Hello again! Since the last time I wrote, my world has been ROCKED due to an amazing clinical experience at the hospital and an incredible S.E.N.T. retreat with my team this past weekend. Also, Lent has started and it is such a time of renewal here on campus. Stations of the Cross are every Friday at 3pm in Christ the King Chapel, new Lent-friendly food options are appearing in the campus grill and coffeehouse on Fridays, and notices concerning different Lenten speakers, activities, and reflections plaster the bulletin boards. Campus here is not Mardi Gras college party land; it is really a great environment to walk the road of Calvary with Christ this Lenten season and prepare too for His resurrection. I feel blessed and focused as I enter in to these forty days.
Time to recount my incredible hospital experience last Wednesday on the obstetrics unit. First of all, I got to take a two-hour-old baby’s vital signs and assess him as he experienced his first few hours on earth. He was so tiny and cute that I couldn’t help but smile every time I looked at him. Afterwards, I got to go with a friend and see a C-section birth. I am proud to say that, although it was Ash Wednesday and I was surviving on a pretty empty stomach, I did NOT pass out! I was in awe at the skill and dexterity of the doctors and nurses and how quickly and easily they performed the surgery. It was fast, and the mom was fine throughout the procedure. I got to see the dad hold his baby girl for the first time, and it was beautiful to see the look in his eyes as he looked down at her. More and more on this clinical, I am seeing the beauty that life is and how precious just one human life really is. Afterwards, I was able to give the baby her first bath and make sure she was warm and comfortable.
As if that wasn’t enough action for one clinical day, a mom came onto the unit ready to give birth! We got her set up and comfortable, called the doctor, and I held one of her legs as she delivered her third baby girl. I was so close and able to see the miracle of life and childbirth, and again I was very impressed with how well the doctors and nurses handled everything. I was caught up in the process and couldn’t help but cheer on the mom as she pushed, hoping to encourage her to give that one last push that would get the new baby out. It was an action-packed clinical day and afterwards, I knew that I had a lot to process through after witnessing such beauty, joy, and excitement.
Now to the S.E.N.T. retreat. I wrote about this a couple blogs ago. S.E.N.T. is a campus ministry that puts together teams of students to go out into the tri-state area to put on retreats for high school students. My team has been meeting every week to prepare: speeches, games, skits, and small group questions. The retreat was this Sunday, and it far surpassed all of my expectations. To finally see the high school students that we, as a team, had been praying for, offering up daily sacrifices for, and preparing for was mind-blowing. I was a bit nervous, as this was my first retreat, but I was so fired up to minister to them. A couple group members gave speeches and testimonies on our retreat theme, “Theology of the Body.” We had small group time where we discussed the theme as well as confession, skits, games, the talks, and meals, and then finally ended in the best way possible – celebrating Mass with the teens.
I am still processing everything I experienced. I know I was planning on helping these teens see the beauty in Christ’s love for us, but I had no idea how much the retreat would help me. I was spiritually awakened. For example, during the retreat, while we changed stations from a speech to a small group or a skit to a meal, I was constantly praying hard for the teens that the Holy Spirit would open their hearts, that they would hear something that would awaken them to Christ’s love, or that different team members could be vessels of God’s love and grace. It hit me that I should ALWAYS be praying with such fervor and intensity. Every situation I encounter, whether it is a class, a lunch with a friend, or a conversation with family, I should always be praying for them and for myself that I may bear Christ to them in some way. The retreat really called me on to work on improving my constant mental prayer.
I was so proud of my teammates, for their witness to the teens and the work they put in. We had a lot of fun doing the skits and games, and really entered into the talks, prayers, and small groups. It was a long day, but I say that in a good way. We all had dinner on the way home at a restaurant at 10:30 at night and just talked about the graces, the beauty, and the evidence of Christ working in that retreat. I will miss hanging out with my teammates, but I am excited to renew my prayer for the teens we ministered too. I can’t wait to do S.E.N.T. again next semester. What an incredible experience of Christ’s love, charity, and desire for us to pursue Him.