Academics

"Sacred Valley Retreat"

Andahuaylillas, Urcos, Huaro, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Machu Picchu, Peru

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July

Requirements:

  • Students should be in the possession of a valid passport that does not expire before March of 2023. If you do not have a current passport, please apply and select the expedited feature.
  • Must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
  • Typhoid vaccine is highly recommended

Program Description: The Sacred Valley in Peru’s southern Andes is one of the country’s most important historical and cultural regions. It is also home to the Inca capital, Cusco city. This is where we will begin our experience. The team will arrive in Cusco and travel south to the township of Andahuaylillas perched at 10,500 ft. The center of this small community of no more than 500 families is La Iglesia San Pedro de Apostol - The Church of Saint Peter the Apostle. Constructed in the early 16th century on the site of an Incan temple, this Church is known as the Sistine Chapel of the Americas. Our team will live amongst the people who call this place home - worshiping, working, gathering for communal meals, and playing. Structured as a retreat around intentional daily dialogue about the intersection between faith and a life dedicated to living in solidarity with the poor, our guides for this experience are members of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. The “JVs” are all recent college graduates who have chosen to spend two years living in this community and dedicated to following four basic values: simplicity, community, social justice, and spirituality. 

Students are asked to leave their comforts of home in Dallas, packing as lightly as possible, intentionally limiting their access to privilege and resources, so that we may eagerly receive the gifts offered to us by the generous people we will meet along the way. The days are long and difficult, but they are rich and filled with joy. Students will be challenged to reexamine their priorities and in particular what they understand is necessary for fulfillment in our daily lives. 

This experience offers students something new: a July winter, a new language (Quechuan), the beautiful Andean landscape, and the daily rural parish routine. They will be invited to see things with a new and simpler perspective. It is our hope that students will depart Dallas as an excited tourist soon to be dropped in an unfamiliar land where ancient cities are nestled in the clouds, where the exotic flavor of cua (guinea pig) mixes with the delicate aroma of the angel’s trumpet flower, and where men and women still dress in the bright colors of their ancestors. And upon their return, we have a greater hope that they have been changed: through worship with new friends, by reading to a group of anxious children or teaching a small boy how to brush his teeth, learning the Quechuan word for “laugh” from a seven year old girl, or by the blisters on their feet after hiking to the shrine atop the “Viva Andauhaylillas”. This trip is intended to push students to examine themselves honestly; expand their understanding of family beyond biology; deepen their commitment to justice for the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized; and to renew their relationship with God.

The trip will conclude with a 3 day long tour of the Sacred Valley, including the historic and cultural centers of Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Machu Picchu. 

Important Information: 

  • This is a high altitude experience. We will live at an elevation of 10,500 feet and visit elevations between 15,000 and 17,000 ft.
  • A high degree of physical fitness is required for this experience. Students will walk/hike up to 10 miles a day or will be asked to complete physical labor at high altitude.
  • Due to limitations locally we may not be able to accommodate special dietary restrictions.

Questions?
Please direct questions to program coordinators Mr. Howard (jhoward@jesuitcp.org) and Dr. Riemer (MRiemer@jesuitcp.org).