Eight students spent what they described as a life-changing week with more than 60 people from around the world as part of the Marianist LIFE Week at Mount Saint John.
“I gained a lot from my time at LIFE week, although most of which is very difficult or impossible to put into words,” said Andrew Buchanan ‘18. “I met a ton of new people who I became very close with and I am grateful to call them my family. I grew closer to God than ever before and grew closer to the other CJ kids who went with me.”
Clay Mathile ’18 agreed, “It was awesome! Getting to know people just like you from around the country was just such an amazing feeling.”
The LIFE in LIFE week stands for Living in Faith Experience. Members of CJ’s Marianist LIFE Community (MLC) group organize activities throughout the school year, in particular, MLC Mondays.
“Marianist LIFE aims to ignite a passion for this vision and prepare students of Marianist institutions and parish groups to take this unique idea of community back to their own schools and parishes,” explained teacher Libby Harbaugh, who served as the CJ group leader during the week. “I went to LIFE week when I was in high school so this was a pretty full circle experience for me. Among the other students were three young women from my high school.
“I remember LIFE week being so formative and life giving to me in high school and now, on the teacher side of it, I can't say much has changed,” Harbaugh continued. “The experience will definitely be one of my favorite memories of my first year at CJ.”
The CJ group spent time together as well as separated in other groups with students from other schools.
“Some of my favorite activities during the week included our meetings with our mixed MLC; a group of about eight people and two moderators, none of whom we knew, all from different schools and backgrounds,” reflected Buchanan. “They were our ‘sharing’ group for the week and we all became very close.”
“My Mixed MLC group and dyad partner were my favorite because I met new people and was able to open up to them so quickly,” added Mathile.
Cecilia Meadors ’18 said an activity where the students renewed their Baptisms was one of her favorite memories from the week.
“We started off the night with a group of kids from all different schools, who we had met with a few times previously for reflections and discussions,” Meadors said. “In our group, we each wrote down, on a small rectangle of paper, a quality about ourselves that made us feel weak or inferior. We went around in a circle and explained our papers, then dropped our papers in a bowl of water that was sitting in the middle of us. Immediately, the papers dissolved and our weaknesses became our strengths. After that, we read a few prayers and renewed our Baptisms with the same groups.
“The people I met at LIFE week are now family to me,” Meadors continued. “We each made personal connections in different ways, no matter what city, state, or even country a person was from! Being so close with kids my age from all over the beautiful earth our God created helped me embrace community even more than before.”
Harbaugh added, “I saw our students grow so much during their LIFE week. I watched them push and encourage themselves and others out of their comfort zones. I watched them grow in faith, in understanding, and in community. They shared and swapped stories with students from other Marianist schools and groups across the world and in doing so, learned about themselves, their local communities and the global Marianist community to which they belong.”
Posted August 5, 2016