Philippine – Australia – Saipan Province

Year 12 Retreat – “Fully Alive in God’s Family”


Every year, during the first term of school, the Year 12 students from Penola Catholic College, make a three day retreat as part of their Religious Education and Faith Development program. The retreat also provides an opportunity for the students to get to know one another and build good relationships with their fellow students and teachers.



This year’s retreat was held from the 25-27 March 2009.  Sr. Mary is the Home College Liaison Person at the school and for the past two years she has taken part in the retreat as a member of the Team and small group leader.


Answering questions


There are nine Year 12 classes in the College. These were divided into four groups and each group went to a different Retreat Venue with their respective leader and small group leaders. The group that Sr. Mary was part of had eighty students accompanied by nine teachers and small group leaders. They went to Wonga Park Conference Centre which is about 30 Km north east of Melbourne.



The theme of the retreat was “Fully Alive in God’s Family”, a rich and varied program of reflections, story telling, Scripture reading, group sharing, songs, prayer and recreation. Most sessions began in the big group but the main retreat process took place in small groups which enabled the students to establish trust and special thoughts to be shared. Two very special moments in the big group happened when some students recounted their faith story with the entire group. In the small groups we looked at personal goals and dreams, family stories, Jesus and faith exploration, affirmation of self and others. At the beginning of each session a candle was lit as a sign of the risen Lord in our midst, and our respectful listening as each person shared his/her story.


The preparation and celebration of the Eucharist on the second night was a powerful affirmation of God’s love for each one of us, and our vocation to be messengers of this love.


Times of relaxation, games, music, dancing and walking added another very pleasant dimension to the retreat.


Relaxation dancing


Basket weaving


We had a great time together and we all agreed that the Retreat touched us deeply and that it will be a source of light and strength for the rest of the year and for years to come.


Sr. Mary La Bruna sjbp