Instead of saying "This is Sparta !" (which is an overused title anyway), I decided to go one step further and say... THIS IS STONYHURST !

So. Ahem. ^_^ Remember I once wrote that I was anticipating my trip to Lancashire ? About 17 of us (from the University of Hertfordshire - I think it was 17, correct me if I'm wrong) went to the Faith Winter Conference in Stonyhurst College, Lancashire. When I first asked Damian about the place, he said that it felt like Hogwarts... but in a different way. The building is about 500 years old. That's enough to make jaws drop. The place is so huge, we can easily get lost.

The theme for this year's Faith Winter Conference is Prayer - and the thing about the Faith movement is that they combine logical (or scientific) observations and theology. So more often than not, they hit the nail directly on the head. The conference involves talks, discussion time and question time - and there's also time for mass, Reconciliation, meals and leisure. It's often during question time and discussion time that we ask how to defend our stance on the Catholic faith, as well as how to address the practical aspect - i.e. how to overcome the difficulties we face.

We spent approximately 48 hours in Stonyhurst : we came there on the afternoon of the 28th and left on the afternoon of the 30th.

I can only write my review in one sentence : 

Catechesis has never been better.

Alright, picture time !
Day 1

Our arrival at Stonyhurst. I came in one car with Tilly, Emily and Catherine.


The dining room. ^_^

The crest above the stage in the conference hall. The motto of Stonyhurst College is Quant je puis, which is French for "All that I can".

Going down the stairs from the conference hall. I believe these are the same stairs that lead to the Higher Line Girls' House - where many of the girls stayed.

The moment Emily saw Bishop Davies outside the dining hall, she rushed to take a photo with him. And there you have it: Emily and His Grace.

This is the Do Room, where the history of Stonyhurst College and the stories of a number of alumni are displayed.

A picture taken in the conference hall, just before the introductory talk was about to begin.

The little pack I got at the reception, with the agenda, list of names, dates and my room number.

The shrine of Mother Mary and the Infant Jesus outside the chapel.

The bathrooms. ARE. LUXURIOUS. They're small, no doubt, because they're for kids, but seriously..... WOW.

Emily and me in Room 23 (that was my room, by the way). Room 23 is twice the size of my room in Chapman Hall !

The corridor in the Higher Line Girls' House.

Our arrival at the Higher Line Girls' House was not without difficulty. The staircase was so long, we all got tired at the end of it all. I reckon some of us would have needed a lift !

Emily and Stephen during the social time at the makeshift bar. Now Stephen isn't one of the Hertfordshire gang ; he's one of the new friends I met during my time in Stonyhurst. He hails from Yorkshire.

What better picture to take during social time than a mixed crowd ? I recognise only four people : Emily and Sophie (back row, third and fourth from the left), me and Stacey (front).

Seems like almost all of us in the picture are Hertfordshire people ! ^_^ From left : Tony, Stuart, Stacey, Peter, Maryfrances, Emily, Catherine, Tilly, Michael and Emmanuel. The one with his back to the camera is Pascal. Maryfrances is from Glasgow.

A special pic for Stacey. ^_^

Day 2

Our first breakfast. I'm not sure what I had, but the hot chocolate was SUBLIME. It tasted like Cadbury. :D I was compelled to take a picture of it !

I think both these pictures were taken outside the chapel, if I remember correctly. Pascal and Emmanuel are in both ; Fr Mark and Peter are in the first, Michael and Sara are in the second.

The score book (or rather, file) containing the notes for the mass order. I was part of the choir on the second and third day. (Yes, troisnyx always ends up in the church choir ! ^_^' But it was great nonetheless !) Day 2 was the feast day of St Thomas Beckett (a.k.a. St Thomas of Canterbury). It was the first day I ever went up to an organ loft.

During our free time some new friends and I went touring Stonyhurst College by ourselves - well I stopped halfway, but the first place we visited was this museum-like room near the hall and the chapel. It contained everything - student works, the things used in the mass (I'm not sure what the collective name for these is)...

As for the third picture, I read the text (which turned out to be Latin for St Thomas of Canterbury) - and it immediately struck me. We started engaging in a conversation about St Thomas of Canterbury, King Henry VIII and all the other atrocities that happened within the time...

Now this really made me laugh. Yes, it used to be a fireplace... Fine, I know we can't leave fireplaces empty, but putting flowers in the fireplace.... ?

These crests adorn the windows near the staircase leading to the hall/chapel/museum. I reckon that these belong to the alumni or the teachers. Some crests (particularly those with tassels at the sides) belong to clergymen.

Whilst I was on that staircase, I came across a picture of HM Queen Elizabeth II - she visited Stonyhurst College in 1990.

I went into the hall (not the conference hall - it's a different one), and there was a grand piano in the corner. IT'S A STEINWAY ! XDDDD Well the one reason why I'd be concerned about the make is simply because Steinway's the best. Every sequencer I've come across - Logic, Mario Paint Composer - uses this. I reckon even Cubase uses it. I told myself back there, now I've come across the real Steinway - time to play !

Be Thou My Vision is a traditional Irish hymn, and well, Untitled... is a random work I did. I decided to record them for solo piano whilst I had the chance. And in HD, it's wonderful, I admit ! ^_^' Sarah, Michael, Emmanuel, Pascal and possibly a few others were present during my live version of the cover of Niamh Kavanagh - It's For You.

Posing by the piano. ^_^ In the background are Sarah, Emmanuel and Pascal.

The Christmas tree in the hall.

In the meantime, Peter, Catherine and several others paid a visit to the village near Stonyhurst. That's them on the way back, I think......

A general view of the hall.

I didn't take any pictures of the conferences, discussion and question time because I felt it wouldn't be proper.

That night, our social time included a Ceilidh (pronounced "kay-lee"), which is a Celtic dance gathering. When I first asked Stacey what it was, it was a bit awkward.

What is a say-lidh ?
You mean kay-lee ?
Oh. Oh ! Right !

The Ceilidh began late due to technical errors : plugging in speakers + getting the playlist ready. There were four dances in total (I think ?), and about ten rounds. I outdid myself in that Ceilidh that my legs are still hurting from it ! In the middle, when I got exhausted, I decided to take some pix and vids.


These pictures (well, I'm not sure about the last one) are for a dance called "Strip The Willow". Explanatory vids coming soon !

Me and Stephen. Stephen was my dance partner for the Ceilidh, and wow, the way he led me round the room !

Stacey and Dan.

You don't go for a Ceilidh. THE CEILIDH GOES FOR YOU ! :D

The pictures where people were joining hands were taken during the last dance, Auld Lang Syne.

If I remember correctly, Stacey, Tilly, Maryfrances, Stephen, Sarah and I participated in the Ceilidh. I'm not sure who else did, but many people stayed away from the dance floor. That's understandable, because IT WAS CROWDED. I'm not gonna say anything about the number of times I tripped on people, got stepped on, knocked into other couples...

Day 3

The last few pictures I took in the conference room. Tilly was the chairperson for all the conferences which took place during the three days.

Room 23 just before I left.

Mata ne, Stonyhurst. (In the foreground is Sophie ; she came with us on the way back.)

Dan... apparently doing Sir Cliff Richard... :P

Dining room pictures

Many of us felt it was the best place to take photos - simply because everyone was together. On the third day one of the organisers celebrated his birthday, and after mass, when it was time for lunch, we all sang Happy Birthday and gave him quite a great deal of applause ! ^_^ 

Author's notes :
  1. The Japanese title reads "Kore wa Sutoniihaasuto desu" and translates to "This is Stonyhurst".
  2. The author thanks Emily, Stacey and Catherine for taking some of the pictures.


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