On July 29, following the feast of St. Ignatius, about 40 University staff members headed to Woodstock, Illinois for an overnight retreat designed to strengthen each participant’s sense of self and their role at Loyola.

Lauren Schwer, Francesca Pirovano, Melissa Bagdon, Lynn Graves, Joan Stasiak, Chris Murphy, Kevin Gillespie, S.J., and Brian Paulson, S.J., made up the retreat’s planning committee. These individuals planned months beforehand to ensure the weekend was beneficial for all attendees.

Several staff members had nothing but positive things to say about the inaugural staff retreat.

Gabija Steponenaite, office assistant for the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage, says, “Listening to the stories of colleagues and sharing spiritual insights was truly inspiring.”

Ryan Hoffmann of the Institute of Pastoral Studies says it was rewarding to have “time away to reassess our professional calling at Loyola” and to come together with colleagues from an array of University departments.

Besides learning more about themselves and their goals, the attendees were able to enjoy the beautiful setting at LUREC and dine on delicious food.

“The serene setting included breathtaking views and a vibrant vegetable garden, which was used to create delicious meals provided by the awesome LUREC chef’s,” says Ariana Lewis, senior helpdesk analyst in Information Technology Services.

Many employees felt the retreat closely tied to Loyola’s mission of educating the whole person.

“My mind was stimulated by thought provoking questions, my spirit was nurtured by the natural setting and lectures, and lastly, my body was refreshed by the healthy food, solitude, and time to wander the beautiful grounds,” Joyce Knight, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, says. “In addition, I was able to make connections across the University that are often made only through e-mail and phone calls.”

To view a slide show of images of from the retreat, click here.