The Spiritual Retreats are our newest feature to our day program. A collaboration has been offered in partnership with the Toronto Catholic District School Board and Peel District School Board. Each week approximately 100 high schools students throughout the city of Toronto and Mississauga visit St. Jude Academy of the Arts for a spiritual reflection, and learn about the importance of building a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. They learn about the importance and power they receive through sacraments, and the power of prayer. The day is spent with the individuals we serve at St. Jude’s who are intellectually and/or physically challenged.

The activities throughout the day include dance, inspirational testimonies of faith, visual arts, literacy, drama. The students collaborate with our participants through the arts and develop relationships and work one on one with the clients we serve. The spiritual retreats are offered to students grades 8 to 12. Along with our creative activities, the day includes a pizza lunch and ends with a Christian rock concert. The clients who participate at St. Jude’s are ecstatic about the new relationships they are forming, and are gaining social skills and interpersonal relationships with their increased exposure to the participating youth. Our clients act as mentors for the students who attend in that they open their hearts to all, and demonstrate sincerity and innocence of character, which benefits today’s youth in retaining the important message of just being you. Many of the students who attend St. Jude’s have come back and socialize with our clients on their schools professional development days due to the warmth and caring environment which they have experienced.

We are also accepting students who need to complete community hours as well as co-op students. During the summer, St.Jude’s continues to provide an inclusive environment in that a group of 10 youth come weekly from the United States to provide volunteer service through the Youth Works initiative, from the months of June through August. This program is a wonderful demonstration of St.Bernadette’s motto which is We Can live As One.

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Curriculum Covered in our Spiritual Retreats



Old Covenant – God & Israelites

  • How God came to let Himself be known to man
    • Abraham
    • Moses
    • Daniel
    • David
  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • The Holy Name of God *YHWH
  • The covenant between God & the Israelites (Old vs. New)

New Covenant – Jesus (Video: Mary of Nazareth)

  • Ten Commandments vs. The Beatitudes (ex. “Thou shall”… vs. “Blessed are”…)
  • Parables – what are they (Jesus uses metaphors to help us understand using examples, simple, people can understand)
  • Historical data about Jesus’ biographical





  • Friendship – Theme 12 in textbook
  • A Life of Generosity – Theme 14 in textbook


  • Golden Rule
  • Reciprocity (“Pay it Forward”)
  • Volunteering
  • Emptying of cup
  • Forgiveness
  • Grace: redemptive living, self surrender
  • Prayer – Confession = Trust
  • Also, refer saints prayer Ignatius of Loyola