TRUMBULL—The Kairos retreat program at St. Joe’s was first introduced in the fall of 2018 by our campus minister Jordan Smith. His hope was to expose our school to this idea of a community that is strengthened through our faith and love of one another. This retreat is available to all juniors and seniors and takes place for three days at a retreat house in Litchfield called the Wisdom House.
Kairos was my first attempt at getting involved with my faith at St. Joe’s and one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I went into this weekend not knowing anything about what it would entail, and it completely changed my life in the best way possible. The first day focuses on learning about yourself, the second day is about your relationships, and the last day focuses on God. Personally I had never taken the time to reflect on my life, let alone sit in a small group and share it with others. This experience pushed me outside my comfort zone following the theme of “ taking off your mask” and allowing yourself to be vulnerable in a safe environment made up of your peers.
It was an honest, judgment-free space where students and teachers could interact on a personal level and get the chance to witness that everyone no matter your age, gender, or grade is going through something. I’ve been blessed to attend every single Kairos retreat at Saint Joe’s and we have grown from a group of seventeen kids on the first to over fifty on the one attended a couple of weeks ago. This experience has touched so many lives, and I can see every day the love and family that grows from it at St. Joe’s.
Kairos translates into the phrase “the right time’ which is something we all try to live by. When we go on this retreat we believe it is the right time in our lives for something to change, and we try to be open to this possibility. Another phrase we often say is LT4, which means Live The Fourth. It is a call to live everyday like its the fourth day of the retreat, which is when we go out into the world to spread everything we’ve learned from our time in prayer, reflection and fellowship. Kairos has made me more aware of the world, a better listener and a more confident leader. I know the greatest lesson I’ve learned from Kairos is that “ to love is to be vulnerable” and Mr. Smith has fostered an environment at St. Joe’s overflowing with love and support that is built off the idea of being a family for one another.
Lauren Pleszko is a junior at St. Joseph High School.