In the short lull between first semester exams and the rush of end of the year preparations, the men and women of the college took five days to step back from their usual daily cares and refocus on their reasons for what they were doing. Both the men’s and the women’s retreats this year were Marian, reminding the students to go back to their Our Lady, who is their patroness and protector, inspiration and guide - in short, the mother of the college and all who come there. The women’s retreat was given by Fr. Burfit, who focused mainly on Our Lady of Sorrows. Each day was filled with ways for the ladies to direct their eyes towards the Sorrowful Mother - daily mass, rosary according to the method of Our Lady of Sorrows, conferences, meditations, and the option to make a general confession. Several priests were also available each day for consultations.
During the meals, the women were read Joy in Suffering, by Rose Hu, a book which gave them a clear, real-life example of of a modern woman who united herself with the sufferings of Our Lady, and was able to endure her enormous sufferings with Our Lady’s strength. This was the point which Father emphasized to the women in each of his conferences: that they could brave any suffering if they united ourselves to Our Lady and put it in her hands. This applies in every circumstance in any time; Our Lady can help with anything we are going through, because she suffered everything, and because she is now in heaven with her Son, she is outside of time. By empathizing with and uniting their hearts to Our Lady of Sorrows, the women who live in a world full of suffering can become like the best woman who endured the greatest of sufferings. When they left the retreat, the women of the college were armed with a newfound hope - an awareness that everything they did could take on a new and more beautful meaning when united to the Blessed Mother, and that through her they could endure any suffering.