The Cardoner Volunteer Program (CVP) conducted its Midyear Formation Program and Retreat for its Batch 6 last April 11-16, 2023, in Bangkok, Thailand.

CVP is a yearlong volunteer service offered to graduates and faculty members of Ateneo de Davao University. The CVP is now in the 6th month of implementation for AY 2022-2023. With the COVID-19 restrictions easing, the program resumed its face-to-face deployment this academic year.

Ms. Agnes Joy J. Sagaral, RSW, the Arrupe Office of Social Formation Director, facilitated the CVP midyear formation and retreat.

Marla Arreza (ABMC Class of 2016) and Consuelo Celine Fuentes (AdDU SHS Faculty) attended the Midyear Formation Program. Arreza is deployed to Xavier Learning Community in Chiang Rai, Thailand, while Fuentes is deployed virtually to St. Aloysius Gonzaga Institute of Higher Studies (SAG-IHS), Taunggyi, Myanmar.

Fuentes mentioned that this was her first silent retreat, and in the absence of WIFI, academic, and home responsibilities, she discovered a strange kind of silence and rest. “God saw that I needed a stronger break than usual, and I was asked to drop everything and be with Him in Bangkok, Thailand,” she said.

In her reflection, Arreza shared that living in a community composed of people from different cultures and backgrounds enabled her to open herself to others and push herself to do things she never imagined doing.

Arreza hoped she had made a significant contribution to the community. “It may not necessarily be inside the four walls of the classrooms or related to academics. I hope in some of my interactions and dealings with the people around, I have left a mark in them,” she said.

Meanwhile, Fuentes said that she spent time with people who showed her that she was not alone and there was so much wisdom found in the experiences of others.

The Cardoner Volunteer Program aims to offer a transformative experience and joy in the active building of friendship and dialogue through witnessing, inspired by the experience of St. Ignatius in the riverbanks of the Cardoner River in Catalonia, Spain. CVP has deployed 25 volunteers in Mindanao and the Asia Pacific in the past six years.

Article and Photos by the Cardoner Volunteer Program, Arrupe Office of Social Formation

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