Canisius provides overnight retreat experiences for students in all four years.
The progression of the retreat programs is designed to meet young men "where they are" developmentally in social and spiritual contexts. Grounded in a strong tradition of Ignatian reflection, all retreats are focused essentially upon three primary questions: Where have I been? Where am I now? Where am I going? The freshman and sophomore retreats focus primarily upon identity and friendship, while juniors and seniors build from there to focus more fully upon spiritual life and service to others.
The mandatory Freshman Retreat provides all freshmen with an opportunity to experience all that Canisius has to offer while learning what it means to be a Crusader. Students spend time engaging in activities that help strengthen their sense of community as a class, develop their understanding of the importance of reflection, and broaden their awareness of the larger Canisius community. This is the only mandatory retreat at Canisius
The Emmaus experience is a long-standing tradition at Canisius. Centered around the post-Resurrection story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, the reflections challenge sophomores to recognize the presence of God in those around them, as they grow in self-knowledge and faith. This retreat is optional and is for sophomores only.
Kairos is a two-night, three-day experience. Building upon the foundations established as underclassmen, participants engage in a more substantial and challenging reflective experience. An in-depth focus on relationships with family and friends helps clarify and deepen one's understanding of and relationship with Christ. Kairos challenges students to embrace the Christian call to service. This, ultimately, becomes the springboard for senior service projects.
The Fourth Day retreat is designed for seniors with three aims in mind:
1) Provide seniors with opportunities to reflect upon their growth at Canisius. Students are challenged to assess the high points and low points along their spiritual, academic, athletic, and social journeys within the perspective of the values of Ignatian education.
2) Invite each senior to discuss his perceptions of the upcoming transition from high school to college, with a focus on spirituality, values, independence, and departure from his comfort zone.
3) Challenge each senior to embrace the Christian call to serve the marginalized.
Another option for seniors is a three-day silent retreat, typically held at a retreat center or regional monastery near the end of the academic year. The primary purpose of the optional silent retreat is to teach students how to pray. The retreat offers students time set-apart from their everyday lives to focus on their personal relationships with God and provides individual meetings each day with a Jesuit or other spiritual director to discuss how their prayer is going.
To gain a better understanding of what the Silent Retreat entails, click the button below to read a reflection by Lucas Perez '19
The Wilderness Retreat
Wilderness Retreat is a two-night, three-day experience for Canisius High School seniors led by a team of their fellow students and faculty members. It is held at different campgrounds in the Adirondack Mountains each year.
Building upon the foundations established as underclassmen, participants embrace St. Ignatius’ maxim to “find God in all things.” The retreat engages the participants in quiet time and reflection among the beauty of creation. The focus looks at the journey of our lives and attempts to understand relationship with Christ. Sharing takes place with fellow companions on the journey participating in the retreat.
While not a Jesuit retreat per se, Wilderness Retreats have become commonplace in many high schools and colleges. The Wilderness Retreat came to Canisius in 2019.
There is no cost to students for any of the above retreats. Costs are covered by tuition.
Senior and Parent Retreat
Seniors and their parents also have the opportunity to take part in a half-day retreat during the student’s final year at Canisius. The morning provides an opportunity to reflect on the student’s growth and the family’s hope for the future. Not only is this sacred time for students and parents to share with one another, but also a period of time where parents can find solidarity with parents of other students. The retreat begins with Mass, and includes reflection, discussion, and a light brunch.