Ever since freshmen year there has been a strange word associated with the senior class: “Kairos”. I never knew much of what it meant, other than that seniors would get out of class for a few days. My junior year was the first time I heard about Kairos in a positive light, not as something to be afraid of. My friends had explained to me that they got a lot out of it and put a lot of things into perspective for them and that I should highly consider going. When my senior year came along, I knew that I would attend Kairos, but why wouldn’t I? I have attended Catholic school my entire life and went to Mass almost every Sunday; of course I could go on a four day three night retreat that would talk to me about God. However, although our school community celebrates its faith, many girls feel disconnected to God, and the idea of spending that amount of time with other girls one may not be close to can be a very scary thing. For many, Sacred Heart has been their first experience with the Catholic faith and students are rightfully afraid of exploring it. There is a lot of stigma around Kairos, that one is forced to be with people who they do not like or that one is forced to sit in prayer for the entirety of the day, none of which is true. The retreat is much of what one makes it and like most things in life; one gets out of it what they put into it.
When I stepped onto the bus at school, I was extremely nervous and my friends and I were skeptical of whether or not we would have a good time. I was feeling very regretful and instantly did not want to spend time talking about my faith with others. However, it turned out to be an important event that has changed my life for the better, as well as the lives of many others. I asked Colleen Doyle about her experience with the retreat and how she felt beforehand based on what she had heard from others. She stated, “At first I was really closed off to Kairos and listened to what past seniors had said about it. I was so negative coming into it.” She followed this up by saying, “I had no idea that it would change my life and make high school all worth it.” This sentiment has been shared by many SHA girls throughout the years who have felt at peace after the retreat knowing that they made the right choice to attend Sacred Heart four years earlier, as it has brought them amazing friends that will last a lifetime and deepened their faith.
While Kairos is not the end all be all for a SHA senior, it is a great way to examine where one is in their own life and what is most important to them. Although the retreat is expensive, it was worth the money. After reading this, students still may be asking themselves, “What makes Kairos so special?” That is a secret. Not knowing what will come next is part of the fun and coming from someone who does not like surprises, it was worth it. My advice to underclassmen and especially the juniors is to be more open to the idea of this retreat. You will never be forced to do anything you do not want to do and you will learn things about yourself that you did not know before. It is okay to be nervous and scared when you first arrives, we all were, but when the last day comes, you will not want to leave. I hope that everyone considers going on Kairos no matter if your first Mass was here at Sacred Heart or at a week old- you will not regret it.