Motherhouse retreat encourages self-discovery for teens

March 14, 2017 by

Sister Marcia Allen, back to camera, talks with the Sacred Heart High School seniors touring the Nazareth Motherhouse this morning.

The transition from high school to college can be difficult for even the most prepared students. A daylong retreat today at the Nazareth Motherhouse offered Sacred Heart High School seniors advice on how to handle the upcoming challenges.

“First semester wasn’t that great, but it got better,” said Kate Schieferecke, a 2015 Sacred Heart graduate now in her second year at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

Kate Schieferecke talks about her experience moving from high school to college.

“I felt like I was beyond prepared. I was pretty socially adept,” the economics major said. “I went in with confidence that I would rock college. But that’s not how it went.”

Homesickness, loss of friends and family support groups, overly high expectations and other distractions were just a few of the difficulties Schieferecke told the 14 students that she experienced. Her most helpful piece of advice for the college-bound women?

She advised them that before they leave for college to decide who they wanted to be.

“Having a conscious awareness of who I wanted to be helped me make good decisions,” Schieferecke said. “Faith is no longer built into your schedule. You have to make a conscious decision on how it will fit into your life.”

While making new friends in college may be more difficult than depicted on TV and in books, following core values and having a knowledge of inner self can make finding quality friends easier. Schieferecke said she wrote down who she wanted to be and based who she hung out with and where she went on statement.

“If you go looking for apples, you go to the produce section,” Schieferecke said. “If you are looking for really good, solid Catholic friends, go to campus ministries.”

Schieferecke’s advice came on the heels of a meditation exercise led that morning by Sister Marcia Allen that encouraged students to look deep inside themselves and answer two questions: Who am I really and what do I want for my one and only life? The young women used writing and drawing among other offered techniques to help focus their meditation on their inner desires.

“Your most significant relationship is with yourself,” Sister Marcia told the students. “God is in us, and we are in God.”

Every spring the Sisters of St. Joseph host the senior girls from the Catholic high school in Salina. In addition to prayer, attending Mass with Father David Metz, meditation and discussion, the teens toured the historic Nazareth Motherhouse and joined the sisters who live there for lunch.

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