The most recent Christian Brothers Venaver has given students a fulfilling experience that few can offer. During their trip to Tucson, Arizona, CB Venaver students were able to view the pressing issues of the border and immigration in general. By talking to both border patrol agents and immigrants, retreatants could view both sides of the […]
The most recent Christian Brothers Venaver has given students a fulfilling experience that few can offer.
During their trip to Tucson, Arizona, CB Venaver students were able to view the pressing issues of the border and immigration in general. By talking to both border patrol agents and immigrants, retreatants could view both sides of the story and later from their own opinions.
The major difference that sets this Venaver from previous retreats is the focus on studying the main border issues.
“[This retreat] isn’t just doing the service in a soup kitchen, though that is a part of it,” says Venaver Director Ms. Jennifer Lystrup. “We were talking to people, we are had direct connection with people who day to day deal with the politics, the humanitarian, the environmental issues of immigration and the border”.
Venaver included a truly immersing experience that educated CB students in a very active and productive manner.
“Quite honestly [the students] liked everything, this particular immersion was quite powerful,” Ms. Lystrup said. “I think they enjoyed the hiking, memorial walks, talking to border patrol, serving the poor and I believe that they were transformed by this whole experience.”
“I really enjoyed hearing the topic from different angles because we talked to border patrol and we also talked to recently deported immigrants we discovered the full side of the story,” added Zaria Watkins (’14). “In particular, I think that I most enjoyed how we got to group together with Cristo Rey kids and make new friends, and we all hot pretty close by the end of the retreat.”
The differing locations that students were allowed to visit truly made the retreat a unique and transformative experience. CB students were not only able to spend time at Cristo Rey High School, but could also visit throughout various parts of Tucson, as well as in New Mexico.
“Staying at our sister school Cristo Rey allowed us to interact with four students from Cristo Rey, which was great because we were able to bond so well with them,” says the Christian Morality teacher.
Those on retreat were allowed access to a variety of different kinds of people, ranging from federal judges to humble ranchers. By listening to the varying opinions on the border issues they were able to grasp the complexities of immigration.
“The students went to federal courts and they got a chance to talk to federal judges and public defenders, but they also got to talk with humanitarians, ranchers, and the recently deported,” says Ms. Lystrup. “They had the opportunity to ask all kinds of questions and become much more educated about the different problems faced by these people”.
Venaver offers a mixture of incredible experiences that no other Christian Brothers retreat can offer. Along with hiking and helping the poor, the Venaver retreat offers members of the CB community the chance to become more educated on the issues of the border.