Retreats

Taking a step back from life to reflect and develop our faith is an essential part of being a Catholic school. Opportunities to engage in such activities are offered to all of our pupils through both internal and external retreats.

Alton Castle
The centre offers the children the opportunity of taking part in some really exciting outdoor activities whilst considering their spiritual impact too.

IMG_0867Our theme for the retreat was 'Who Am I?', and each fun activity gave the children a chance to reflect on the theme. The children took time to consider what they had achieved so far in their lives and reflected positively on where their life journey was going to take them.
The friendly staff led the children in night time activities after dinner which ranged from fun team games to meditations. 
Over the next two days, the children had the opportunity to take part in three activities each. Mountain Biking, Trekking, Survival, Adventure Course and Archery

 

IMG_2732Each night, the children took part in night prayer; rooms were set to be peaceful and calm, with candles burning and quiet music playing. All the children were involved and eager to take part praying for their own families, friends and concerns.
To end the trip, we all took part in a beautiful Mass which we had learnt new hymns for. The Mass was the culmination of a wonderful few days where everyone involved had been touched, in some way, by the events which took place at the castle. Our trip was a real success, and we are now putting our improved team work skills to use in school.

 

 


DSCI0318Savio House
Pupils really enjoyed a three day residential retreat at Savio House in Bollington, Cheshire. Here they were able to take time out from their busy lives to reflect upon themselves, their hopes and dreams and their relationships with those around them.
The retreat provides a break from the routine of everyday school activities, where the young people are given the opportunity to look deeply at their own lives and the nature of their own belief.  This is done through games, discussion, craft-activities, prayer and liturgy.


The Briars
Students from years 8 and 9 attended the residential trip to the Briars Retreat Centre in Crich, Derbyshire, for a three day retreat of prayer, reflection, and activities.
The theme of the retreat was ‘choices’, with the programme reflecting on the choices that they will have to make in the future, and the importance of making good decisions and how their choices can impact other people.

FullSizeRender_3Each morning was opened with Morning Prayer from one of the groups, and every evening was finished with a relaxing and serene Night Prayer to reflect on the day. On the last night of each retreat, the Briars Team treated us to a very energetic disco with much dancing and laughter from everyone, including the staff!
 A fun time was had by all and we look forward to taking next year’s group in 2018!
 

 


Taize
Our students joined 3000 other young people from all over the world who come to spend a week living in community with the Brothers of Taize.
The Taize community share a life of simplicity and prayer following the example of Brother Roger who founded the Community of Reconciliation in the years following World War II.
During the week students commit themselves to join in the community prayer three times a day when thousands of young people come to the chapel. Prayer is centred around the music and chants of Taize and silence, which was a new experience for many of our students and one which they found very special. They also take part in daily Bible study sessions which are led by one of the brothers. 
The students made an excellent job of overcoming the huge language and communication problems that they faced when trying to listen and respond to the opinions of students from across the world, but with lots of gestures and laughter they eventually managed to understand each other very well.
IMG_1285
Community work is the third strand of life at Taize and every person there is asked to help by taking on a job for the week. Our students served food, did the washing up for 3000 people and helped in the chapel. 
Taize is a very special and spiritual place that lives out the Gospel message. The entire experience certainly ‘touched' us and Taize was made richer by the contribution and witness of our students during their time there.

 

301Flame 
In the early hours of Saturday 7th March, 10 excited Cardinal Wiseman students, and 5 sleepy staff boarded a coach heading to Webley Arena to attend Flame 2 as part of the Archdiocese of Birmingham.  We were joined by 8,000 other young Catholics from all over England and Wales, to attend this day of talks, activities and music lead by two times Grammy winning Matt Redman.  The atmosphere of the day was really energetic and everyone was excited to be there. During the talks everyone was respectful and it was clear they were taking in all that was being said. The talks were inspiring and gave everyone a lot to think about. Throughout the day we were given challenges, games and bingo to play as a way of encouraging us to meet new people and make new friends. A great day was had by all and we are already hoping there will be a Flame 3!

“Flame has shown me how many young people have faith- This has given me the strength to be more faithful.”
Lucy (Yr 11 pupil)

“I enjoyed the music- it was active and gave me time to think about God. Flame has helped me grow closer to God and praise him more as I know he is always watching.  We should sing more Matt Redman songs in school!”
Jordan (Yr 11 pupil)

Internal Retreat Days
Students at Cardinal Wiseman stopped their lessons and all went on a whole school retreat! Organised by the school lay chaplains, each year group were treated to an individually designed retreat day, every one revolving around a specific theme. The themes were, “Understanding the Eucharist” ( year7), “Creation” (year8), “Who am I?” (year9), “Life choices” (year10) and “Who is God to me?” (year 11). Students were able to focus on their own spiritual development and in the process grow closer as a year group. The themes were carefully considered and the days were designed as a unique program for each year group aimed at their age, experiences of faith and their needs as a year.  Experiencing team building games, group prayer, meditation and reflection, each student was able to take a step back from their day to day lives and think about themselves and their own faith and life journeys.

01On the day, we were also extremely lucky to welcome seven seminarians from Oscott College to help us to enhance our day.  They were skilled and inspiring in helping to deliver sessions such as giving testimonies and acting as an interview panel to be questioned about faith by year 11. They were a massive hit with the students with many of them stating that the visit from the seminarians was their favourite part of the day as many felt that they could relate with them and their life stories. One seminarian said “It was a great day, it was so nice to spend time with the staff and students and to share in the liturgies.” Another said “The students were a joy to be with, they were willing to learn and I was happy to be there and answer the questions they asked.”

The day was a huge success with many students asking when they could do it all again. Joshua in year 8 said “I have really enjoyed the day, I overcame one of my biggest fears and spoke to new people.” A member of staff said “Students had time to reflect and consider things they wouldn’t have otherwise. A very thought provoking day with a lot for us to reflect upon from it.”