Lourdes Trip Summer 2016
Following the successful trip by some of our students to Lourdes this summer here is a reflection the students have written about their experience.
Year 10 Lourdes Reflection
Before we went to Lourdes, many of us were really quite nervous and not sure what to expect. Some of us thought it would be too holy, praying all the time. Some of us were worried because we weren’t going with our closest friends. We had no idea how to push wheelchairs or how we would get along with sick pilgrims. Would we be able to make a difference? Would we spend the whole time working and looking after people and not get anything out of it ourselves?
We had heard it would be life changing but we weren’t sure how that would be possible. Within a very short space of time we realised that our hesitations and fears were based on nothing. For each of us, in our different ways, Lourdes has been by far the most memorable and life changing thing we have ever done.
There are so many highlights and memories from our time in Lourdes. Not only have we grown as a school group and made friends with people in our own school community who we have never really spoken to, we also very quickly made lots of friends with people from different schools across our diocese. We had to remind ourselves when we came home that we were no longer in Lourdes. Lourdes is one of the friendliest and happiest places we have ever been to – you find yourself talking, smiling and laughing with complete strangers and it doesn’t feel awkward at all. It’s not quite the same back in Bradford saying hello to a complete stranger in the street! However, many of us are trying to bring the joy of Lourdes to Bradford by continuing to do this.
We certainly needn’t have worried about caring for and getting to know our pilgrims. Mrs Clarke and Mr O’Donnell helped us in the early days and we were grateful to them, but very quickly the best friendships were made with our pilgrims. We learnt so much about how important and fulfilling it is to serve those in need but more than anything we appreciated how much more the pilgrims gave to us than we could have ever given to them. Their faith and importance of it to them helped us to have more faith and believe in God more ourselves. The pilgrims taught us to appreciate what we have and to never take anything for granted. We loved going to meet them each day and seeing their smiling faces.
They made us laugh and taught us about how important it is to not judge someone on appearance. It was really special to know that everything we did, however small, was helping somebody in some way.
The most moving moment we shared with our pilgrims was at the Mass of Anointing; during this mass, we were able to be with our pilgrim as they received the sacrament. It made us realise the depth of their faith; that through the sacrament and coming to Lourdes, they would receive the grace of God and spiritual healing.
Whilst in Lourdes, we did go to Mass a lot and pray a lot; but these moments were highlights for us. They gave us time to reflect on our lives and through them we have grown in faith. It’s amazing to see all the different people from across the world coming together to celebrate mass. We loved singing and praying in different languages; it made us realise that our Catholic faith is something to be proud of and celebrated. Our faith is not something we should hide, but something that we should allow the whole world to see.
One of the best things we were part of was the torchlight procession. We actually loved praying the rosary; you could feel God and it’s the closest to heaven we think you could ever feel. Many of us were really anxious about going in the baths but Miss Brooks convinced us that it was really a once in a lifetime opportunity and she was not wrong. It was something that our whole group chose to experience. It’s hard to put into words and do justice to this experience, but it was a moment when we felt God’s love and came out feeling refreshed, renewed and reborn.
When you are given the chance to go to Lourdes, grab the opportunity with both hands. We have changed as people and have so many amazing memories. It will challenge you in so many ways, but it is the most rewarding and remarkable experience you can have.
We will never forget our time in Lourdes.
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