The twenty third annual school pilgrimage to Lourdes took place between Friday 4th July and Wednesday 9th July 2014. 30 students from year 7-13 travelled to Lourdes via Paris by executive coach enjoying full board accommodation at the Hotel Helgon.
On the outward journey to Lourdes, the group stopped in Paris for a few hours to experience the sights of this famous city and had a one hour cruise on the River Seine before continuing the journey to Lourdes.
Whilst in Lourdes, students took part in the torchlight procession, Stations of the Cross and visited the places associated with the Lourdes story and life of Bernadette. The village of Bartres was also visited where students had the opportunity to see the home of the Lague family which was the home of Bernadette whilst she experienced bouts of illness. Students also travelled on the Pic du Jer funicular railway to a height of 921 metres experiencing fantastic views of the town of Lourdes and outlying villages.
The group also visited in the Pyrenean Mountain Zoo which gave them an opportunity to see various animals in a natural habitat, the highlight being the brown bears who were natural entertainers and time spent in the kid goat enclosure which was extremely hands on although we did have to check bags on leaving the zoo to ensure that no one had tried to smuggle any of the goats out with them!
A full day trip to the Spanish town of San Sebastian saw the group spend a few hours on the beach as well as making the ascent of Mont Igeldo via funicular railway to enjoy a picnic, fun fair and facilities at the top.
On the final night the group visited the grotto, lit candles, said prayers and deposited the petitions that had been given to them by people back at home. The last night is always a special night and gives students the opportunity to think about and to inwardly thank those parents/carers/family members who have made their trip to Lourdes possible.
Inevitably on the return journey the question “can I put my name down for next year” is asked and details for the trip in July 2015 will be available from Mr. Postlethwaite by the end of September.