Six years ago I went on my first retreat at CrossRoads, and after I thought, ‘Every person should do this. Every teenager should have this experience.’ Many students at Sacred Heart say CrossRoads is one of the most meaningful retreat experiences they have. It changes their view of other people and their perspectives.
I believe in CrossRoads’ mission because in our world right now we’re so polarized and divided. It’s ‘us’ versus ‘them’ when it needs to be ‘us’. There’s no way to do that without relationships.
At the end of a CrossRoads retreat, I usually tell students, ‘you can no longer say that people on the margins don’t matter because you just met someone at St. Vincent de Paul who was homeless and you now know his name; and you’ve met someone at Catholic Charities in an English as a Second Language class who is now your friend and who taught you their language; and you just met someone who told you her story about struggling with addiction at the Healing Place. You can never un-meet people and your stereotypes are now busted because of that’.
I’ll tell students to look around the room at their peers because you don’t know in the future who among you is going to be a parent, teacher, politician, judge, lawyer, nurse, or doctor, but each one of you is going to be responsible for change in the world. CrossRoads is an opportunity to remind them that they each have a responsibility to be a changemaker in the world.
Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp is the Retreat Director at Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville. Sacred Heart has partnered with CrossRoads since 2006 when the school started sending students for their junior year retreat.
“A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.”