Knowing shes not alone in her faith is important and powerful to Erin Williams, a junior at Marymount University.
That message was reinforced this past weekend (Sept. 18-20), as Williams and 44 other Marymount University students and 10 staffers went on a spiritual retreat to Sandbridge Beach. The junior from Lorton gave the first student talk Friday night, which set the tone for the beach retreat, a longstanding Marymount tradition.
I spoke about how storms arise in our lives and how to face them head on with God by your side, she said.
Ashton Mallon, assistant director of the schools Campus Ministry, said the retreat was a nice way to start the academic year, with a weekend of fun, prayer and talks by fellow students.
Getting away from campus enables them to have quiet time and for small groups to share their experiences, Mallon said. Its also a good time to make new friends with the same values.
Mallon said this helps students live their faith more when they return to campus.
It was fantastic and unbelievably enriching, said Williams, who was on her second beach retreat. We also had beautiful weather. Last year was rainy and cloudy.
Williams said she is in a much different place in her life than a year ago and was happy to share that.
Im more comfortable with who I am and where I want to be, especially with my faith, she said. I feel more like myself.
Williams, who majors in elementary education, praised the university for aiding her spiritual journey.
Marymount has helped me grow deeper in my faith, Williams said. Every year Ive grown closer to God.
About 45 Marymount University students went on the annual beach retreat to Sandbridge Beach organized by Campus Ministry from Sept. 18 to 20.
Father Jack Peterson, assistant chaplain at Marymount University, talks with students during Campus Ministrys annual beach retreat.
A pair of students watch the sunset at Sandridge Beach during a recent retreat organized by Campus Ministry at Marymount University.