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Hellenic College New Students Retreat to New Hampshire

Contoocook, NH — September 13, 2004 — The incoming student orientation for Hellenic College lasted longer than that of most schools due to an innovative program. Twenty-four students arrived at the Brookline campus after Labor Day only to pack their bags once again and head to the Metropolis of Boston Camp and Retreat Center in Contoocook, New Hampshire to enjoy a weekend retreat of exploration of self, each other, and relationship to God. The retreat, sponsored by the Office of Vocation and Ministry, set out to inspire the new Hellenic College students to begin to explore their vocations as Orthodox Christian students preparing for their future careers and callings.

Once the students arrived at the center, they used a strengths-based inventory, StrengthsQuest™, to explore their personal strengths and learn those of their neighbors. Students then participated in three sessions entitled: Know Thyself, Know Thy Neighbor, and Know God. The students maintained journals and had time after each group discussion to compose their personal reflections. The retreat was led by a team of graduate students in conjunction with the new office program coordinator, Natasha Smith; Fr. Ted Barbas, a graduate of the school, spoke on his own vocational exploration during his years at Hellenic College. When asked to evaluate the weekend, one student said, “Vocation is not just one thing, and in fact it can involve many aspects of your life.” Another student added, “There is one great thing I’ve learned this weekend, and that is my own calling for charity.” The Saturday evening session concluded with a bonfire, at which time the students shared miracles, both large and small, that have taken place in their lives. The retreat enabled students to learn about themselves, reflect on their personal vocations, and bond with their fellow classmates.

The setting of the Metropolis of Boston Camp and Retreat Center could not have been more perfect. The location provided participants the opportunity to escape to a tranquil oasis of nature and utilize all the facility had to offer from its peaceful landscape, comfortable accommodations and great food. Hellenic College Dean Dr. Lily Macrakis stated, “I feel as if I am in paradise on earth! This experience has laid a strong foundation for our students and to have this retreat here in the presence of everything natural and pure is wonderful.” The retreat coincided with the Retreat Center’s annual open house for parishioners for the Metropolis of Boston. Metropolitan Methodios presided at the liturgy on Sunday morning and the students were happy to receive his blessing prior to returning to campus.