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Soli House Reports

Soli House Retreat

Okay, so where do I start?

Soli House is one of the best trips I have been on in my life here at Tommies and I think those who didn’t go really missed out. “Soli House? That sounds boring,” they said. WRONG! Soli wasn’t just some kind of nunnery or monastery as certain people may have thought, it was spiritual, yes, but also social and quite personal too. We arrived in Soli to be greeted by a very dangerous and malevolent revolving door (which may have attacked me…) It started us on our journey to find ourselves and Christ. The Soli team were excellent at leading all the ice breakers and games, so much so that everyone had no choice but to join in the fun and Miss Madden I’m sure loved all the noise that we made when we had the song war the evening we were graced by her presence. Yet in everything we did we placed ourselves before the Lord and at dinner time we did this quite loudly in a football chant: “WE THANK YOU GOD, FOR ALL OUR FOOD, WE THANK YOU GOD FOR ALL OUR FOOD, FOR BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER, WE THANK YOU GOD FOR ALL OUR FOOD. AMEN!” while banging zealously on the tables. And that’s just the beginning of the crazy graces we were taught there.

‘Chosen’ was our theme for the retreat and it helped us look at ourselves and see that we aren’t just a coincidence but we all have purpose. ‘We all have a mission’ – John Henry Newman. God has given us a vocation, a job that he hasn’t given to anyone else as we are all unique. During Soli we spent time looking at our future selves and asking ourselves if we were on the right track to becoming these people, asking ourselves if we were allowing God to lead us rather than us trying to navigate a path we are unfamiliar with on our own. We also had a peaceful Mass on the Thursday in which everyone was so reverent and respectful. Attempting to follow the mime Emma had taught us to the ‘Bread of Life song’ just hours before (most of us just flailing our arms about trying to be graceful) was surprisingly quite beautiful.

I could say so much more but there is just too much to say. So many new friendships were made and that may have put people slightly out of their comfort zones, but we all found in giving each other a chance that we actually all get along. With Christ being the centre of our school community and our Soli family we managed to make this retreat one of the most memorable trips yet. A huge thank you to the school staff and Soli staff for putting up with us and our banter and I’m sure I don’t just speak for myself when I say that I have been changed, for good…

Louisa Osei
Teresa  House 4B

Soli House Retreat

From the 23rd to the 26th of June, a group of Year 10 students, including myself, when to the Soli House retreat. Soli House is located in the peaceful, beautiful village of Alton which made it the perfect place to experience God in a new way, learn more about our faith and strengthen our friendships.

Soli House was an amazing retreat. As a group we played many games and laughed along the way. We did outdoor activities such as archery, a countryside walk and an assault course that led to a water fight. One of my fondest memories was the girl vs. boy activity; we went against each other in a fierce song battle and a challenge, testing our knowledge of each other. We were also able to gather as a community for a beautiful Mass. From a Pitch Perfect movie night to competitions, every moment was a memory.

During the day we took part in various activities. We were split into groups so we could interact with people that we perhaps never spoke to at school. Personally, I enjoyed talking to new people outside our friendship groups. In these smaller groups, we prayed together, discussed bible teachings and had a lot of fun! The focus of our retreat was the fact we are chosen by God in special, unique ways. Through meditation and talking to each other we explored this theme and how it has affected our lives. Soli House has given many of us the chance to deepen our faiths and grow closer to God. It has been a great spiritual experience.From our first greeting, the Soli House team was friendly and welcoming. We appreciate all they have done for us. Many thanks go to Mr Gay, Mr Nolan and Mrs Ryan. A special thank you goes to Anne-Marie, our Lay Chaplain, who has organised this trip; without her, this trip wouldn’t have been possible! It was definitely an unforgettable trip with lots of memories!

Hanna Jegina
More House 4B

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