Year 8 Alton Castle Retreat January 2024
We were delighted to take 42 students in year 8 on a Catholic retreat to Alton Castle, in the archdiocese of Birmingham this week. We spend two nights and three fun-filled days of exploration, meditation, reflection and prayer. Pupils had the opportunity to take part in many fascinating activities such as: archery, a low ropes adventure course, trekking, survival skills, crate staking and biking. All activities pushed the students out of their comfort zone and helped them bond with friends, both old and new. We were so fortunate to be visiting with St Martin’s, Nuneaton, another school in our CMAT and it was a joy to see our students working with them in an open and respectful way.
The retreat gave pupils the chance to spend some time reflecting on their faith, particularly focussing on the concept of being rooted and grounded in God. It was a great opportunity to also reflect on our new school mission statement #DeLisleLOVES- “rooted and grounded in love”, based on the scripture Ephesians 3:17. Each night, in our small groups, the students took part in evening prayer sessions in different rooms of the castle, lighting candles and taking time out from the day’s busy activities, to remember the important things in life. On our final night in the castle, the stay drew to a close with a beautiful Mass in their historic church, where students led us beautifully in prayers of the faithful, readings and altar serving. We closed our final evening with an energetic disco where all the students enjoyed social time together.
We asked our students to tell us what they thought of the trip, and the feedback couldn’t be better:
“One lesson I learnt is that I can overcome the big challenges that I thought would be very hard for me.” – Jakub 8F1
“I grew closer to God through meditation, small groups and Mass” – Hugh 8F1
“I learnt how to live like a Saint by being rooted in God’s love” – Eliza 8C2
“If you want to have fun this is the place for you, they are very caring for you!” – Flynn 8S1
A huge thank you to Anna and all the staff at Alton Castle for making us feel very welcome and for providing us with a fantastic, memorable experience.