What does it mean to be BRAVE?
The word Brave comes from the Spanish word Bravos meaning ‘courageous, bold’. It is another word for Fortitude, one of the four cardinal virtues.
There are two parts to practicing the virtue of Bravery: choosing to courageously confront fear (both our own fear and fear in our world), and to live intentionally (in moderation of reckless and rash behavior). We call this Courage of the Soul and Firmness of the Spirit.
At Brebeuf, each young man and woman is welcomed into a new faith community, invited to a deeper relationship with God, and called to live out the social mission of the church. At each step of this journey they will require bravery: in overcoming the fear of the stranger as they form new friendships, in exploring the great mysteries of our spiritual life, and in challenging the social structures that promote injustice, prejudice, and deny the dignity of each person.
The BRAVE retreat will focus on four key goals:
- Building an inclusive community among the Freshman class
- Fostering a greater understand of self
- Developing an understanding of the mission and identity of Brebeuf (what makes a Brebeuf BRAVE)
- Creating a personal encounter with Ignatian Spirituality
St. Ignatius modeled what it means to be BRAVE.
As have many of the Jesuits over the last five centuries. Men like Francis Xavier, Peter Faber, Edmund Campion, Isaac Jogues, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Jean de Brebeuf. The Jesuits’ lives speak of Bravery.
Ignatius demonstrated great bravery throughout his life, from his days as a soldier to his recuperation from his battle injuries, to his appearance before the Inquisition and when he went to the pope to request permission to found the Society of Jesus.
“God’s love calls us to move beyond fear. We ask God for the courage to abandon ourselves unreservedly, so that we might be molded by God’s grace, even as we cannot see where that path may lead us.” – St. Ignatius
On the BRAVE retreat, students will learn more about the life of St. Ignatius. They will discover how the spiritual practices of EXAMEN and DISCERMENT aid us in overcoming fear in our daily lives, so that we might act with courageous love.
This is a tentative schedule for the day. As we move forward in planning, the schedule we be refined to accommodate for the retreat location and other logistical concerns.
Welcome and Orientation
During this session, students will be broken out into companion groups, who they will partner with throughout the day, engaging in various activities, prayers, and spiritual exercises. Each companion group will have @8-10 students and 1 peer ministry leader. The goal of companion groups is to ensure that each student has an experience of community and fellowship, learning about members of their new community that they may not yet know well.
Spiritual Exercise Circuits | Round 1
The JSC Ministry team will facilitate of 4 Circuit Sessions with 5 Companion groups participating in each circuit (about 50 students). These circuits will serve as both icebreakers and team-building challenges.
Each circuit will contain 3 activities. We are currently considering the following activities, which you can read more about following the conclusion of the schedule.
Companion Group Discussions
Ideally each companion group will have a peer minister leader. Under the direction of the JSC Ministry staff, peer ministers will lead each companion group in a short (20 minute) discussion allowing students to share their written reflections on the Spiritual Exercise Circuits
Gather in Main Room
Large Group Morning Session
This opening session will draw deeper connections from the morning activities to the retreat theme of Brave. This session will incorporate videos, music, witnesses from the JSC Ministry staff, and prayer.
Regroup from Lunch
Large Group Energizer Activity
Our team is still discussing several options, but following lunch we will facilitate a large group activity to build energy as we head into the afternoon.
Spiritual Exercise Circuits | Round 2
Continuing from the morning, students will again break out into 4 circuit sessions (5 companion groups, @50 students per session). Each afternoon session will contain 3 activities: Lectio Divina, the Examen, and the Senior Panel.
The closing session will draw together the afternoon activities, and lead into a dedication and commitment prayer. The Freshmen class will receive their class candle, and be given an opportunity to make a personal commitment to living out their faith as a Brebeuf Brave.