A fantastic time was had by all the pupils who recently took part in a three day residential retreat at Savio House in Bollington, Cheshire. The retreat enabled the Year 8 pupils to take time out from their busy lives to reflect upon themselves, their hopes and dreams and their relationships with those around them.
The school sees the retreat as an integral part of the life-long faith formation of young people. The students withdraw from the ordinary activities of the school for a period of time to be with God in prayer and reflection.
The trip is part-funded by the Saint Paul’s Parents, Teachers and Friends Association. Savio House is run by the Salesians of Don Bosco, a catholic religious congregation renowned for their youth work and family oriented approach. Schools come from all over the north of England, North Wales and the Midlands benefit from their retreats.
At Savio House, the young people join in fully as part of the community. They eat with the Savio team, socialise with them and spend the rest of their time together.
'Free time' is an important aspect of the retreat experience and some of the best work at Savio House is done on the football pitch, round the pool table or in a quiet moment over a cup of tea and a biscuit.
The pupils spent time focusing on spiritual matters with morning and night prayers each day, a celebration of the Eucharist and an opportunity for all to experience the forgiveness of God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
“The purpose of a retreat is for the pupils to leave their day to day world in order to come in closer contact with God, themselves and their community,” explained Mrs Jenny Mawn, Year 8 Progress Leader at Saint Paul’s. “The pupils enjoyed a very enriching time; the time away gave them the opportunity to evaluate what is important to them and to reflect on their roles in the school community and society.”
Mrs Mawn added “The days at Savio House are based around exciting and enjoyable activities which encourage the whole group to get involved and co-operate to solve problems and complete a variety of challenges. In addition, each activity includes a chance for reflection on the theme of the day.”
Miss Tina Wilkinson, Deputy Headteacher at Saint Paul’s, said: “The retreat experience contains a mixture of instruction, prayer, reflection, and free time and, whilst at Savio House, the pupils are given an opportunity to learn about themselves, about each other and about the role that Christ can play in their lives. The retreat gives them some important time for reflection and development and we notice the benefits including a greater maturity when the children return to school.”