Year 12 Retreat

Our Year 12 students were given the recent opportunity, amongst other things, to heal broken relationships, express gratitude, affirm others and let go of weighing burdens.  They heard the stories of two women whose journeys have brought them, in roundabout ways, to happiness today.


We would like to offer our Year 12s, and all in our community, the following words for reflection and consideration.  They are the words of Ron Rolheiser, an American Catholic priest and member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the same order that established and governs Iona College. Fr Rolheiser is president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.

Fr Rolheiser has paraphrased an interview response of Pope Francis's - synthesizing Pope Francis's  central point into his own words.

Ten Secrets to Happiness

  1. Live and let live — All of us will live longer and more happily if we stop trying to arrange other people's lives. Jesus challenged us not to judge but to live with the tension and let God and history make the judgments. So live we need to live by own convictions and let others do the same.
  2. Be giving of yourself to others — Happiness lies in giving ourselves away. We need to be open and generous because if we withdraw into ourselves we run the risk of becoming self-centred and no happiness will be found there since “stagnant water becomes putrid."
  3. Proceed calmly – Move with kindness, humility and calm. These are the antithesis of anxiety and distress. Calm never causes high blood pressure. We need to make conscious efforts to never let the moment cause panic and excessive hurry. Rather be late than stressed.
  4. A healthy sense of leisure — Never lose the pleasures of art, literature, and playing with children. Remember that Jesus scandalized others with his capacity to enjoy life in all its sensuousness. We don't live by work alone, no matter how important and meaningful it might be. In heaven there will be no work, only leisure. We need to learn the art and joy of leisure not just to prepare for heaven but to enjoy some of heaven now.
  5. Sundays should be holidays — Workers should have Sundays off because Sunday is for family. Accomplishment, productivity and speed may not become our most valued commodities or we will begin to take everything for granted; our lives, our health, our families, our friends, those around us, and all the good things in life. That is why God gave us a commandment to keep the Sabbath holy. This is not a lifestyle suggestion, but a commandment as binding as not killing. Moreover, if we are employers, the commandment demands too that we give our employees proper Sabbath-time.
  6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people — If you want to bless a young person, don't just tell that person that he or she is wonderful. Don't just admire youthful beauty and energy. Give a young person your job! Or, at least, work actively to help him or her find meaningful work. This will both bless that young person and bring a special happiness to your own life.
  7. Respect and take care of nature —The air we breathe out is the air we will re-inhale. This is true spiritually, psychologically and ecologically. We can't be whole and happy when Mother Earth is being stripped of her wholeness. Christ came to save the world, not just the people in the world. Our salvation, like our happiness, is tied to the way we treat the earth. It is immoral to slap another person in the face and so it is immoral too to throw our garbage into the face of Mother Earth.
  8. Stop being negative — Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. Negative thoughts feed unhappiness and a bad self-image. Positive thoughts feed happiness and healthy self-esteem.
  9. Don't proselyte, respect others' beliefs — What we cherish and put our faith into grows “by attraction, not by proselytizing."  Beauty is the one thing that no one can argue with. Cherish your values, but always act towards others with graciousness, charity and respect.
  10. Work for peace — Peace is more than the absence of war and working for peace means more than not causing disharmony.  Peace, like war, must be waged actively by working for justice, equality and an ever-wider inclusivity in terms of what makes up our family. Waging peace is the perennial struggle to stretch hearts, our own and others, to accept that in God's house there are many rooms and that all faiths, not least our own, are meant to be a house of prayer for all people.​

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