A Campus Away From Campus

While Holy Cross has a wonderful campus with essentially unlimited extracurricular opportunities, I do have to admit that sometimes you develop that need to get away from campus for a few hours. Thankfully, the college has its very own retreat center less than 25 minutes away!

Holy Cross’s retreat center, the Joyce Contemplative Center, presents students with an amazing opportunity to get away from what can sometimes be a busy campus and simply slow things down to reflect on life. Located on a hilltop that overlooks gorgeous hills and a waterway, the JCC always offers an amazing sunset for students to look at! Most of the college’s retreats are held at the JCC. There are retreats for first-year students, the LGBTQ+ community, as well as a variety of other retreats that offer amazing opportunities. I definitely recommend trying to get to the JCC at least once during your first year at Holy Cross!

On a snowy day in February, I and my Montserrat classmates piled into school vans at Hogan to make the journey to the JCC. While pulling up the driveway our gaze was met with a beautiful contemporary building that just screamed: “forget about all your classes for an hour and just relax!” In the snow and cold, we all dashed to the entrance where we were greeted by a cozy crackling fireplace and a spacious dining room. On the left side of the building, there were hotel rooms for overnight retreats and there was a beautiful fully glass contemplation room that overlooks the surrounding nature located in the back of the building where we ended up performing our group presentations.

The main attraction for students is not just the beautiful building, the serene campus, or the escape from coursework. No, what do college students love almost more than anything else? FOOD of course! The JCC is renowned for dishing out some of the tastiest meals every single crusader has ever experienced in their lives. My meal was no different. With chicken parm as the main course with fresh veggies, salad, pasta, and garlic bread as sides I was stuffed. Oh wait, did I forget to mention that they also have freshly baked cookies for dessert?

Whether it’s for the retreat, the beautiful building, the serene campus, or the food; I can’t recommend going to the JCC at least once during your freshmen year!

An aerial shot of the Joyce Contemplative Center during the fall
A view of the deck of the JCC that overlooks the surrounding nature
Take a virtual tour of the JCC!

It’s Christmastime on Campus!

It’s that time of year, Christmastime! Seemingly everyone, whether or not you are religious, has a soft spot in their heart for Christmas. Christmas brings with it activities that provide us with boundless limits of joy, and Christmas on campus is no different! While students themselves may kick off the Christmas spirit by decorating their doors and rooms in the residence halls, the Purple Key Society on campus sets the mood with their annual Christmas tree lighting outside of O’Kane Hall.

Being in attendance at the Christmas tree lighting myself, I can testify that it was truly something magical. Making the walk with a group of friends from Hanselman Hall to O’Kane in the brisk winter air set the mood for a fun-filled and festive night ahead. When we arrived at the celebration we were greeted with cookies and hot chocolate along with a very enthusiastic Santa that was trying to convince everyone to take pictures after the tree lighting. The event began with a multitude of performances from campus bands and singing groups that got everyone into the Christmas spirit with hits such as “Jingle Bell Rock” and Mariah Carey’s famous “All I want for Christmas” and culminated with the blessing and lighting of the campus Christmas tree!

 

Students gather for Christmas tree lighting.
Christmas tree lighting occurs at the end of the event.