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Rediscovering Love at the Lakehouse



by Ms. Juliana C. Vossenberg



This past weekend was my first opportunity of the semester to attend a retreat at the Chapman Lake Retreat House, a university-owned retreat center that is about 30 minutes by car away from the U.  I attended the  Love, Sex, and Relationships retreat, which was sponsored by the Catholic Studies Program, a subset of the Theology and Religious Studies Department. After finishing class at 2 PM on Friday, I rushed back to my dorm and threw together a quick away-bag with just the necessities: toiletries, comfy clothes, and some light reading  (Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson, if you’re curious). Then, after stopping at Starbucks for an iced coffee (as is my modus operandi), I met the four girls and four guys with whom I would be spending this retreat. I also met our retreat leader, a warm-hearted, energetic woman by the name of Megan Murphy.


After arriving at the lakehouse, we spent some time unwinding. My friend and I played outside with one of our professor’s two little kids, and I definitely got my daily cardio workout in playing tag with them. It’s amazing to me how much energy they had; within 5 minutes, I was already winded! After dinner, provided by the University’s catering service, we got down to business. And when I say business, I mean all-out catechesis. Megan Murphy essentially taught us a two-day course in the Theology of the Body, a systematic way to approach love, sex, and human relationships as consolidated by the late Pope John Paul II. For some background on this beautiful teaching of the Catholic Church, you can visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ webpage here.

I thought that Megan Murphy did a great job expressing this unique theological teaching in an engaging and well-ordered manner. Her appeals to both heart and reason were powerful, and in her hands the Theology of the Body took on new life. I had learned this teaching in my Catholic high school years, but Mrs. Murphy rekindled the joy I had felt in its beauty and nonconformity.


After just two days of learning about love and sex, I was surprised at how much the retreat group had learned. A professor quite aptly described our experience as “drinking from a firehose” because there was such a great deal for us retreatees to think about and try to apply back in our lives at the University. The retreat beautifully ended with the offer of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist.


Heart set on heaven, hope set on holiness, Megan Murphy is a dynamic Catholic speaker who rivets the attention of her listeners to lead them ultimately to Christ.  Extremely knowledgeable in the Theology of the Body, and other Catholic topics, Megan evangelizes and inspires with messages of love and mercy that are the result of her humble daily prayer and family life. Never could one have a more devoted spiritual consolation and guidepost.  I am blessed to call her my friend. 

Cindy Costello

Theology Professor,

Franciscan University of Steubenville

Steubenville, OH

Certified Graduate,

Theology of the Body Institute

Megan Murphy is a dynamic and engaging Catholic speaker who brings to life the beautiful teachings of St. JPII's Theology of the Body. Megan penetrates to the heart of the TOB and its message that we were made for union and communion with one another and ultimately with God. Drawing from this Divine program of love, she makes tangible to all who hear her speak the reality that it is only through a searing and personal encounter with Christ that our heart finds its deepest fulfillment. Megan's presentations show the Scriptures to be God's love story to man. Through personal testimony, explanation of the Scriptures, and unfolding the TOB text, Megan Murphy will have keep you laughing and amazed at God's wonderful plan for you. She's a wonderful speaker who can engage youth, teens, and adults alike. Megan is a light in the New Evangelization and a witness to the balm of Christ's love that Pope Francis asked us to embody as members of a Church that is called to be a field hospital.

Dr. Matt Breuninger

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Franciscan University of Steubenville

Steubenville, OH

I have had the privilege of listening to Mrs. Murphy speak to various audiences, from a small group of young women in high school to an auditorium of undergraduate students. Mrs. Murphy has an incredible gift to connect with women of all ages and walks of life. Her stories bring hope and inspire listeners to live as witnesses to our Catholic faith, knowing they are wholly and truly loved by God. Mrs. Murphy’s ability to discuss topics of the utmost importance and relevance in an engaging, dynamic, and authentic manner captivates her audiences. Her conviction is inspiring, her honesty refreshing, and her message powerful. I am grateful to have heard her speak in the past, and I hope to do so again in the future!

Zoë Haggerty

J.D. Candidate 2023

Boston College Law School

What a wonderful day was experienced yesterday by our Catechetical Leaders Association of the Diocese of Paterson!

We are so grateful to have made an acquaintance with Megan Murphy.  What a beautiful message of God's Mercy Megan delivered to us in her presentation yesterday during our CLA Day of Reflection! Thank you so much for making this day possible for the members of our association.  We are directors of religious education--and mothers and sisters and fathers and brothers and daughters and sons--who go away from yesterday changed and renewed by Megan's message of God's boundless Mercy.

Cheryl Wallace

President of Catechetical Leaders Association

Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey

Director of Religious Education & Family Faith

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, Boonton, NJ

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