What is Kairos?


Leadership for KAIROS 10 preparing for the retreat. Photo/ Notre Dame Preparatory Facebook

Allison Yeomans, Staff Writer

Leadership for KAIROS 10 preparing for the retreat. Photo/ Notre Dame Preparatory Facebook
Leadership for Kairos 10 preparing for the retreat. Photo/ Notre Dame Preparatory Facebook

By Allison Yeomans

Upperclassmen are about to embark this month on a spiritual journey, a three-and-a-half-day retreat known as Kairos that’s been called both eye-opening and life-changing.

Kairos will be offered four times this year to seniors and juniors: Sept. 22-25, Nov. 17-20, Feb. 16-19 and April 12-15. Next year Kairos will only be open to juniors due to student formation changes.

Sister Yolanda Mendoza, head of Kairos at Notre Dame Prep, defines it as a “retreat that gives students the opportunity to get to know God, themselves and others better.” Students who attend are assigned to a small group in which they can help each other explore their faith. The groups are led by other students who have previously attended Kairos.

According to Leslie Gjerstad, director of Christian Service Learning, most students come back changed—whether it is having a strengthened faith or knowing themselves better. She said she has even seen atheists come back “on fire for God.”

Cassidy McSorely, senior and leader on this month’s Kairos 11, said she had a great experience on Kairos and wanted to help do the same for others. According to McSorely, leading Kairos is not an easy task—leadership meets twice a week for three hours each time. Her goal as a leader is to show people that there are different types of faith and that people can experience faith differently. She describes this year’s leadership team as “great people who know their relationship with God and who collaborate well together.”

Not only do students explore their faith, but also their relationship with themselves and with others. Claire Marr, a senior who attended Kairos 10 last April, describes her experience on Kairos as “eye-opening. I never realized how much love could be in one room,” she said.

After each Kairos retreat, students return to campus with a newfound understanding of their faith, their peers, and themselves. It is quite easy to see who has been on Kairos, as they all seem to return to school with what students have deemed to be a “Kai-High.”

Kairos necklaces proudly displayed, students are asked what exactly they did on the retreat. Their answers are always vague and include the Kairos motto, “Live the fourth.”

Sr. Yolanda said the mystery of Kairos is just like opening presents at Christmas. It is much more exciting to not know what the presents contain until they are opened.

A smile emerged across Sr. Yolanda’s face as she reflected on Kairos: “It’s a wonderful experience. I can’t think of any other way to describe it.”

Many students agree with Sr. Yolanda, as each year she has offered a refund to anyone who did not enjoy Kairos. No one has ever taken her up on that offer.