retreats help us “awaken”

from 1994-1999 i was the director of campus ministry at southwest texas state university (now texas state university) in san marcos tx. as i was looking through some old calendars from that time, i realize how inexperienced i was in the ministry. but i also realize how special that time in texas was for me.

it gave me pause to see how talented and energetic the young people were. they were often discovering their relationships with God for the first time. they were choosing to come to church– and BE church– away from the watchful eyes of well intentioned parents.

there was a special retreat model called “bobcat awakenings” (swt’s mascot was the bobcats). i was there for the first eight awakenings. mostly helping with the music ministry. it was planned and led by the students. i helped with mass and confessions and gave it general direction.

the student leaders of bobcat awakenings now have their own kids in college! time flies, no?

i smile when i remember one of the dynamics on the “mystical body of Christ” and the whirlwind song, “tangled all up in jesus”. i chuckle when i think about how many guitar strings i broke during the high energy song “anthem”

the aggie awakening at texas a&m is a sight to behold. in the 90s, there were over 100 retreatants with over 200 staff members at each retreat. it might be more expensive now. the awakenings is an adapted cursillo retreat for college students that began at louisiana state university by the claretians! it found its way to texas a&m who then helped start it at university of texas in austin. the longhorn awakenings staff helped swt begin ours in 1995. i believe that the bobcat staff helped other begin the awakenings too– like in san antonio. i like thinking about how the Spirit connected all of us in this claretian circle. we help people be awakened!

there are nothing like retreats that help us realize the power of God in our lives. retreats renew us in faith; bring perspective into our lives. retreats show us the power of God’s unconditional love for each of us.

i do know that the bobcat and all awakenings still go on (except during this time of covid pandemic). i pray that the Spirit continue to form hearts to love and respond in service in san marcos and in all places where retreats are celebrated


  1. This warms my heart and puts a smile on my face! I still have all of my palanca envelopes, too! And a candle from my first one. The amount of times “wrapped up, tied up, tangled all up in Jesus…wrapped up, tied up, tangled all up in love” comes up in my daily life is quite something. I was just singing it to my brother this Summer!! Some of my best, most formative memories!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. frarthurcmf says:

    amen amen susy!! the Spirit continues to inspire us


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