Who goes on retreats?

| February 16, 2016 | 0 Comments
dough Kuplic, left, and his father, Don, have attended retreats together for the past three years at the Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center in Prior Lake. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Doug Kuplic, left, and his father, Don, have attended retreats together for the past three years at the Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center in Prior Lake. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Dad, son like to reflect

Don Kuplic was a 14-year-old ninth grader when he first went on retreat, and he’s been going ever since. For more than 20 years the parishioner of St. John the Baptist in Savage has been making retreats at the Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center in Prior Lake.

His preference is for silent retreats.

“You’re there to concentrate on your Christian life, to improve what you do in your life,” said Kuplic, 80. “You examine your life and how it compares with what you should be doing.

“A retreat gives you the advantage of reviewing your life, to see how you measure up,” he added. “There’s no finer way of doing it.”

The last three years Kuplic has invited his son, Doug, to come with to the Franciscan Retreat Center.

“I like what they put on for us,” said Doug, 59, a bank examiner. “You really get a lot to think about.”

A member of Holy Trinity in South St. Paul who lives in Inver Grove Heights, the younger Kuplic  said he appreciates much of the retreat experience — the conferences he finds meaningful, the opportunity to spend time talking with retreat staff member Franciscan Father James Van Dorn and other men on the retreat.

“There’s a fair amount of quiet time built in, too,” Doug Kuplic said, “and I think that’s important.”

He said he’s a better Catholic for having attended the annual retreats.

“I understand my faith better. I have more knowledge of it and its practicality,” he added.

He finds himself questioning how to act in better ways, especially finding positive qualities in and greater respect for other people.

A deeply involved Catholic, Don Kuplic organized and led St. John the Baptist’s first parish council.

Retired from his job in corporate insurance sales, he and his wife, Shirley, now have — thanks to their nine children — 27 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

With the forthrightness of age and experience, Kuplic said frankly, “Some retreats are better than others.

“The last retreat we had, the retreat master spoke on the life we live and our daily routine, the very basics.

“He talked about living a Catholic life and Catholic relationships that go on constantly,” he added. “That’s the type of retreat that brings you back.”

For her, it’s a spiritual homecoming

Peggy Rodewald likes the person she is after attending retreats at Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center in Prior Lake.

A legal assistant at a large Minneapolis law firm, Rodewald said co-workers have commented, “You’re different” after she’s been on retreat.

Peggy Rodewald

Peggy Rodewald

“When I get back to work, I’m more laid back and willing to say, ‘Oh, I understand your side’ ” when discussing something with someone with a different point of view.

It’s just one of the reasons the parishioner at St. Peter, Mendota, will be making her 20th retreat this year at the Franciscans’ campus, a place she calls her spiritual home.

“When I come up the driveway, I feel like I’m coming home,” Rodewald said. “It’s such a peaceful place. You disconnect from everything and connect to God and nature.”

Rodewald was a young mother of twin daughters 19 years ago when she attended her first retreat, she recalled.

Through the years, retreats have helped her deal with divorce and the deaths of family and close relatives, she said. She likes the balance of activities Franciscan Retreats offers, including group conferences as well as alone time just sitting looking at the lake.

“The people there are really supportive,” Rodewald said. “The Franciscans go out of their way, especially to women, because they realize women minister to everybody else.”

She’s become a retreat captain, which involves inviting others to join her on retreat. Many attend a women’s retreat the same time each year, but Rodewald said five to 10 new women typically come, too. “I love meeting the different people,” she said.

“People find themselves at peace,” she added. “It’s the simplicity of it; it takes all the trappings away. Peace within is there.”

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