The Latin Mass Society

11-13 Macklin St, London. WC2B 5NH

Tel:020 7404 7284

Fax: 020 7831 5585


St Catherine's Trust - For Traditional Catholic Education

During last Summer three Menevia youngsters attended the St Catherine's Trust Summer School, here is what one of them, Louise Sharpling, wrote about her stay there:

My Stay at St Catherine's Trust Summer School, 2009

By Louise Sharpling

I first heard about the St Catherine’s Summer School during a welcome tea break at one of the Latin Masses at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Newcastle Emlyn. St Catherin’s Summer School is run by Dr Shaw who is also chairman of the Latin Mass Society.  Last year I went to Glasgow on a church summer school and I thoroughly enjoyed that experience. What would this summer school would be like! When my parents agreed that I could go, our parish priest, Father Jason, suggested that Sean, Seamus and myself should raise some money by organising table- top sales on the occasions of the Latin Masses. This turned out to be a very good idea because people always brought things to sell and did not go home empty handed either!  We were very excited to discover that some very generous people made extra donations to help send us all off to Ardingly!

After a while, the summer school handbook arrived from Dr Tennant and we were informed about the types of activities that would be included. I thought the handbook was very informative and I read every thing, including all the names of the teachers and what subjects they taught. Even the bits about behaviour and discipline had to be understood!  I had to choose which afternoon activity I would like so I chose tennis, anyone who did not select and activity had to go on a long country walk! My mind felt as though it was going to explode because I had so many questions that I wanted to ask: Would the teachers be strict or friendly? Would I get on well with the other students and would I make friends with them? Would I enjoy my stay at Ardingly College, would I like the food? How would I find the lessons? I still have so many more questions that are waiting for answers

  The big day finally arrived and following an extremely long drive from West Wales to Ardingly College, it turned out that I did not need to worry about a single thing. Let me say that Ardingly looks a little like Hogwarts from the outside but is very different on the inside. My room was very small and had to accommodate three girls (and for three nights there were four of us!) Mum said I had to be tidier than usual!!!

All of the other students were friendly and so were all the members of staff and Father Andrew Southwell. I was very impressed with the teachers’ knowledge of the Catholic faith but it was very easy to ask questions and it did not matter that I only knew a little Latin. The teachers answered any kind of question and were very approachable and made us laugh. This happened especially in the Chant lessons where some of us sounded like a choir of elephants rather than angels!

A typical day at Ardingly looked like this:

7:50- Breakfast                2:20- Activity/ Serving*                     
8:30- Rosary                    3:20- Activity
8:55- Fr Southwell           4:20- Tea
9:40- Dr Shaw                  4:55- Latin
10:20- Break                    5:40- Gregorian chant/ polyphony
10:35- Mr Forster            6:30- Dinner
11:20- Miss Marris          7:15- Talk/ Film/ Quiz/ Play 
12:05- Mass                     9:20- Compline (night prayers)
1:30- Lunch                     10:00- Curfew

*The boys had an hour of learning how to serve the Latin Mass.

So as you can see, if you prefer to lie in bed and do nothing for the holidays, then St Catherine’s is definitely not for you.

All of the lessons were interesting and most certainly attention grabbing. They included learning things like the seven sacraments, history of art, Latin and Gregorian chant, writing your name in Ancient Greek and history (in that lesson we learnt about the crusades!)

 I actually found history of art fascinating because of the pictures we were shown! One particular painting the teacher showed us consisted of the three archangels Rafael, Michael and Gabriel and also a young boy. When the teacher told us the basic meaning of the picture, I was amazed. She explained that the young boy went out to discover a cure for his father’s blindness. During his travels he was visited by the Archangel Rafael who asked the boy to complete some tasks in order to obtain the cure.  I would not have been able to think of the interpretation myself, unless I had done a lot of research on that particular painting! I was completely drawn to the picture because of the colours and the characters in the painting also!

Each day we all attended the Latin Mass. I am always really fascinated with the Latin Mass because it reminds me of how the Mass has been said for many generations.

At the beginning of the week the Rosary was said in English (I am happy to lead a decade like this because we say the Rosary on the way to Mass and take it in turns to lead). But, later on in the week we changed to Latin and  I don’t think that I would be brave enough to say it like this! I really do have to learn the Hail Mary, the Our Father and the Glory Be by heart in Latin (without the aid of a sheet). This is my challenge for this year so that I can lead a decade of the Rosary in Latin. I would think of this as a great achievement.
 That one week at Ardingly College was just fantastic and I loved every minute/ second of it (I actually wish it was longer than a week because I had found it went so fast!). I have had many wonderful experiences at the St Catherine’s Summer School and I  can now follow a complete Latin Mass without making any errors like I used to do (I am quite pleased about that!). Also, before going to St Catherine’s,  I did not have the confidence to sing the chants loudly, because I was fearful of making mistakes and not singing  the right notes. Now I have gained in confidence and the fear I had has now completely vanished! I enjoyed learning how to sing the Credo, Asperges and the Salve Regina and I am pleased that I can now sing along with the other people in the congregation and also the choir!

I  really enjoyed the Latin classes and I felt that I had learnt things that I did not know before, e.g. panis- bread, regnum- kingdom and mater- mother! Through out the week, I have had many wonderful lessons and learnt many new things, but my absolute favourite lesson has to have been learning about the nine choirs of angels! The teacher, who had taught us, explained everything in great detail and made sure we knew what he was talking about. He even gave us little miraculous medals to keep for our selves and some to give to family and friends! I will certainly remember all that I have learnt in this past week and if I go back next year, I will be able to answer questions that the teachers have asked us! The summer school teachers made the lessons much more exciting than ordinary school classes!

 I’ve made lots of new friends and learnt things that I probably would not learn at school! If I was given the opportunity to go to St Catherine’s again, I would definitely go because I loved my time at Ardingly College!

 I would also recommend it to any young person who is interested in learning about new things. It is a great way of meeting new people, learning new things that you may not learn at school (unless you go to a Catholic school) and facing new challenges just as I have done!


St Catherine's Trust

For Traditional Catholic Education

St Catherine's Trust

58 Thornton Road,

London SW12 0LF

Tel 07913 481014

Reg. charity No.1110417