Kairos retreat offers transformation for upperclassmen

Estie Katz, Staff Writer

Ever since DePaul Prep students were freshmen, on their first class retreat, they were told about the astonishment and surprises of Kairos. Students and staff members that went on Kairos have been promoting it each year. Ms. Merkl-Deutsch, head of Mission and Ministry, stated that “you don’t want to miss it.” 

Kairos is an all encompassing three day retreat that puts students into ‘God’s time.’ Juniors and seniors are given the chance to take a step away from their normal everyday routines and take time off to become vulnerable, not only with themselves but with small groups of their classmates as well.

Kairos is an experience that is special because of its secrecy and confidentiality. Student leader Maddy Gost, a senior, could confidently say that “it leads to suspense and it makes it more fun for everybody when they don’t know what’s going on, and it also makes it a more comfortable and a safe environment for everybody to have that secret.” 

As a leader, you are given the opportunity to present a talk. A talk is a reflective speech given to the student retreatants by a student leader.

Gost explained the unique experience of giving a talk to her peers.

“My talk had a lot to do with my personal life, which was very new for me, so I think it helped me become more comfortable talking about personal things in front of a crowd of people, and grow my confidence more.” 

Juniors Alexa Newpoff and Mckenzie Kelly, both of whom went on Kairos this fall, agreed that, “Kairos really helped me connect better with others and taught me to not judge people before getting to know them.” 

For students contemplating whether or not to go on Kairos, Merkl-Deutsch affirms that it is an experience all students should consider.

“Kairos has been around for 50 years, and when you think of different generations of teenagers having a similar experience on Kairos, it says something about how Kairos speaks to human beings in a very universal way. So, trust the people who are nudging you to go and just go.” 

DePaul Prep campus minister Ms. Gleber discussed what students receive from the Kairos experience.

“There’s just such a long tradition of that in the Catholic faith and in the Catholic experience, and I think offering it to students, especially at this time of their life, when they need impact and tradition is something really powerful” 

Gleber also offered words of encouragement to students.

“You don’t get opportunities like this a ton in your life. As an adult, I have recognized that I don’t get the chance to step back like you do on Kairos, so take advantage of that while it’s here. And then also, come in with an open mind, with an open heart, and know what you’re willing to give is what you’ll get back in return.”

Students are notorious for coming back from Kairos with a calmer and more centered mind space than they were before they came. 

Overall, Merkl-Deutsch encouraged students to take the opportunity to “immerse ourselves into God’s time in an environment in which we focus on our relationship with ourselves, with God, and with those around us.”