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News: Seniors sought for purpose

NASUGBU, BATANGAS—Momentarily, the seniors removed themselves from the droning environment of Manila to immerse in a time of contemplation as class retreats were held every weekend of August this year.
Divided into two sections per weekend, the retreats were held at Caleruega –Philippines, a retreat house which covered a vast area in Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas. The activity was prearranged by the Office of the Regent and the Level IV professors of the college.

“It is a time to spend with the Lord, a time for prayer. For the past three years, the seniors have been with their respective classes and this is an appropriate avenue for them to bond and spend a little time with each other,” said Mrs. Rowena Escolar-Chua, RN, MAN, the level four chairperson and the over-all coordinator for the said event.

Caleruega: A House of Prayer and Renewal
It was a three-hour bus ride from Manila to Caleruega. The comforting and cold environment instantly established the mood for the retreat as the seniors were greeted with the panoramic views of the Tagaytay Mountains.

Upon entering Caleruega, one is drawn to the silence and solemnity of the place. Essentially, it gives a sense of mystery to its visitors as it celebrates the gift of life and the beauty of creation.

Act of Kindness
Different sessions were held every day, led by retreat masters Fr. Nilo Lardizabal, OP, the Provincial Secretary of the Dominican Province of the Philippines and Fr. Stephen Redillas, OP, the Director of Caleruega-Philippines.

Fr. Julius Factora, OP, the regent of the UST-CON was also present during the three-day retreat and gave inspirational talks to the seniors.

The talks focused on certain topics such as work, stress, and issues of sex, love and the shifting ideology of the youth. In one of his talks, Fr. Nilo told the seniors “to appreciate nature, which is rarely done in Manila.”
Indeed, with the pressing load and the requirements faced by the seniors, they have been “too busy meeting demands that they fail to look at the simple things—and they miss the most significant things.”

One of the highlights in the retreat was called the “Act of Kindness” in which every person shall briefly express the traits that they admire about every single person in the class. These affirmative, comforting and positive words, did not fail to draw tears from some of the seniors. Every session had its premise on the question: “Why are you here?” This has forwarded a sense of purpose for the graduating batch as they are on the verge of undertaking very important decisions in their lives.

“I have seen lives being destroyed just because these people don’t have any purpose in life,” Fr. Factora, said during one of the talks and challenged the seniors to “love and move for a purpose.”

A Transfiguration
Aside from the sessions, the participants also received the sacrament of Reconciliation. “I'd never forget the feeling after I've confessed for the first time in 11 years, seemed like I've seen all my demons scamper away,” said Mikkel Aaron Yap, IV-10.

According to Mr. John Vincent Ignacio, one of the retreat guardians, it is “basically a time for the seniors to rest, to renew and to reflect.” Each class was accompanied by their respective advisers and some of the faculty members of the college.

“The lower batches only have an annual recollection and it is only when you are in the fourth year that you are allowed to officially leave your books and requirements to devote a serious time of prayer,” Mrs. Escolar-Chua told the Nursing Journal.

The retreat culminated in a Thanksgiving Sunday mass at the grand Transfiguration chapel concelebrated by Fr. Redillas, OP and Fr. Factora, OP.

By Manuel E. Vista, Jr.


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