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Minoo, Japan - The retreat day of the high school students


Encounter with one self,
Encounter with others,
Encounter with God

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For these past three years, Father Daniel C.I.C.M.i (Congolese missionary), has accompanied our students for retreat day. Daniel is intelligent, very friendly, and has a good sense of humor. Most of our students are not Christian, but Daniel’s personality helps to open their hearts and make them relax.
We have this retreat day in the beginning of the school year. As graduation gets closer students feel uneasy about their future. The object of this retreat day is to give the opportunity to students to better recognize themselves and others, and get renewed hope for their future. Daniel’s “arts” of accompaniment is of tremendous help to the students, as it gives them a chance to grow spiritually so that they can have inner peace and the self-confidence.

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Students begin to check their characters and attitudes through a questionnaires. This part of the work makes them discover aspects of their character that they didn’t know. Then they share facts about themselves with others in the group. They also recognize their friends in a new light. Theses profound understanding of oneself and the understanding of others make them more compassionate. This experience gives them a solid self-confidence. Finally they reflect themselves in the light of the passage of 1Cor 1-13 : “Love is patient...believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things...”

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In this retreat day, we try to make them free of studies and not to teach. In this free atmosphere, we help them to walk by themselves and encourage them to do so. At the end of this retreat day, students show on their faces serenity and satisfaction.
For us, as teacher’s, we have a tendency to lecture too much and make students dependent on us. This retreat day opens our eyes to find our students and the plenitude of joy of their growth.

We share some commentaries of our students :

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Entente - understanding - comprension
  • Thinking of my weakness and strength, I recognized that I didn’t know myself well. I have denied having the weakness as possible as I could, I didn’t want to admit it. However, I think that true strength, probably, is the capacity to recognize one’s weakness without hiding by surface strength. I noticed that one who could show his/her weakness to others was the one who had true strength. That person has the authentic strength to show the weakness. To admit my weakness is to accept myself, so to admit weakness of others is accept themselves. I want to be the person who can understand the weakness and the pain of others, and accept them. And I want to be able to admit my weakness.
  • I’m very grateful to give us the meaningful time. Today I recognized that I had spoiled of myself. Because I found many points to consider again to the study and my life. I have the tendency to choose easier way as possible, I will improve myself by being faithful to the principle, “be strict to myself, be gentle to others”. Basically I am gentle to others but generous to myself, so I’m easy to fail in to the laziness. I want to see my weakness and to convert it the growth.
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    Intériorité - inwardness - interioridad
  • “To accept myself as I am”, I want to make efforts to love “myself as I am”. To love others, it must love oneself. I feel uneasy when I find my weakness, but I have the others who accept my weakness. I should not forget them. It’s not necessary to live under the pressure to be perfect. I would like to keep it in my heart.
  • Today, Fr. Daniel gave us that it was normal that we were different and the weakness, the strength and including the inferior complex, God gave them to us. I also have many weaknesses and inferior complexes, but I would like to love myself including my weakness. Through the sharing, I could find the new aspects of my friends. All humane is not complete, has the weakness and strength. Each one has sufferings and anxieties. I noticed that it was important to be able to love the others including their weaknesses and sufferings.

Nobuo Funaki
(Social department teacher of High School,
Assumption Minoo)


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