Made for More

26 Dowling students go on retreat


K. Power

Dowling Catholic students gather at the St. Thomas More Center in Panora.

Alaina Cleghorn, Staff Writer

On February 15-17, Dowling put on their very first Ut Fidem Leadership Retreat: Made for More. This took place at the St. Thomas More Center in Panora. 26 Dowling students attended, and the retreat was led by the Ut Fidem moderators Ms. Power, Mrs. Croegaert, and Mr. Wisnieski. 5 Damascus missionaries traveled from Ohio to be a part of this retreat. The purpose was to strengthen students’ relationships with God and to form them into the leaders they were made to be.

Throughout the short retreat, the Damascus missionaries shared their own stories and students were able to reflect on them in their small groups. This incredible experience allowed students to feel God’s presence in a new way and be open about their faith. It was a fun-filled retreat of playing sardines, basketball, board games, and more. For most students, the retreat was an escape from reality. It allowed them to put away their distractions and just be present with one another. 

When I first heard about this retreat, I was skeptical about attending. In Mrs. Croegaert’s email, she wrote, “This retreat could change your life!” But I had my doubts. 

Then my group leader, Roni, taught us how to listen for God’s voice. We each picked one person in our group and closed our eyes, asking God for a word that the person needed to hear. This was very powerful because we got to experience God in a way we hadn’t felt before. 

I am so thankful that I decided to attend this retreat. I got to spend time with people who are striving to know God better. I felt God’s love, comfort, and peace. I focused on the things that are truly important: spending time with God and one another. This retreat made me inspired and continues to encourage me to live out the faith.

Dowling girls reflect during the women’s session [K. Power]

Lauren Reinsvold (‘24) also had a great experience at the retreat. “We got a really good community out of it,” says Reinsvold. She enjoyed spending time with her small group, which was led by Theresa. 

Having no phones allowed students more time to think and reflect. “You could just process everything that’s happened,” says Reinsvold. 

Throughout the short retreat, she got to encounter Jesus through adoration and prophesizing with a group of girls. Now that it is over, she feels inspired to pray more and spend less time on YouTube.

Nick Goodell (‘23) also went on the retreat. At first, he wasn’t too excited, but it brought him closer to God than he has ever been before. “I wouldn’t have rather done anything else over my conference break,” says Goodell.

One night, students were given the opportunity to spend time in silence. Since he was very tired, Goodell had a vivid vision. He was walking through a long room and reached a door at the end of the hallway. It was dark inside. Goodell remembers feeling very afraid. 

Suddenly the light was turned on and his fear went away. “I knew that it was God telling me He will always be next to me and that I don’t need to be afraid,” says Goodell.

Goodell enjoyed playing dodgeball, spending time with the retreat leaders, and participating in the men’s session. While on retreat, he learned how to listen for God’s voice. “I can have all the information about God, but without an encounter it means nothing,” says Goodell.