Christ came "to serve not to be served"

(Matthew 25:40)

The partnership between St Michael’s Catholic High School and the Society of Our Lady of Lourdes started in 2009, when the school started supporting sick and assisted pilgrims travelling to Lourdes.

St michaels high school lourdesThe Lourdes experience in Year 10 has allowed over 225 students and staff with a unique opportunity to put their faith into action. It is a place where the sick and the dying, who are usually kept out of sight, are moved centre stage. Alienation and loneliness are replaced with an intense solidarity.

Lourdes is a stark reminder that no-one should be written off: not the elderly, the sick nor the less gifted. All are endowed with dignity and qualities proper to a human being. In Lourdes the dignity of every human  is respected and valued and a true sense of community is established.

Life is an extraordinary adventure, a God-given gift to be cherished, treasured and protected. People have found that Lourdes profoundly touches and inspires them through the witness of sick pilgrims.

Our students are involved in looking after the needs of the sick and infirm, working alongside doctors and nurses and carers with the Society, taking the pilgrims around in wheelchairs, entertaining them, accompanying them to liturgies.  In recent years the school have been active in leading liturgies. The now familiar “Green hoodies” add great colour to the services and events of the week. Many students and staff return with their life changed for the better, bringing the lessons of Lourdes into the school community. Many students choose to return as helpers with the Society such is the impact of the week.


Over the May half term, a group of year 10 and 12 students took part in our annual trip to Lourdes with the Society of Our Lady of Lourdes. The students and staff had a week devoted to the service of the sick and elderly working alongside two other youth groups and developing relationships with other workers and pilgrims, both National and international. 

They started with a very early flight on Saturday, meeting at school at 2:15am and began a week packed with events providing the opportunity to help others, develop their faith and make lifelong memories. Despite the early mornings, long days and late nights, all worked tirelessly and gave their all for the entire week.

A massive thank you to all our ex-students, pilgrims, helpers and staff who accompanied us on pilgrimage this year. It was an exceptional week- we are humbled and extraordinarily proud of the efforts made by our students and all who went. 

Testimonial from past pupil, Ollie Dunne: 

Past Pupil Ollie Dunne - My return to Lourdes experience

Four years ago, I was a year 10 St Michael’s student who was at a bit of a crossroads in terms of school and home life. I wasn’t headed down the best path. I was given the opportunity to go to Lourdes by the school, and needless to say I was hesitant. But I did it. I gave up my half term, and just did it. As we landed, I was immediately hit with a feeling. An indescribable feeling. There is something special about that place, and about that pilgrimage. In all honesty I can thank that trip for the path that I am now on. It put things completely into perspective for me, the bigger picture of life. Talking to people. Caring for the sick members of our society. Just smiling and asking people how they are. Four years later, I returned. The 2023 pilgrimage was every bit as good as the 2019 pilgrimage. I met new people and rekindled old friendships. The weather was beautiful, the place itself even more so. It is the best place I’ve ever been to. We were lucky enough to have my Dad & Sister out there with us this year, and they said the same thing. It’s Heaven on Earth. Whatever your situation, it’s worth going. Thank you to the greens, teachers and all other helpers and pilgrims for making this another special week. God willing we will do it all over again next year.

Testimonial from The Society of Our Lady of Lourdes: 

 St Michael's students are integral part of  lourdes. 
Their work accelerates the building of relationships, and of confidence – for they are working outside the familiar bubble of school and geography and is itself preparation for university and their working life. 
Whatever they believe about Lourdes, what they are gaining are life skills – and we know from feedback from over a quarter of a century that they overwhelmingly remember their visit to Lourdes with St Michaels as part of the SOLL pilgrimage. 
Bernadette’s life seems very remote from today. Yet she was an Influencer – but with a difference – she did what she did not because of money, or fame – she was uncomfortable with that – but because she believed in what she was doing: putting others first, caring for those disadvantaged by position or health, and she had the courage to call it out against the prevailing group-think. These qualities seem very prescient now, in the 21st Century. 
St Michaels and the rock of Massabielle in which the apparitions occurred are 800 miles apart, yet the footsteps of a girl a year younger than the students are much closer through their work during the week on pilgrimage we encourage them to grow as young ADULTS.   
the staff at St Michaels return year after year – giving up time with their own families during their half term holiday.  
 We want to expand our pilgrimage: we seek parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts with health concerns to join us next year that you know who may benefit from the unique mix of care and companionship the pilgrimage offers as a means of coming to terms with their condition. We also really need nurses. 
The Society welcomes you as young people, we simply hope we are planting a seed. 
Please help us to sow more.