Hope Thompson, The Circuit.
This spring, 24 women from Benedictine College will be participating in a 90-day retreat that aims to challenge their body, mind and soul. Fiat 90 is the brainchild of junior Molly Tynan, sophomores Olivia Weiger and Kylie Mulholland. It began Feb. 13 and extends to May 12, the 91st day being the 100-year celebration of Our Lady of Fatima.
Already a Marian women’s group on campus, Fiat is led by Tynan with the help of Mulholland.
Similar retreats including one called Exodus 90, a challenge being taken on by some men on campus, had been brought up in discussion at weekly meetings and served as inspiration for Fiat90.
“We, as a group of girls wanted to be challenged like that- I think that as a whole, we live in a generation so full of apathy and lukewarm-ness that any kind of challenge can be appealing to an extent,” Tynan said. “But we knew that there are so many differences between men and women and we knew that Exodus 90 wasn’t shaped for us as college women.”
Tynan said the idea for Fiat 90 came to them on a Tuesday, but the starting date was the following Monday, so “time was really of the essence.”
After a few hours of ‘taking it all to prayer’ and compiling notes, lists and ideas, Mulholland and Tynan sent their finished retreat guidelines to Weiger for design.
“So often we do small things to love Jesus, to become more like Mary, to strive for Sainthood,” Tynan said. “But this 90-day retreat looks at putting small things together to make one big thing.”
In a letter sent out to all potentially interested women, Tynan wrote, “We want you to be ready. We want you to have a reason to celebrate on May 13 because you have been preparing.”
Such preparations are not for the faint of heart. There are 21 challenges total that have been split up into three groups, each one focusing on body, mind or soul. Fiat 90 dares women to sacrifice many aspects of daily life (snacking, sweets, social media) along with adding in tasks like daily Mass, weekly confession and fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays.
“While the challenges of sanctifying your body, mind, and soul seem larger than the Rocky Mountains, at the end of these 90 days it is impossible to have not gained something from it all,” Tynan said.
The retreat is presented as “a greater challenge than most,” and Tynan believes that for most women, time, or lack thereof, is the greatest thing keeping them from participating.
“A lot of people have been convinced they can’t do it, and its not something that everyone should or needs to do- but it’s not something anyone can’t do,” she said. “You’ll be amazed how much time you actually have when you’re giving up these things.”
Just over a week in, Weiger is already able to attest. “Though it is a challenge, I have found more than anything it has really simplified many areas of my life,” she said. “I have never challenged myself in this way and every day I am learning in small ways how to fully live with Christ.”
Tynan and Mulholland said that though Fiat 90 is the challenge that some girls need, it is not something that everyone needs, nor something that everyone should do.
“Ultimately, Fiat 90 doesn’t determine your holiness, your authentic life determines your holiness,” Tynan said. “But I do encourage everyone to realize that God is challenging us to more. At a place like BC it is so easy to become complacent and Fiat 90 is a way for us women to accept God’s challenge”