In July 2017, five Notre Dame students and two staff headed off on a 27-hour coach journey to Lourdes to take part in the annual diocesan pilgrimage. The purpose of the pilgrimage was to work alongside an adult group of nurses and carers, known as the Leeds Hospitality Team, who accompany and assist sick pilgrims. This was an opportunity for students to understand the needs of people with long-term health issues and support them in an atmosphere of caring acceptance.
The students worked extremely hard, sometimes from 7am, assisting the pilgrims at mealtimes and accompanying them at events. They participated in every Catholic service the pilgrims attended, developing their own faith and spiritual awareness in the process.
The experience was authentic and inclusive: one of our Muslim students said, ‘I felt included and valued by all who were there.’
The pilgrims repeatedly complimented our students on their commitment and kindness.
Trip leader and teacher Pete Smith said, ‘The entire college community is extremely proud of our Lourdes students. They were always patient and put the pilgrims’ needs above their own without any complaint. It was a privilege to share this wonderful experience with them.’