Retreats and Pilgrimages
Throughout their educational journey, students have opportunities to participate in retreats and pilgrimages both within the UK and overseas.
At KS3, students visit Harvington Hall, to explore the work of our school patron St Nicholas Owen and can take part in a residential retreat experience at the Briars Catholic Retreat Centre in Nottinghamshire.
At Key Stage 4, students have the opportunity to visit either Rome or Krakow with the RE department, visiting the Vatican and Auschwitz. One student wrote of her experience to Poland:
“On the adventurous trip to Poland, led by the RE department, we were lucky enough to be able to visit Auschwitz. Although the time we spent there was incredibly moving and emotional, I feel that I learned a lot whilst I was there. The experience made me appreciate the reality of what Auschwitz was really like and even though we learn about Auschwitz and the concentration camps in school, it becomes real when you visit.
We were lucky enough to have a tour guide around the two camps – Auschwitz I and Auschwitz Birkenau. The thoughts going through my mind were horrific; only 75 years ago, there were adults and children being murdered for the most inexcusable reasons. We were able to go inside the different buildings and there were even some possessions of people that spent the last of their lives there; for example, in one building, there was a room filled with children’s shoes and another filled with suitcases from the arrival of people.
The day after we visited Auschwitz, we were able to meet a concentration camp survivor. Her experience was heart-breaking. After meeting her, I felt like I don’t appreciate what lifestyle I am fortunate to have as I now know what millions of people had to go through less than a hundred years ago.”
At Key Stage 5, students in the Sixth Form can visit the Catholic shrine of Lourdes in Southern France as part of the Birmingham Diocesan pilgrimage, serving those who are sick, elderly or disabled. During the year, students can fundraise to help support the costs of their pilgrimage.
There are also opportunities for students to attend retreats both in school and at Alton Castle/Soli House.