Group photo of year 12 on retreat. Catherine McAuley Westmead.
The Year 12 Retreat was held at Lake Macquarie from Wednesday 19th to Friday 21st June 2024.

The Year 12 retreat took place from Wednesday 19th to Friday 21st June. We travelled a couple of hours north to the beautiful Lake Macquarie and throughout our time there we participated in many activities led by fantastic facilitators from the Passionist Youth Retreat Team. The retreat experience allowed for us to establish deeper connections with ourselves, each other and our Faith.

Over the three days we were led through various sessions which assisted us with developing our spiritual wellbeing and drawing deeper connections with our cohort. We discussed concepts such as the ‘Johari Window’ - a philosophy used to describe the degree to which one reveals their true self; the idea of ‘Masks’ and the role they play in our identity; our need for forgiveness and reconciliation and reflecting on who God is to us. Each of these sessions and discussions allowed for us to connect as a cohort and confide in each other’s shared experiences.

As well as a spiritual experience the retreat gave us an opportunity to relax and take a break from the hustle and bustle of Year 12; we participated in sunrise walks (thanks to the early birds Mrs Noud and Mrs Grima), music trivia against the teachers (which may or may not have included a dance party afterwards) and Just Dance.

Two happy students on retreat
McAuley Westmead students sitting in a circle and talking at retreat

A major highlight of the experience was being able to open up our bag of affirmations on the final day. Throughout our time at retreat we were encouraged to write little notes of affirmation to each other and place them in each other's bags; this was a deeply gratifying experience, showing us how our friendships blossomed over the years and the impact we have left on others lives. We concluded our time at retreat by writing letters to our future selves, as a reminder of our goals, aspirations as well as advice we may need in 12 months time.

We were extremely blessed to be hosted by the wonderful team at CRU Lake Mac, led by the amazing Passionist Youth Retreat Team and of course accompanied and guided by our wonderful Year 12 Homeroom Teachers, support staff, Mrs Cowling and Mrs Banks. We returned with empty snack stashes, a better understanding of ourselves and each other, a renewed sense of unity and many core memories to keep with us forever.


Written and created by:

Shreya and Alicia | Year 12 Media Team

Emotional photo of students praying together


Written By

Catherine McAuley Westmead

Catherine McAuley Westmead

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