Campus Ministry Retreats provide opportunities for students from all faith backgrounds to reflect on their spiritual values, step back from their regular routine, hear the faith stories of fellow students, and understand the catholic values of the university. Presently there are three types of retreats offered on a regular basis.
The Freshmen Escape is held 3 times a year and has recently been a sell out of 40 plus students for each weekend retreat. It is led by the Campus Ministry Interns, as well as student leaders who apply for leadership positions. Retreats are held at retreat houses and conference centers within a few hours drive of campus.
The Search Retreat is for all students who seek a an awakening of spirituality and a chance to know themselves and their relationships with others on a deeper level. Search is led by student leaders who spend weeks of preparation forming a team and sharing the spiritual and emotional values that help the retreatants develop as persons. There currently are 2 Search retreats each year.
The third general type of retreat is an open retreat for all students who are seeking a getaway from campus and a chance to reflect on where they are in their personal lives. These retreats are led by members of the Retreat Council, and other students, under the direction of the Campus Minister in charge of retreats. These retreats have various themes and often include unique active experiences to promote reflection (Camping and Canoeing, Beach Retreats, Silent and Quiet Retreats). There are usually 4-5 Open retreats a year.
The Senior Class Retreat is a January event for those in their last year of Viallanova. It is led by recent graduates and staff from Student Life and Campus Ministry, and faculty as well. It is held on Long Beach Island at retreat center on the ocean.
In addition, the retreat program also directs the very successful Connections Retreat, a 3 day summer program for incoming new students. It is held on campus, in June or July. It includes connections to university life, service programs, campus ministry activities, and other Villanova students. It is limited to 125 new students and has been sold out recently. It is led by upperclassmen who give talks, and facilitate activities and small group discussions.
The Interfaith Retreat is a pilgrimage of sorts which is limited to 15 participants. Members of the Interfaith Coaltion coordinate visits to sacred houses of worship which have included the Church of St.Thomas of Villanova, Jewish synagogues, Mosques, Hindu Temples, Pentecostal, non-denominational evangelical, and Methodist churches. Members of the Buddhism of Nichiren have visited retreatants at the retreat location (Immaculata Spirituality Center) to share their meditation practices as have members of the Dance for Universal Peace.