History of Awakening Retreats
The first Awakening retreat was held in 1974 at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. In 1983, LSU gave the Awakening to the Aggies at Texas A&M University, which is likely the largest, continuously-running Awakening retreat program in the country (they have had 95 consecutive Aggie Awakenings as of Summer 2012!). Awakening is currently running in over 40 universities and dioceses in the United States.
Boiler Awakening Retreats
Once upon a time, Father Patrick travelled to a distant land by the name of College Station, Texas. He was in search of something great…something that could be used to enliven the hearts and minds of the students back in the land of the Boilermakers. When he arrived in College Station he looked in wonder at the group of people “whooping” and praising God at every chance they could get. He wanted this kind of excitement and love for Christ at St. Tom’s and so was born the idea of Boiler Awakening.
Many months later, this idea blossomed into something real when he introduced it to a group of students preparing for Purdue Christ Encounter. As was custom of Purdue Christ Encounter, the Co-Coordinator was responsible for being the Coordinator of the next retreat, but this was something new. After some prayer and thought, she decided that Boiler Awakening sounded like a great way to reach out to even more Purdue Students and she agreed to be the Coordinator of Boiler Awakening #1. After more prayer, thought and discussion she asked a friend and member of the PCE staff to be her Co-Coordinator for BA1 and he agreed.
So the two of them started preparing for Boiler Awakening #1 by recruiting staff members, finding a location and most importantly asking people to embark on a journey to Ohio State and Texas A&M. The Co-coordinator and 2 Purdue students travelled to Ohio State to be the first Purdue students to see the power of Awakening at Buckeye Awakening #2. Upon their return, they gathered and prayed for those students who would soon travel to Texas and also for the first Boiler Awakening and its success. A few months later the Coordinator, 3 Purdue students and the St. Tom’s campus minister travelled to Texas to attend the colossal retreat that was Aggie Awakening #89. Throughout both retreats, thoughts and prayers for Boiler Awakening were constant in everyone’s minds.
No rest was allowed following Aggie Awakening. Boiler Awakening #1 was fast approaching and there was much to be done. The BA#1 staff smoothly came together to put their creativity and faith to amazing use. After hours and hours of planning, praying, writing, crying, and laughing, Boiler Awakening #1: Called to Rise Above began at 5:00 PM on October 29th, 2010 with a greeting and prayer with those about to attend the first Boiler Awakening. For many, the retreat was more than could have been expected. There were a few bumps in the weekend that taught some valuable lessons but those did not keep the power of Boiler Awakening #1 from going unnoticed. The retreaters and staff returned physically tired, but spiritually on fire and ready to spread the love of Christ to all they saw.