St Bernard’s Retreat and Work Weekend

The desire of the St. Bernard’s Community to develop their social justice programme led to a brainstorm to go on retreat to discuss how we could make this happen. We wanted to involve the students in a social justice action as well as the theory behind the action and then use this experience to be the platform by which we would shape our programme back at school.Group

Our Friday night started with a fish and chip meal in Featherston, as it was the liturgical season of Lent. As we ate we talked about why traditionally we give up things like meat on Fridays.

We spent Friday night at Nazareth and discussed the Catholic Social Justice Principles late into the night.Group around statue

On Saturday morning we had breakfast and got into our sponsored gears from Bunnings Warehouse Naenae and set to work. Our goal was to move and stack as much firewood as we possibly could! The crew machined this task, with the fastest loading time of a caged 8×4 trailer being 1 min 58 secs!Wood

Even when time was called, the boys were keen to keep going and so did another load to clear the last paddock.

After getting showered the boys were welcomed into Bethlehem to share in the community meal which was probably a new experience for most of the boys we brought. It was a chance for them to meet the community and fellowship! It was amazing and we even had dessert – made from fresh – not a packet! Yahoo! We went back to Nazareth to watch Entertaining Angels – The Story of Dorothy Day, who was a hands on advocate and tireless campaigner for those who nobody else cared about. This coincided with the 80th Anniversary of the Young Catholic Worker Movement.On A Trailer

On Sunday we gathered for a Eucharistic para-liturgy in the morning and spent some more time reading over different social justice publications we had brought with us, so our boys could see the breadth of social justice work in the Church.

Our discussions then turned to what were we going to do once we returned to school. What things we were going to put in place. The comment came from the boys themselves that once we do a retreat like this and have our eyes opened up, we don’t want to return to school as if nothing has happened! We want to do something and make things happen! Plans were made and things are underway as we speak.

As the teacher in charge of this event, I guess the moment of revelation about the Spirit really moving was generated when both the boys, and the community asked –when is the next one?!!

Nick Wilson
Assistant DRS
St. Bernard’s College








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