by Bria Isaacson, News Editor

Last semester, more than 20 students attended a day of solitude event at the Abbey of Gethsemani. This semester, this opportunity is being offered to students again. There will be room for about 40 students to go to the abbey on Sunday, March 26 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sign-ups for this event will start after spring break.

“This [event] is in response to students wanting solitude,” Jeannie Banter, the assistant director for the office of spiritual life, said. “Sometimes we need to do something drastic to see the value of something; this is for students to see the value of solitude.”

The goal, Banter said, is ultimately for students to incorporate the discipline of solitude into their everyday lives.

She understands, though, why some students may be hesitant to go to the abbey or to try solitude.

“Solitude is scary,” Banter said. “You don’t have anyone to talk to, and you have to unplug completely. But it’s less scary when you are going with people you know and trust. [Students] can process with us…and debrief. Then you can grow to love it.”

The abbey is a great place for students to practice this discipline. It has about 1200 acres open to walks and hikes, which guests can use to escape from society, practice solitude and see God’s creation.

The beauty of the abbey and its land contributed to sophomore and spiritual life assistant (SLA) Ramey Turner’s love of the day.

“I was so encouraged and refreshed by our day at the Abbey of Gethsemani in the fall,” she said. “People should attend because it’s a beautiful location, a fun drive with friends, and six hours set aside to be alone with the Lord. Yes, it’s a commitment and yes, it’s a sacrifice, but it is so worth it.”

The event will be reevaluated after March 26 to decide if it should be offered again. Right now, Banter said they are hoping to offer it every semester.

“[A day of solitude] is intense, and He always shows up,” Banter said. “Are we listening?”