The first half of the Lent Term 2023 has seen community life at St Augustine’s Priory at its best. From retreats to visits to Paris and our Feast Day, we have joined together to celebrate and commemorate.
- Community and Faith Life: Feast Day.
The annual St Augustine’s Priory Feast Day was celebrated on Wednesday 8th February 2023. Beginning with the ‘Wishing’ where the Head Girl and House Captains gave excellent speeches and told of the charities each House is supporting. This year the charities are The Down’s Syndrome Association, the Cavell Nurses’ Trust, the Malala Fund and the Samaritans, four excellent charities which deserve support. Following this was the presentation of the Catherine Aylward Award to Bernadette in Year 7 and Tiger Rose in Year 5. The Catherine Aylward Award is dedicated to the memory of a past pupil who died in 1975 aged only 15. It is awarded each year to those who are all they can be – it is a great honour to receive this award and the badge can be worn with pride by all those who are recipients.
Following House Games (in which St Gabriel triumphed!), everyone gathered for Mass at Ealing Abbey, celebrated by Fr David Reilly. The theme was ‘Sustainability: listening to the voice of creation’ and the readings, from Genesis, Psalm 148 and chapters 1 – 18 of the Gospel of John emphasised this. Fr David in his homily asked us to take four things away from the readings: that God created all creation, that it is good, that He created us in His own image and likeness and that we are the stewards of creation. Our Prep choir and soloist Roza, the readers of scripture and bidding prayers, the members of the Offertory Procession and Altar Servers – all combined to make this a beautiful and moving Mass, fitting for Feast Day. At the end of Mass we all dispersed to enjoy an afternoon of rest and relaxation, a great way to end the day! The charity we supported at the Mass was HCPT, which offers pilgrimage holidays to Lourdes for disabled and disadvantaged people from around the UK and further afield.
- Year 8 visit Ste Marie de Neuilly.
The long-awaited visit to Ste Marie de Neuilly, Paris took place this year from 1st – 4th February. The school of Ste Marie occupies the building where our school was located from 1862 – 1911, when our community left Paris for England, and we have run a very successful exchange programme with the school for several years. Our Year 8 pupils met at St Augustine’s Priory early on 1st February and travelled to St Pancras station where they took the Eurostar to Paris, taking the metro from there to Ste Marie. They ate lunch with their penpals and their families and the Year 8s then spent the rest of the day and night with their host families.
On 2nd February our Year 8 pupils spent the day exploring Versailles, that most extraordinary of palaces. The evening and night were spent with host families and, on Friday 3rd February, our pupils spent the morning in lessons at Ste Marie. In the afternoon a river cruise in central Paris was enjoyed by all, and was followed by lunch and, most importantly, shopping. After a final night and morning with host families there was lunch at Ste Marie of café, chocolat chaud and crêpes! The Eurostar awaited Year 8 and on Saturday evening they arrived safely back in London after a wonderful stay in Paris. Thank you to everyone who made this exchange visit an experience to be remembered.
- What a Show!
Year 4 triumphed on Wednesday 1st February with their musical production, ‘The Pied Piper’. Parents gathered in the Hall where the girls’ energy, enthusiasm and ensemble work entertained everyone. This was a production that sparkled with wit, verve and general wonderfulness. ‘The Pied Piper’ was a real tribute to the talented performers in Year 4, their directors, Mrs Warren and Mrs Foley and Year 6 members, Romilly and Mirabelle, who excelled on sound and lights. Congratulations to all involved on an afternoon to remember!
- Paris: a wonderful art visit.
Dr Oikonomou, Head of Art, reports on a magical visit to Paris from 27th to 28th January, ‘Our Year 11, 12 and 13 Art students were privileged to visit the centre of Paris for two days to view the many wonderful artistic treasures on offer in this, one of the most beautiful of capital cities. During our visit, students visited the Centre Pompidou, the Musée D’Orsay and the Louvre. All students recorded their observations by taking photos and drawing the fantastic artwork of Contemporary, Modern, Impressionist and Classical artists. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the many different venues and were provided with tours and guidance from their Art teacher. Finally, students also visited the Cathedral of Notre Dame, under reconstruction following the fire of a few years ago, and the beautiful Sacré Coeur Basilica in Montmartre. This was such a valuable visit and one which has expanded all our students’ views of the world of art’.
- Community and Faith Life: Holocaust Memorial Day.
The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day, on Friday 27th January, was ‘Ordinary People’ and we marked the occasion at St Augustine’s Priory with two very moving events. Priory 6 led the Senior Assembly and one of these students, Daisy, gave witness to the impact the Holocaust had had on her family. Ordinary people, one side of her family escaped the Holocaust by travelling from Poland to England before World War II began and the other side of her family, in Northern Italy, aided a Jewish family who sought refuge. These were all ordinary people, caught up in the violence and uncertainty of the time.
Our Prep pupils held their Collective Worship in the Chapel and were led by our Pupil Chaplains. They learned about the lives of some, such as Anne Frank, Sir Nicholas Winton and St Maximilian Kolbe, who were all ordinary people but became extraordinary through their actions and words. The Pupil Chaplains then placed lighted candles in front of the altar, followed by a minute’s silence, in memory of all the Jewish people who lost their lives in the Holocaust. Each week, one of our Pupil Chaplains composes a prayer for the whole Prep school for their Collective Worship. In the Collective Worship on Holocaust Memorial Day, the following prayer was composed by Ava, Pupil Chaplain in Year 6: ‘Dear Lord, Help us to understand that only through accepting others, can we accept ourselves. Guide us to the light of a world free from persecution, a world where no-one fears to be themselves. Amen’
- Priory 6 at the Tyburn Convent and Year 11 at SPEC.
Mrs McDermott, Head of Faith Life, reports on visit of Priory 6 to the Tyburn Convent on Friday 20th January: ‘As part of their day at Tyburn Convent, the national shrine of the Martyrs’ of England and Wales, Priory 6 were given a tour and talk about the Martyrs’ crypt and learnt about the religious persecution of Catholics during the Reformation. The pupils also stopped at the site of the Tyburn tree, near Marble Arch, where Catholics were executed during this time. In addition, the students heard about the vocation of some of the nuns from the convent. Fr Thomas, who celebrates Mass at St Augustine’s Priory, came to celebrate Mass for Priory 6 at the Tyburn Convent and the students also took part in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.’ This was a day to be remembered, as it was a great privilege to be allowed to share in the life of the convent, even for one day.
In addition, to help them relax and refresh after their mock examinations, Year 11 held their residential retreat at SPEC (the Diocese of Westminster’s youth retreat centre in Pinner) on 19th and 20th January. Mrs McDermott, Head of Faith Life, continues: ‘The theme of the retreat was Firm Foundations. The main gospel text that the students focused on was the parable of the wise and foolish builders. The girls were asked to consider the foundations of their lives and how they can build on them to make them stronger.Categories: Faith Life Junior Nursery Prep Priory Post Senior Sixth Form The Association Uncategorised Whole School