By Fabrice Lekina
My name is Fabrice Lekina, or Breezy, as everyone affectionately knows me on campus. Before I tell you about the Search Retreat, I want to tell you a bit how I found out about it.
When I transferred to DePaul University in 2013, I was one of those students who goes to classes and then goes home. A few months into my DePaul career, my peer mentor invited me to a leadership conference that the university organized. During this leadership conference I met the assistant director of Catholic Campus Ministry at the time who was the staff leader during our small group conversations at this conference. After getting to know our staff leader during this weekend away from campus, she invited me to come visit her in the CCM. Although I hesitated at first, two weeks after we came back from the leadership conference, I decided to take her up on the offer and I went to visit her in her office. When I first rolled into CCM I was nervous and intimidated because I didn’t know if belonged there at the time. A few minutes after telling the student leader that I was there to see the assistant director she came from her office to greet me and we went to her office. A few minutes into our conversation she invited me on the Search Retreat which was one week away. Although I was hesitant and nervous because I had never been on a retreat before, I decided to take a chance and say yes.
On the day the retreat started I came to campus early for two reasons. First, I was nervous. Second, I didn’t want to be late. So there I was, sitting in the CCM lounge still asking myself what I was getting myself into, but firmly knew that this is a weekend I needed. When other participants started to arrive, I introduced myself. Once all the participants arrived we had dinner and left for the retreat center where the retreat would be held.
For me, I would say the Search retreat allows students to explore their relationship both individually and with your peers. I went on the Search Retreat because someone was gracious enough to invite me and I thought I had nothing to lose. I went on the Search Retreat not expecting anything and in return I gained a lot of self-love and love from a community. As far as my relationship with God, I learned that I am never alone and that God loves me as I am. One of my biggest takeaways is the tremendous amount of love I got out of the Search Retreat. Even though I wanted to become a Catholic before the retreat, participating in the retreat solidified that belief for me. A few months later I started RCIA classes and in April of 2014, I officially became a Catholic.
I would recommend the Search Retreat to any student who asks me about it because the Search Retreat allowed me to find myself and it may help someone else discover something about them, too. The Search community is a wonderful community to be a part of year to year. Even if someone is not religious they will always find a home in the community you will build together.