us. As a whole year group, we had a brief meeting at 10 o’clock to discuss the plan for the day as well as outlining and discussing what made us stressed and how we resolve these things. Our day was divided into three periods followed by a meditation and then a small ceremony before we finished.

We divided into groups of about 12, these were groups of people you trusted to encourage you to open up, and then, in our groups, we went into individual rooms. In these rooms, we sat in a circle and lit a candle of confidentiality. We had a list of 10 topics we could discuss, all related to yourself, be it your family, friends or relationships. We didn’t necessarily cover all these topics but the aim was to cover maybe two or three in great detail. We had a session until 11.00, when we had our first break. After our tea and biscuits we returned to our rooms, in our groups for our second session, which led right up until lunch. During our lunch break we could reflect on what we had spoken about previously; some decided to take walks while others just went out to get some air.

After our second break we summed up briefly what we had spoken about that day in our groups with our leaders. Each of us got a sheet and on this sheet you could write anything you wanted anonymously. The objective however was to write something you were grateful for or wished for.

All the groups came together at the end for a meditation session. Each of us lay on the ground as we were given the challenge of just simply relaxing. The aim of this was to take focus off the busy schedule we have and to just simply relax. We then had the ceremony in which we burned the sheets we had written out what we wished or were grateful for.

The day flew by and we were on the bus at 3pm. I know each one of us thoroughly enjoyed the day and it did pay off in so far as opening up to the people around us and getting to know oneself. Thanks again to the Dominican retreat centre in Tallaght for having us. I would also like to thank Mr. Corcoran, Ms. Dolan and Mr. Heslin for accompanying us and an even greater thanks to Ms. Dolan for organising the retreat.

Tim O Brien

Categories: Ethos
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