Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Posted in Events on August 20, 2014

Nearly 70 young adults ages 18-35 gathered from around the country at Mundelein Conference Center near Chicago from July 25-28 for a long weekend of prayer, faith and spiritual formation, social activities, sports and games, under the direction of the Institute's Canons and seminarians. Here is an account of the weekend’s events by one of the participants:

Next year, I think we should...” words heard as soon as the Sursum Corda national retreat is finished, sometimes within minutes of departing for airports and highways. This event, which draws young people from all corners of the country, is highly anticipated and the highlight of many summers...and with good reason! For three glorious days, like-minded young adults fill the beautiful grounds of the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein with friendship, music, and laughter, all ensconced in the spiritual richness of daily Mass, devotions, and nightly Compline.

Each day of the retreat has at least one spiritual conference, offered by one of the canons of the Institute. Topics range from quick “street apologetics” to the theory and practical application of the theological and cardinal virtues. With so many young people in attendance thinking of their futures and how present personal situations factor in, these conferences present a timely reminder that one must have “virtue before vocation” along with helpful ways to grow that virtue once they return to the world. As one young lady expressed it,

“Sursum Corda is a retreat, but not a retreat to escape and ignore the world. It is a retreat to regroup, to gather the forces, and to fortify for the next attack. We pray, we learn, and we laugh. We greet old friends and new. It is all too short, but we leave stronger and wiser, with a new plan. “

Additional counsel and strength can be found in spiritual direction, an option available to all attendees of the weekend retreat. It’s not unusual to round a corner and see a canon and young adult just out of earshot at the end of a porch, or strolling deep in conversation through the trees and flowers by the lake. Confession is available nearly every day, too, should it be desired, and this year's conference included an evening of "Theology on Tap"...Q and A on the pertinent questions faced in everyday life.

Not to be overlooked, however, is the spiritual strength that comes from meeting and bonding with others who are engaged in the same search and struggle for sanctification. One of the first-time attendees mentioned surprise at finding there were many other young single Catholics so similar in age and interests, to which one of the canons replied with a bemused grin, “That’s kinda the point!" Friendships continue long after the weekend has ended and are a source of support, inspiration, and hope.

“I have gone to retreats all of my life and the SC one was unique in a very special way. Never have I attended a retreat where I was surrounded by fellow young adults who were either at the same place spiritually or far ahead of me.... Knowing that I was surrounded by so many prayerful, pious, and devoutly Catholic fellow young adults made me feel as if an impenetrable force field of grace surrounded Mundelein Seminary.”

Siblings and friends are brought by those who have experienced the retreat’s lasting effects, and these novices, in turn, receive unexpected graces to share with untold numbers of people in their lives. Even non-Catholics, at a mere mention of the retreat and its purposes/significance, express admiration and thoughtful commentary on its place in our current society. The effects of this retret truly have no bounds!

Though the weekend is a retreat, it is far from isolated. A Rosary walk through a woodland path brings participants to the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe, including a gorgeous church with 24/7 adoration and an impressive collection of relics, a museum of the Saint’s life, and various other chapels and side altars. An architectural and historic tour is also available at the seminary itself, which adds food for thought and for a deepening of devotion while on site.

Amidst all this grace there is “an element of fun” ... and it's a big element! A dance kicks off the weekend on Friday evening. Attendees have use of the grounds for athletic activities, walks, or simply enjoying the beauty of this Midwestern oasis. In the evenings, board games and beverages abound as everyone congregates in the large living room for socializing, and in a group this large, there's always SOMEONE with a birthday...and that means cake! A talent show on the final night brings forth hidden gifts and gales of laughter and applause.

Though all of these aforementioned elements are present for every member, one of the most wonderful things about this weekend is that there are as many "Sursum Cordas" as there are attendees. Each young person gains something unique to their personality and experiences and even for the same individual, that can vary dramatically from year to year. It's one of the reasons so many return 3, 4 (next year will be 5!) years in a row. Friends new and old, a sense of homecoming, and yet fresh perspectives and opportunities for growing into the saints we are called to become.

- Written by Miss Heidi Knuth

Click the images below to enlarge them.

Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend
Sursum Corda Young Adult Weekend