The men and women of the class were invited on two consecutive weekends to participate in a silent retreat at the Casa Divin Maestro, a beautiful and peaceful center overlooking Lake Albano with views of Castel Gandolfo. Pope Francis himself made a Lenten retreat at this site just a couple of weeks prior! Rome Chaplain Monsignor Fucinaro organizes both retreats, and led the men’s retreat with Assistant Chaplain Father David Brown, assisted by Deacon John Baumgardner and other seminarians from the Pontifical North American College. The women’s retreat is run in conjunction with several Religious Sisters of Mercy, from Alma, Michigan who are currently working and studying in Rome.

Both retreats consisted of time for silent reflection and prayer, daily masses, 24-hour perpetual adoration, spiritual talks on prayer and vocations and opportunities for spiritual direction from the priests or sisters. The women's retreat ended on Palm Sunday, and the group had the great privilege of having His Eminence Cardinal Edwin O'Brien, the Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, celebrate Palm Sunday Mass for them. He congratulating the women on their class's fundraising efforts for Syria and wished them a blessed Holy Week, Easter, and excellent end to the semester.

These silent retreats offered a much needed respite from the stress and busy-ness of school and travel. The ability to get away from the full schedule and spend a few days in quiet prayer and reflection is often a highlight of the whole semester for students!

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