Article by Ava Petrosky ’22:
Being a Marianist represents finding Jesus through His mother, Mary. Mary is the perfect mediator to Christ because she herself was human; therefore, she understands. She is truly the Mother of the Church because she assists us as her own children. LIFE stands for “Living in Faith Experience.” We are called to find God in even the ordinary moments of our daily lives. The Blessed Mother is always there to guide us in opening our eyes, ears, and hearts to understand God’s presence in everything we do. I am so honored and excited to now be commissioned a member of Marianist LIFE.
This past July, I was given the opportunity to participate in a week-long virtual retreat with the Marianist LIFE program. 23 of my classmates from Kellenberg and I had Zoom meetings with students from other Marianist schools in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Something that stood out to me within the first five minutes was the phrase “to build Christian community.” That is the goal of LIFE: to build Christian community. Throughout the week we were given unique ideas of how we can further build community within our own parishes and schools.
We first took a personality assessment to better understand ourselves. We had to rank different given characteristics as to how they pertain to each of us. At the end, the highest number correlated with a color of either gold, blue, orange, or green. After discovering our color, we met with these groups for a discussion. This was a great activity to understand the specific leadership qualities we each possess.
On the second day, we were broken into small groups and assigned to draw a river. This was without a doubt, my favorite activity of the whole week. The river demonstrated our own faith journeys. Each river began with a spring, describing the beginning of our expedition. Although every river had similar structures such as rocks, rip currents, and fishermen, they all turned out so different. This experience really bonded my group, as it was really inspirational to listen to everyone’s own journeys. I also understood that although each river had its bumps and rocks, the water never stopped flowing because God never left us. The river symbolizes how God calls us to be “fishers of men.”
Together, each day we took turns cooking breakfast and lunch. I have always loved to cook, and cooking crepes was an unforgettable experience; it was so much fun! Even cooking, we were in a community! Our families came together Thursday night for dinner and Eucharistic Adoration. A few of the LIFE moderators (including Fr. Dan from Texas) joined us via Zoom for this special night of prayer. In between each Adoration song, a Kellenberg moderator shared a short witness. Before the final song, we each spoke of something new that we learned about our Blessed Mother. This was a beautiful service that I am so grateful to have been a witness of. To be praying with other LIFErs, parents, and teachers was beautiful – a Marianist community!
I am beyond thankful for this Marianist LIFE retreat. I feel that I have grown so much closer to Christ through the intercession of Mary. I will cherish the memories I have made with my friends, both from Kellenberg and from different time zones. I am looking forward to building Christian community in my daily life because I have learned what it truly means to be a Marianist in today’s society.