La Retraite Roman Catholic Girls' School

Catholic Life and Mission

Catholic Life

Oscar Romero Award awarded to La Retraite 

La Retraite has been awarded The Oscar Romero Award. This is for all the work we do as a school promoting Catholic Social Teaching, also showing how La Retraite demonstrates God's love in a tangible, creative and caring manner.                     

Giving Back Programme

The students and staff at La Retraite are enthusiastic fundraisers for charity and have raised funds for a range of charities including  Book Aid international, Trinity Hospice, CAFOD, the La Retraite Alumni Hardship Fund, Macmillan Cancer Support, Catholic Children's Society, the La Retraite Charitable Fund, Clapham Park Foodbank,  Camps International (Kenya Expedition)  and the Medaille Trust.

The fundraising events are great opportunities for students to work together, to develop leadership skills and, most importantly, to contribute to the community.


Mass + Services 

Year group masses and class masses happen throughout the year. Year group masses are held on Holy Days of Obligation.

Year 7 has a 'Welcome Mass' at the beginning of the year. The school's feast day mass is celebrated on the feast of the Sacred Heart at St. Bede’s Church with the whole Year 7 group in full attendance.

Online Masses

Walsingham – live mass at 12pm each day.

Pope Francis – live mass at 7am each morning, or watch recordings.

Lourdes – live TV from Grotto, masses and Rosary throughout the day.

The Catholic Church Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales – You can choose masses offered by different parishes.

In addition to the Masses, there are:

    • Harvest Festival services in the school Chapel
    • Advent services in the school Chapel
    • Carol Service at St. Bede's Church for staff, students and parents

Liturgical Calendar 2023/2024

Year Group Mass and other Liturgical Event Schedule for 2023-2024


Regular Events

Held during the week:

  • Friday morning mass - Taking place weekly 8:00-8:20am in the school Chapel.
  • Student Chaplaincy Group prayer - .meet fortnightly on Thursdays during am registration

Past & Present Events

Gallery of Events

Catholic Life and Mission


Year of the Word

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales have designated 2020 as 'The God who Speaks: A Year of the Word', to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Verbun Domini, Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Exhortation on 'The Word of the Lord'.

This year also marks  the 1600th anniversary of the death of St Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin. The Year of the Word is a time where we are invited to celebrate, live and share God's word.

At La Retraite, we are celebrating the Year of the Word by organising sessions for KS3 and KS4 throughout the year. Fr. Paul Kyne has delivered sessions in school, providing an overview of the Bible that included instructions on how to interpret the Bible in the Catholic Tradition, and focussed on a few passages within each section of the Bible.

Way of the Cross

During the season of Lent, students from Years 7 to 10 have a session in each class where they spend time reading a Bible passage, reflecting on it and participating in the Way of the Cross.

Trinity Hospice

Mr.Phil Cuthell gave a talk on the care given by the hospice and how the Hospice carries on with the Catholic teaching on Sanctity of Life. The Year 9 students were very enthusiastic We have also raised money in December 2019 and February 2020 for the Trinity Hospice.

Food and Toiletries Collection for the Clapham Park Foodbank

In the month of October 2019, we had the collection for the Clapham Park Foodbank (our local foodbank). The foodbank is a project founded by local churches and community groups, working together towards stopping hunger in local areas. We had generous donations from staff and students. 

Daily opportunities for prayer and reflection

Presently, the students and staff  are provided with daily reflection online. Click here to visit the 'Prayer & Reflection' section for a daily reflection from the school Chaplain. There are also daily prayers said during registration.

The students are also involved in some exciting activities such as gardening and knitting. Those who are involved in gardening are also Eco Ambassadors of the school and encourage others to keep the environment clean by  recycling and keeping the different areas litter free. Year 8 students have also set up a prayer group and they meet every Tuesdays during the second break.

Student Chaplains

The Student Chaplains have contributed a lot to the school Chaplaincy.

During the past  academic year, they had helped with the collection of food for the Clapham Park Foodbank. They have raised money for the Trinity Hospice by selling knitted Christmas trees, chocolates and cupcakes during the Christmas season. They have also been trained as altar servers and have served some masses. Before Easter, they were also involved in selling Easter eggs for the Trinity Hospice.

This year, in addition to the above activities, the Student Chaplains will also be visiting the local Foodbank and Trinity Hospice when it is safe to do so. They will also be involved in training other students to become altar servers.

This year, the Student Chaplains are invovled in gardening activities and thus fulfilling their role as good stewards of the earth. They are also involved in knitting Christmas trees  which will be sold later during the year to raise money for Trinity Hospice. The Student Chaplains are  also volunteering  to help others to learn knitting. The Student Chaplains also meet once in a week to pray.

Reflection and Prayer

Sacred Space – Providing prayers for every day

Praying Each Day – Selecting a particular date gives a different reading, prayer and reflections for that day.

Taize Community –  Visit the 'Prayer for Each Day' tab to access readings, prayers and reflections.

Mobile Apps

Pray as You Go – This app offers new prayer podcasts each day featuring reflections on the daily readings that are great for centring our focus during the drive to work or walk to class.

The Vatican News – Search for this on both Android and iOS stores. This app, otherwise known as the 'Pope App', is a great resource for checking in on current Vatican news.

Laudate – Search for this on both Android and iOS stores. This app has it all, from Liturgy of the Hours to the Order of the Mass to every prayer you’ve ever wanted to pray. It’s been given the title '#1 Catholic App' on iTunes for a reason!

Bible – Typing ‘bible’ into the App Store will generate hundreds of results. They’re worth exploring, but you can’t go wrong with the basic 'Bible' app. It will most likely be the first to come up and have the most reviews (as in roughly 1.14 million and growing). While it’s great to have a physical copy, the app can be an easy way to access Scripture on the go.

Prayer Card

Religious Education at La Retraite

As a Catholic school, religious education plays an important role in the development of our young people. We provide a range of opportunities for students to develop their religious education, across each of the key stages. 

Key Stage 3

At the heart of Key Stage 3, Religious Education is the person of Jesus Christ. At La Retraite Roman Catholic Girls’ School, we profess Christ as our Lord and Saviour of the world with confidence and clarity.  We do this in a spirit of openness and dialogue; we also deeply respect the rights of all members of the school community to hold their own beliefs.

We encourage all to engage as fully as possible with every aspect of school life, in the Religious Education curriculum as well as the worship and liturgy of the School. Within the School’s curriculum, Religious Education’s main purpose is to engage pupils in a systematic study of the mystery of Christ which we believe holds the fullness of the truth that God has revealed.  We do this providing the understanding of the Catholic Faith in a manner that embraces ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue with other world religions and non-religious views. The students are invited, in a spirit of great respect, to be openly critical and reflective when engaging with the material.

We use a variety of teaching methods, from modern role plays, to games and music, as well as the more traditional methods such as reading, essay writing, presentations, and intellectual debates and discussions.

We provide a range of Year 6 Transition activities so that students can get a head-start on their religious education prior to joining La Retraite, such as:

  • Using inspiration from the Pope's message to be "creative in times of confinement" to make creative work of their own.
  • Working with an artist to create a mural based on the style of Bridget Riley a famous South London artist which will be prominently displayed in our Chapel.
  • Using inspiration from the poetry of Amanda Gorman to create their own works of poetry on the topic of 'hope'.
  • Combining student work into a La Retraite poetry anthology, once funding has been secured.

Key Stage 4

GCSE Religious Studies allows students to develop their understanding of the fundamentals of their faith and its relevance in the world today.

It generates a greater degree of understanding of the Scriptures and Church Doctrine and ethics, whilst encouraging open-mindedness, moral reasoning, and the ability to empathise through a greater use of case-studies, discussion, and debate.  Students will also gain an understanding of another faith tradition.

They will be able to engage critically, looking at similarities and differences between Islam and Christianity, as well as other non-Christian perspectives.  Students complete exams in a Catholic Christian paper and an Islam paper.

Key Stage 5

At Key Stage 5, we provide a range of extra-curricular opportunities and activities to allows students to build on their religious education from the previous key stages, and develop our students into well-rounded, faithful and considerate young people.

These include:

  • Level 3 Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (ASDAN) – undertaken by all La Retraite 6 students, giving an extra 16 UCAS points.
  • Assemblies & workshops with a range of organisations, including:
  • Volunteering opportunities – all students undertake a regular volunteering placement in the local community as part of their ASDAN course.
  • CAFOD Young Leaders programme
  • Faith and charity – researching what makes a charity a success
  • Fundraising – Christmas fair, coffee mornings, tournaments
  • Working with others – scripture writing
  • Leadership in Faith discussions
  • CAFOD PSHE sessions covering the ongoing work of the CAFOD charity, and looking at environmental and global citizenship issues.
  • Pastoral form time – Gathering together as a community to explore our faith through presentations about a faith, charity, leadership experience or global topic of their choosing.
    • Activities and discussions led by form tutors linked to YOUCAT, the Catechism of the Catholic Church for adolescents and young people. The most important elements of the faith are summarised briefly and comprehensibly in a question-and-answer format.
  • Regular retreat days and Mass
  • Wellbeing afternoons allowing students space away from timetabled lessons to pause and reflect.

Spiritual Articles 

'The Ordinary War with Irritability' — Bobby Scott

'Miraculous power of the Rosary' - Dahla Louis

 'What Does Ongoing Sin Say About Me?' — Scott Hubbard

'When the Ground Gives Way' — Marshall Segal

'Love What Others Have The False Gospel of Covetousness' — Jon Bloom

'3 Life Lessons My Mom Taught Me at Her Life’s End' — Chris Bolinger

'Listening in the Silence' — Deacon McFadden

'Heavenly angels- Messengers of God' — Samuel Mill

'Make the Most of Holy Week' — David Mathis

'Do You Ever Think About Heaven?' — Samuel Mills

'We Cannot Cling to Bitterness and God' — Vaneetha Rendall

'Is Your Conscience Captive to God?' — R.C. Sproul

'Finding God’s Plan for Your Life' — Samuel Mills

'Learn to Listen' — Anne Peterson

'How to Exchange Satan's Guilt for God's Grace Every Time' — Mary Southerland

'Never stop looking up' — Juliana Elarde

'Goodbye Worries' — Ellen Hogarty

'Soul and the Purpose-Driven Generation' — Timothy Thomas

'Kingdom Imagination' — Leroy Barber

'Why, God, Why?' — Anne Graham

'Plan to Be Interrupted-Slow Love in a Busy World' — Scott Hubbard

'Wake Up! (Jesus Is Coming)' — Father Hugh Barbour

'Marvelous Miracle!' — Shalom Tidings

'Heaven is for Real' — Resham Thomas

'How to Keep Your Lamp Full' — Father Hugh Barbour

'Focusing on the Shepherd' — Kristin A.

'The Original Mary: Our Lady's Life Before the Annunciation' — Edward P. Sri

'Heal the World' — Mary Therese Emmons

'Pope Francis calls people of all religions to pray for end of pandemic' — Courtney Mares

'Never Alone' — Sherin Vincent

'Forgive-Always' — Father Hugh Barbour

'In Training' — Melanie Rigney

'Do you Trust?' — Jackie Perry

'Attitude is Altitude on Shalom Tidings' — Susan Uthup

'The Sacred Heart of Jesus: Fount of God's Love and Mercy' — Father Benedict Mayaki