The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

SAVI is memorable, unifying experience

This April, six sophomores went on a nationwide retreat to gain a better understanding of the Augustinian Values of Unitas, Veritas, and Caritas.

Students on SAVI / R. Franks
Students on SAVI / R. Franks

SAVI (Student Augustinian Values Institute) is an annual retreat attended by Malvern Prep students along with eight other Augustinian schools in North America.
Six sophomores are selected based on leadership qualities to attend the institute. The purpose is to improve their understanding of the Augustinian core values of truth, and unity and love and help raise awareness of these on the Malvern Prep campus.

Participating in SAVI connects the Malvern Prep students with a network of Augustinian students throughout North America.

The Augustinian Schools that attended this year’s retreat in Ojai, California were Austin Catholic, Cascia Hall, Providence Catholic, St. Augustine High School St. Augustine Prep, St. Rita of Cascia, Villanova College, Villanova Prep, and Malvern Prep.

The six sophomore representatives this year from Malvern were Alex Reber, Patrick Ferraiolo, Cullen Robinson, Matt Daller, Nate Albergo, and me, Ryan Franks.

Throughout the trip, the SAVI members participated in presentations on the three core Augustinian values. On Friday morning, we received a talk on veritas or truth by a dean and basketball coach at Villanova Prep. Truth, he explained, has three parts: truth to yourself, truth to others, and truth to the world.

Later that day, at Ventura Beach, we were given a second talk on unitas or unity. This time by a Villanova Prep swim coach. His speech centered around a quote by Russell Westbrook, winner of the NBA scoring title. He explained how winning a personal award was a lot less fun than winning something as a team and collective achievement. No one remembers what they did alone, however they do remember what they do when it is with many members.

On Saturday, an Augustinian volunteer spoke to us about the last value – caritas or love. The speech was summed up by four types of love: storge or affection, agape which is “God-love” or unconditional love, philia or brotherly love, and eros or romance.

After each speech, schools gathered in groups and talked about how this individual value of unitas, veritas, or caritas was lived out at their school. Then the schools would take turns presenting on what they discussed.

At the SAVI retreat, we had a chance to live out these values.

On Saturday afternoon, the SAVI members had a chance to show our love through service. Half of the SAVI members boarded a bus headed to the beach for cleanup, and the other to an orchard in Ojai. I spent my time picking grapefruits and oranges for a food share organization. This organization helps feeds families all across California, which is especially useful in their long drought. The other group of students cleaned the beach, showing their love for the environment.

The trip was full of opportunities to live out truth. We met for Mass every morning at 8 AM in Villanova’s chapel. This was a wonderful chance to seek the truth in the gospel and scripture. Throughout the time spent together, we were given a chance to learn more about the other schools and our similarities. We exchanged knowledge and ideas that we could possibly bring back and use at our own schools.

We experienced unitas all throughout the trip. The SAVI members spent time together at the beach, communal prayer and Mass, doing service, at a lake and on a hike. We also spent a lot of time bonding at night, because we slept in classrooms with about 15 students. From swimming in the pool to playing pick-up basketball or just talking around the campfire, we truly got to know each other and develop long-lasting relationships.

When I first learned I was going on SAVI, I did not exactly know what to expect. I assumed that all of the schools were going to be quite similar to Malvern, but not identical. I soon found out differently.

After arriving at Villanova’s campus and watching each school’s introduction videos, it was clear that each school was unique. Some of the school’s campuses resembled Episcopal Academy in size and grandeur. Others were smaller than Malvern, or embedded in cities. Some schools were co-ed and one was even all girls!

From this wonderful experience I learned many things about St. Augustine and our fellow Augustinian schools. There were many ideas that I would like to bring back to Malvern that the other schools had as traditions.

First, a few of the schools hugged each other during the sign of peace at mass. Second, MORP, which is just prom backwards sounded like a fun idea for underclassmen who can not attend prom. Lastly, a special suit jacket that only seniors could wear to symbolize their leadership positions at Malvern. This would be accompanied by a ceremony in which the seniors would pass down these jackets down to the upcoming seniors for the following year.

SAVI was one of the best and most memorable experiences of my life. This event has opened me up to so much knowledge which could not have been attained without making the trip. As Augustine said, “the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”

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