Beginning in January, 2017, the San Francisco New Orleans District’s Office of Vocation Ministry conducted three Called & Chosen Lasallian Vocation Retreats for young women and men. Approximately 60 students from a number of SFNO District high schools attended.
The first of two young men’s retreats took place January 14-16 at St. Joseph’s Camp in Duncans Mills, California. Both the second young men’s retreat and a young women’s retreat were held February 18-20 in Loranger, Louisiana and at St. Joseph’s Camp respectively.
Designed specifically for female and male high school students in the District, one of the main areas of focus for the retreats is to raise the participants’ awareness of their vocation – their calling from God. Throughout the course of the retreats, participants were invited to reflect on different definitions of vocation while also beginning to discern what their own vocational calling might be. This was facilitated through prayer, reflection, discussion, and hearing the vocational stories and experiences of a variety of speakers.
In reflecting on his retreat experience, one participant shared that he learned that vocation is a lifetime of decision making and work instead of a “one and done” occurrence. Another participant shared that she found comfort in knowing that there are different paths that can lead to happiness, satisfaction and contentment. A third participant’s thoughts encapsulated the message at the heart of the Gospels and a central component of the retreat: “Everyone’s vocation is to love, regardless of one’s calling.”
In addition to prayerfully considering their individual vocation callings, students had an opportunity to experience the Lasallian educational mission beyond their school walls. In the retreat presenters and facilitators, they experienced firsthand the lived vocations of Brothers and of Lasallian partners that work alongside them in the mission across the District.
At the conclusion of the three retreats, staff member Kenenna Amuzie reflected, “It was a great privilege to lead and accompany students on their retreat journey. The openness with which they entered into this experience, along with their openness to one another, created a rich atmosphere at each of the three retreats. This atmosphere encouraged the building of strong bonds that allowed for impactful experiences of faith and community as the retreatants discerned how God may be calling them to be of service in the world.”
Story contributed by Kenenna Amuzie, SFNO Director, Young Lasallians.