Brother Javier Hansen, F.S.C., and two Saint Paul’s students traveled to the San Damiano Retreat Center in San Francisco in order to attend the Called and Chosen Retreat.
I was fortunate enough to be one of these two students, and I will be recounting my journey here.
On January 14, Brother Javier, Joseph Thompson, and I left Saint Paul’s at 3:30 a.m. heading to Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans. We left the airport and arrived in Denver at 7:45 a.m. We then experienced an hour delay but arrived in San Francisco at 11:30 a.m. We then rented a car and drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to reach our destination: The San Damiano Retreat Center.
We began the weekend with a couple of ice-breaker games. There were students from Yakima, Washington; Tuscon, Arizona; Moraga, California; and Los Anegles, California. All students were connected by one common thing: we all came Christian Brother schools.
We heard from Brother David Caretti, F.S.C., Brother Rafael Rodriguez, F.S.C., Brother Inigo Riola, F.S.C., Brother Martin Vu, F.S.C., and Brother Javier on how they discerned their vocation to become a brother. We also heard from multiple speakers on the other types of vocations, such as single-life or married-life.
At the beginning and end of each day, a prayer service was held to offer up not only vocations but whatever else the students and moderators wanted to pray for. A mass was held on Saturday night for Brother Raymond Bulliard, F.S.C.
One major theme of the retreat was seeking an answer to an important, indivual question. That question was different for everyone, and some left with the question answered, and others left with a new question. However, we all progressed in deciphering our vocations.
Monday afternoon, as everyone was concluding their final discussions, I could feel the sadness from every student because we all grew as friends through our journey.
I would highly recommend this retreat if anyone gets invited or is questioning what their future entails.