Blanchet Catholic School photo
Spirituality Team members from Blanchet School make a labyrinth walk at Queen of Angels Monastery in Mount Angel.
Blanchet Catholic School photo
Spirituality Team members from Blanchet School make a labyrinth walk at Queen of Angels Monastery in Mount Angel.
SALEM — Blanchet Catholic School's Spirituality Team is a service club comprised of 21 seniors dedicated to connecting with the spiritual interests of the student body. Through retreats and prayer services, Spirituality Team leaders provide opportunities for Blanchet Catholic students to grow in their faith.

On Dec. 9, Spirituality Team advisor Danielle Wise organized a retreat for team members. The morning began with a presentation by Rick Newton, director of Mount Angel Developmental Programs, an organization that offers residential and employment services for people with developmental disabilities.

Newton offered insight into understanding and embracing individuals with developmental challenges, both from a professional perspective and a personal view. His sister has disabilities.

Members of the team dedicated the remainder of the morning to serving three  organizations in Mount Angel. A third of the team headed to St. Joseph Shelter, a facility that provides emergency and transitional shelter for homeless families. The team members spent the morning making Christmas cards with several of the young children currently living at the shelter.

A second group offered help to Habitat for Humanity’s Re-Store, where they stocked shelves and organized a storage room.

The third group worked with Mount Angel Developmental Programs. The members spent the morning there moving storage boxes, organizing files and interacting with employees.

“The day gave us all the opportunity to become aware of different components of ourselves that we may not usually spend time enriching,” said Danielle Wise, moderator of the team.  

The team concluded their day with a labyrinth walk at Queen of Angels Monastery. The labyrinth path is a metaphor for the path through life. The time spent walking the labyrinth is a time of prayer, meditation and reflection.

“The various organizations that we visited in the morning took us all out of our comfort zone and daily routine," Wise says. "Experiencing a little bit of this displacement in the morning facilitated a more meaningful connection with the labyrinth in the afternoon. Being removed, even if it was for a brief amount of time, from what is comfortable actually allowed contemplation and self reflection during the walking meditation to be more valuable."

Tony Guevara, Blanchet's principal, attended the retreat.

“The students impressed me with their openness of spirit, attitude and participation," Guevara says. "This was evident not only in the service portion of the day, but also in the labyrinth experience. The students engaged authentically, and each created a lasting memory.”

Kaitlin Counts, a senior Spirituality Team member, called the retreat an eye-opening experience.

"Each one of us looked deeply into our hearts to find what was truly important to us," Counts says. "Walking the labyrinth helped us to clear our minds and ‘see’ where we are going in life.”

2010-2011 Team Members: Meredith Adams, William Barnes, Elyzabeth Brooks, Kaitlin Counts, Amanda Davidson, Sam Estes, Ryan Garaventa, Tevin Gianella, Jacob Gries, Kyla Hale, Margaret Hansen, Emily Hillmer, Monica Huster, Nick Johnson, Katelyn Miller, Morgan Miller, Rebecca Moore, Katie Ott, Colby Schlechter, Ted Stuckart, Noelle Weathers