The sun shone brightly over Lover’s Leap State Park as students connected with nature—and each other—at the annual Third Form Retreat. Led by senior leaders and faculty, the retreat gave Third Form students the opportunity to reflect on their first few weeks of school and set goals for the year and the rest of their time at Canterbury.
According to Theology Teacher and Retreat Coordinator Brian Shearer, the five steps of the contemplative Ignatian Examen prayer—presence, gratitude, review, sorrow, and grace—served as the individual topics for reflection and discussion during the retreat. Students gave thanks for the good moments they have experienced, reflected on situations in which they could have acted better, and set goals for personal growth and improvement.
As they trekked across the wooded park to various overlooks of Lake Lillinonah, students interacted with Sacristans and Interfaith Council members and were asked to think about the teachers who have supported them so far.
“It was a joy to take Third Form students to Lover's Leap State Park on a beautiful day devoted to creating a strong and healthy community,” Brian said. “Taking time to disconnect from the everyday and reflect is so important to our well-being. The students enjoyed wonderful scenery and bonded with one another.”
That bonding was an important part of the day for Brendan Buda ’26. “We were able to share some meaningful thoughts and events that have happened to us both here at Canterbury and in the past,” he said. “I connected with many Third Formers whom I hadn’t built relationships with yet. I cannot wait for our next event together!”
The retreat concluded with time for further reflection in the Chapel of Our Lady, where students were invited to share their experience with faculty and peers.
Retreats are an essential Canterbury tradition. Held annually for each Form, they give students valuable time to connect with themselves, each other, and the world around them.