OAKS Inset Day - Friday 23rd November

School will be closed to ALL students on Friday 23rd November.

Lourdes Trip - May 2013

During half-term staff and students from St Thomas Aquinas School joined the annual Birmingham Diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes. The theme of this year's pilgrimage was ‘Lourdes, a doorway of faith' and we were able to share our gift of faith with ill and disabled pilgrims by volunteering at the Accueil (hospital).

It was a humbling experience made even more special by three wonderful students - Katie Boot, Scarlett Darby and Hayley Hunter, who fully committed themselves so readily throughout the week to the service of others. The care and kindness they showed did not go unnoticed and all three girls are to be commended for their hard work and enthusiasm, especially as they were also trying to fit in essential revision for their AS exams. They are a credit to the school and themselves.

To add to the girls' achievements, Mr Smyllie and Mrs Devlin were both awarded with hospitality service medals by Bishop David McGough for their respective individual contribution at Lourdes over a period of five and three years.  It is difficult to put into words what an amazing experience Lourdes is but it certainly has left a lasting impression on both students and staff alike.

Mr Miastowski
Teacher of Religious Education



To sum my Lourdes experience up in a few words, they would have to be ‘eye opening', ‘touching' and ‘inspirational'. As we arrived in Lourdes on Sunday morning the sun was shining and we had a tour around the domain including the basilica, Accueil, grotto and baths. To say Lourdes is beautiful is an under-statement; it is probably one of the most perfect places I have ever had the opportunity to visit.

On Monday, Hayley, Scarlett and I visited the baths which was just an indescribable experience. When people said the water was cold they meant it; it was freezing but within two seconds of walking back up the stairs out of the bath you were bone dry - amazing!

Throughout the week, working in the Accueil proved to be a challenge and made me realise that things I moan about are nothing compared to what some people have to deal with everyday. During my shifts there, my tasks included transporting pilgrims to and from Mass in wheelchairs, sitting with them, just talking to them, and serving breakfast and lunch. But the job that touched me the most was having to feed two of the pilgrims who couldn't do anything for themselves or even talk. This really made me think about how lucky I am to be able to do the simple things in life like talk without any problems. I will never forget the pilgrims that I looked after throughout the week as they touched my heart in so many ways with their singing, life stories and beaming smiles.

On Wednesday we went on a day trip to Givanie which was picture perfect...until it started to snow. Mr Smyllie and I were stupid enough to walk in the freezing cold river. Never again! When we returned from Givanie we went to a concert which was put on by Jo Boyce. It was amazing to see all the young people on the pilgrimage from different schools and parishes coming together to enjoy her music and celebrate the week together.

My 'Lourdes Moment' would have to be on Friday morning leaving the hospital and saying goodbye to a pilgrim called Anthony who I had looked after throughout the week. His personality and smile will be the things I will never forget about him. The only way he could express his feelings was through facial expressions and the odd word but I always knew how he felt.

None of this would have been possible without the hard work from Mr Smyllie, Mrs Devlin, Mrs Ryan and Mr Miastowski so I would like to thank them for everything they have done this week. I am definitely hoping to return next year as this experience has made me realise so many things as well as deepening my faith.

Katie Boot (Martin-5C)




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