Three days of peace, prayer, sacramental devotion and spiritual reflection-this is the essence of UD Rome's religious retreats.
Held at the beautiful and secluded Casa Divin Maestro in the nearby town of Arricia, these retreats promise students an intensive and valuable encounter with their faith-often like no other that they have yet experienced in life. The Rome Chaplain leads these retreats, with the help of his assistant chaplains, local deacons, members of the UD Rome staff, and distinguished guests from the religious world of Rome.
UD's voluntary retreats are scheduled during the early weeks of the semester so as to give students the perspective and direction they may need in order to make the best of their short stay in one of Christendom's holiest cities. Typically, the women's retreat take place over the course of one weekend, followed by the men's retreat the next. Participation in the retreats is covered by Rome program fees.
Hundreds of UD students, faculty and staff have attended these retreats over the years. Their testimonies include:
Joseph Daheim, Fall 2009 Rome Class
"The silent Men's Retreat in Rome was a much needed respite from the hectic and somewhat overwhelming schedule of events that occuppied my time the rest of the semester. I truly needed that time to simply be... be still, be at peace, and be in Christ's presence. This time of recollection and spiritual communion with Christ allowed me to put the rest of the semester in perspective and listen to the quiet voice of the Lord in my heart."
David Hernandez, Fall 2009 Rome Class
"Prayer is more than petition, more than thanksgiving or reconciliation. Prayer is being in a state of peace, a meditation, a reflection, but somehow... a conversation. When you converse with new friends, you get to know each other, you talk about the past, the present, sorrows or joys. A retreat, is an opportunity to start a friendship, by conversation. Simple, without those awkward moments or silly comments. There is something so special about a retreat. I cannot help but think of our Lord's words, "For where two or more are gathered in my name, there... I am in their midst."" Mtt 18:20
Maria Spence, Fall 2009 Rome Class
"The Women's Retreat in Rome was a wonderful experience and one of the better parts of the Fall semester. It gave me time to reflect on my faith as well as attend talks and learn new things. It was a turning point for me and really made the Rome semester feel complete. You spend all this time in ROME, the city that is the center of our faith, and on the retreat it really sinks in and you can bring everything together and take time that you wouldn't necessarily have to contemplate your faith and your life."
Catherine Lepel, Spring 2010 Rome Class
"How can one even attempt to describe the poignant affect the silent retreat has upon the Rome semester? Rome is overwhelming. Experience after experience, class after class. Time flies by, barely taking the chance to slap you in the face before it whizzes on. Sensory overload, although incredible, wears on the soul. The silent retreat comes at the most opportune time of the semester. Just when you have almost forgotten what it means to be still, silent. A step out of the extra-ordinary daily life to simply just be. To breathe. A momentary respite to evaluate the fantastic changes God is making on your soul, so that you enter the second half of the semester more self aware, more conscious of the changes taking hold within you. For me, the retreat was a culmination of a multitude of experiences, ending with a realization that helped shape the last weeks of the semester, and still continues to do so. The retreat comes with my highest recommendation, for without it, the semester is incomplete."
Megan Best, Spring 2012 Rome Class
"The conscious withdrawal from the Rome campus for a few days on the Women's Retreat reminded me of where I was, both physically and spiritually. While the Rome semester is by far one of the most moving experiences I have ever had, it is a lot of just that, moving. As a wide-eyed student, caught up in each moment as it presents itself, there is always a call to keep going, whether it is to each new assignment or the next group trip. On retreat, we were there to keep silent and still, listening to our Lord. That space was filled with the reverence that reminded us who God is and where He brought us. Jesus' words to his disciples describe the retreat experience perfectly: "Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while. For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat."(Mark 6:31)."
Karen Bless, Fall 2012 Rome Class
"It is definitely worth the time to go on the Women's Retreat. It was a truly enlightening experience, and was a much needed weekend of prayer and relaxation in a very busy and sometimes stressful semester. The silence really helped me hear what God wanted me to. It truly helped me get some answers about my spiritual life, and gave me the chance to get back in touch with Jesus. The priests and sisters were always available for meetings and provided kind help and insight. I absolutely encourage all the Women who attend the Rome program to go on this retreat...no matter how much you have to do, Jesus is more important! And making the effort to go shows Him how much you care about Him, and He won't let you down when you need His help."