St. Gerald’s DLS College and The Irish Pilgrimage Trust
St. Gerald’s DLS College is honoured to work with The Irish Pilgrimage Trust. This charity enables young people to bring guests with special needs to Lourdes each year. It gives our students an opportunity to develop and gain a deeper understanding of the world around them.
Last year Ms Cathy Freely and Fr Mike Murphy organised the trip to Lourdes for eleven of our 5th year students and fifteen guests with special needs. We were based in Hosanna House which is situated in a picturesque village on the outskirts of Lourdes. The student’s role was to aid the guests’ main carer. This mainly involved playing games, talking and sometimes even dancing! The group formed strong and lifelong friendships that week. All the students noted how much they had gained from the experience, even if they were a little exhausted after all the early mornings!
Each year we raise money for the charity; in 2017 we raised an amazing €8,500. We are extremely grateful to all who aided us and to those who continue to support us every year.
This year, under the guidance of Ms Rice and Ms Burke, the school was involved with a charity called The Aurelia Trust It’s an Irish charity that works with orphaned or abandoned children in Romania, many of whom suffer from severe disabilities from institutional abuse and neglect. Ms Rice has been working for the charity for a number of years, and brought this extremely worthwhile initiative to the school, when she joined us in 2016.
Through the school year, a number of endeavours are organised to raise money, with Ms Burke’s Transition year students selling Christmas decorations as an example; every cent raised goes directly to the orphanage.
The year’s activities and fundraisers led to a group of students visiting the orphanage in March, where they were trained in manual handling, mindfulness, ICT, public speaking and film as they presented their projects at a conference in Romania.
Upon returning to school, the students spoke of the impact of the experience and how much they felt they took for granted in their everyday lives.