The Chapel is a place of prayer at the heart of our school. Calm and quiet, it is an oasis in our busy environment. It is always available for students and staff to take some quiet time for prayer and reflection. The Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the Tabernacle, keeping Christ present among us. A statue of Our Lady of Willesden connects us with our local parish, the Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden, and to the ancient Catholic heritage of this country.
St. Claudine’s Retreat
St Claudine’s Retreat is our onsite retreat centre, opened by Cardinal Basil Hume in 1998. A well-resourced and comfortable space, it hosts retreat days, reflections and workshops and regular lunchtime groups.
Our chaplain, Mrs Sylvester-Charles, is full time and available to support both staff and students, practically, spiritually and emotionally. She leads the Chaplaincy team and coordinates the majority of our fundraising and charitable efforts during the school year. At a recent symposium, she shared her chaplaincy work in a paper entitled ‘Faith and Action - autobiographical narrative on being a Chaplain’.
The students chosen as Faith Leaders monitor the Catholic and Liturgical life of our school. They lead and support charity initiatives; help with the planning of mass; help with delivery of the Liturgy; support the values of St Claudine; lead on developing students’ religious literacy and work closely with the Chaplain.
'I had no idea that I would get this role, such a special role that’s been made this academic year. Students at our school grow closer to God through their faith by learning about Catholic doctrine in RE, attending mass weekly as a school and praying before lessons begin. Additionally, the faith of the students in the St Claudine's school is deepened during the liturgical seasons of the Church year with special activities, such as Stations of the Cross, Advent and Christmas celebrations. But what would this mean for me when I take up this role? Working as a steward of God and helping to bring about the awareness of Catholic Education at St Claudine's school. My favourite bible verse answers this question;
‘Now the Lord said to Abraham, “Go from your country and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”’ (Genesis 12:1-3)
This is an amazing promise of blessing for ‘all the families of the earth’, and it opens up the horizon of the global common good within which we are called to think and act. Abraham, like many leaders, faces a fundamental challenge to his faith: will he trust in God’s promise and leave his home for ever? For Abraham himself there is the promise that God will bless him and that he himself will be a blessing. The Christian leaders seek to add to the kingdom of God through the role that God has assigned them.
Charity has been a tremendous act of giving that our school is involved in; from fundraising for MacMillan Coffee morning, Lourdes pilgrimage that I attended this year, Wear it Pink Day and many more. Working alongside Ms. Sylvester-Charles, our Chaplain is a pleasure as I am able to put my knowledge in helping the younger year groups be more involved in charity work. Just like St. Claudine we all have a purpose and my purpose is to encourage more people to get involved in social work and volunteering and make the school well known.'