Juniors strengthen understanding of Lakota and Catholic values at annual retreat.

posted on November 29, 2012

by Christopher Ives

Early Thursday morning students gathered in the Commons at Red Cloud High School for breakfast as they prepared for their trip to the Black Hills for this year’s annual Junior Retreat. After packing their belongings into the buses they came together at the ‘Medicine Wheel’ (prayer circle) in front of the campus church for a morning prayer.

The group of students, faculty leaders, and Campus Minister Brad Held, S.J. arrived at the Storm Mountain Retreat Center late that morning. The theme of this year’s junior retreat was Cangleska Waken, the Sacred Circle. This and other RCIS retreats focus on Lakota and Catholic values, building a faith community and deepening one’s relationship with others and with the Creator.

The group participated in community building exercises, including a ‘Challenge Course’, group reflections, and a prayer hike to the top of Storm Mountain. Brad Held, S.J., a spiritual formation teacher at RCHS who teaches a class titled Ethics and Morality, has been using award-winning author Joseph Marshall’s book, “The Lakota Way.” The book examines traditional ethics through timeless Lakota stories and personal commentary. Held uses these examples to examine common themes of morality between the Lakota and Catholic traditions.

Students met on the evening of the first night to prepare, and then present a skit based on stories and examples from the “The Lakota Way.” While some groups retold stories, others used the examples of morality and value within the book to craft their own tales.

"The juniors came together to have quite a bit of fun on the retreat while also doing some heart-felt reflection on who they are and the virtuous people they are striving to be." Says Held.

A Lakota medicine wheel was also constructed during the retreat. This was followed by an examination of the cardinal directions, which the wheel represents, and the values associated with those directions. Students returned to campus on Friday after lunch and a closing prayer.

For more pictures from the retreat click HERE.