A reflection from a student:

Lourdes 2017… how do you put something like that into words? An amazing, unforgettable and truly life-changing experience that I’m so thankful to have been given. I have spent the week surrounded by the most inspirational and incredible people from all around the world, and have had the pleasure of witnessing pure joy and happiness simply from taking part in the simplest and smallest of tasks, and that for me made Lourdes what it was. Just by simply standing there, singing and dancing around or being dressed in the most ridiculous of outfits throwing a children’s party, we managed to spread laughter and happiness to the faces of so many young children and adults, and seeing the pure joy coming from their faces has got to be one the best things you could ever witness. Knowing that you have helped to create that has got to be one of the best feelings in the world.

Lourdes is about accepting everyone regardless of who they are and where they come from, and seeing everyone come together at the HCPT Trust Mass from different backgrounds and faiths was a great reminder of this. Everyone there all had the same aim whether they were religious or not; to create an everlasting memory for everyone involved and make a difference, and that is what makes Lourdes special. Everything you do, no matter how insignificant it seems, helps to make the biggest of difference to someone else’s life, and that is what makes it all worthwhile. Just knowing that these people are still genuinely happy despite everything that life throws at them should be a reminder to us all that Jesus loves every one of us no matter what, and no matter how bad we think things are there is still good in every single thing and good can come from every situation – all we need is love. Love for each other and love for our faith, but most importantly love for ourselves because we all matter and count too.

Lourdes is one of those places that you can’t truly begin to understand unless you go there yourself – the magic of it all is something that everyone needs to experience for themselves. Even now I can’t begin to put into words the impact it has had on my life and the difference it has made, and even though summing it all up seems easy, it really isn’t. All I know is the experience of Lourdes has changed me as a person. From the friendships you make to the people you meet, Lourdes really does change lives. In everything I did I felt like I was being brought closer to God and this whole experience is definitely something that will impact my life forever. It taught me some of the biggest life lessons that I’ve ever learnt and gave me a whole new meaning to the word ‘friendship`, and I’m just so incredibly grateful for it all.