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Search Retreat: 'Creating a Culture of Care'

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Juliana Mascari is a English major and theology minor who will graduate from the University of San Diego in May 2016. She has provided USD News Center with a reflection on the Search Retreat experience and what it means to her. 

Not many universities can claim that at its core the intention is to create a culture of care that challenges and supports leaders as they strive to become the Changemakers of tomorrow. However, I truly believe that this is the heart, the passion, and the mission of the University of San Diego.

While there are many facets that embrace this mentality, the one that has forever changed my outlook on life is University Ministry’s Search Retreat.

In my opinion, you cannot create a culture of care if you do not first have a strong community. Community is a place where you feel safe, loved, and in solidarity with others. Search, by its very nature, creates this community.

Through the efforts of the many members of this community, a culture is created not based on any other idea besides the notion that every human life is innately comprised of dignity and worth and because of this, we should treat one another with empathy and love. Each person deserves to be embraced as a whole being including their background, their struggles, their joys, their talents, etc. Every single component that comprises a person creates a spirit that cannot be emulated by anyone else. It is this spirit that can go forth into the world and utilize their passions and compassion to be the Changemakers we are called to become.

Through small group discussions, journaling opportunities, outdoor reflections, witness talks, prayer and various other services, students have the unique opportunity to spend time searching themselves and their part as a member of the Body of Christ. While in community with others who are themselves going through a similar experience, bonds are formed and friendships are made and, in turn, become a support system for the rest of their college experience.

It is not always easy to recognize the spirit or the fire in ourselves. Between the scattered homework papers, the rushing to class, the squeezing in of a few hours at work, and runs along Mission Beach, it can become challenging to set aside time to reflect on what we are doing and who we are becoming. Search gives us this outlet to not only reflect on the college experiences we’ve already had, but also how we want to spend the rest of our time at USD. During the retreat we’re reminded that we are members of a community at USD that cherishes us and wishes to support us as we continue to grow.

Care can be shown through a variety of ways, but there is no greater understanding of care than what is found within a community that intentionally uplifts and supports its members without asking anything in return and to simply be themselves and do the same for others as they wish done unto them.

— Juliana Mascari ’16