About Us    

Our Spirit

Our History


Take time for ...

Join Us

Contact Us




Language Alive! 4th – 18th July 2005

This project, led by La Retraite Sisters, Moira McDowall and Eleanor O’Brien took place at Emmaus House, Bristol. It was an opportunity for European Religious between the ages of 30 & 45 to progress in English language within the context of a local culture.

In addition to language teaching in small groups, there were daily cultural experiences and visits relating to the areas of health, education, the Church, ecumenism and spirituality, the media and intercultural life.

Language Alive 2005 according to the participants!

Language Alive has been a rich experience for me because it has given me the possibility of learning English by means of different activities: lessons, group relationships, short and long excursions...It has also been hard work for me but I’m happy with the experience. Thank you very much to all who made this possible God Bless! Neus Artache, Spain

When I found the Language Alive course I thought that it could be a good way to improve my English and to meet young people from different religious orders. Now at the end of this course, I can say that I was wrong. Language Alive has been much more than a meeting or an English course. It has been an experience of understanding other cultures as well as sharing our lives and our faith in the daily immersion of ourselves in the English context. Language Alive has also been a profound experience for me: I was touched by the sharing of our lives in all the situations that I was able to live here: this was a great gift from God to me. Thank You! Merche Berbel Vilchez, Spain

For me the days of Language Alive have been days of sharing, communication, welcoming other people and immersing myself in a culture that is very different from mine. In this experience I have been opened to different realities where I accessed the interfaith conversation, the awareness of our own faith and where we can make a better world filled with the values that develop a good human being. I take home with me something of the experiences and resources as well all that we have lived in the schools we visited, the conversations and above all I have changed my opinion of English culture! Cristina Botana, Spain

It is my first visit to England. This immersion in the English language and its environment were hard at first. Although I had studied some English in school I didn’t really understand anything when I arrived here; and I was afraid. It has been for me an invitation to ´let go and be myself in confidence and humility! ´The first week was an experience in listening to the English language. I have been surprised that even if I couldn’t understand everything in detail, I could understand something and follow the discussions. In the second week the challenge has been to try and speak English. For that, the kindness of the group and of the "teachers" has been a big help in taking the risk of expressing myself in my "poor English". The desire to meet and share with the others has also motivated me. Now my English is not perfect, but in these two weeks I have had the experience of listening to and speaking in English without being afraid. It’s been a very good and important experience for me in order to continue studying English with more confidence. Thanks, Language Alive! Sylvie Beaumont, France

I found the "Language Alive" course very helpful. I have been speaking in English, but immersing myself in the English culture grounds my spoken language in its culture: Know the language and you will know the people! Immersion in daily English life and its concerns awakens the desire for involvement since its concerns are human concerns. Through this desire to engage with people one will speak English - this practice enriches your vocabulary and language skills. It is so apt to call the course "Language Alive" with its combination of lectures and immersion. Noel OMI Philippines

Language Alive was a great idea. The sisters of La Retraite are very welcoming. The group of students was brilliant. I learned a lot. The teachers are very good. Emmaus House is very nice. I liked the food: it is the best! The activities were very interesting and helpful in order to get to know the social reality of Bristol. I’m very happy! Thank you my friends! Bye Bye! Merche Manera, Spain

"Two weeks in Emmaus House" When I booked into the Language Alive English course in Emmaus House I didn’t know exactly what I was going to find there; would this course be suitable for me? In fact I found a very kind and professional teaching team composed of four sisters of La Retraite. They were keen to help us in whatever way we needed. I also found a group of young religious from different countries. It has been a pleasure to live together for these two weeks. These days in Emmaus House have a been a time of learning English, a time of sharing our feelings and lives and also a time for praying. This experience has been worthwhile: a time to be remembered and perhaps repeated if possible. Angel Pons OSB, Spain

"Language Alive - Man Alive!" Sitting in an assembly hall in Easton Primary School, Bristol, and singing English folk songs together with lots of children from at least 15 different nations, I felt definitively inserted in a world I had never been in before. This experience is, in my view, characteristic of Language Alive, which is much more than learning grammar, filling in gap exercises or work folders and extending your vocabulary (which, nevertheless, it is as well!) .Above all it was, for me, a change of perspective on British Society which showed me a lot of cheerful kindness and warm hospitality beyond confessional and social boundaries.In a nutshell, Come to Language Alive and you’ll see the world differently! Tobias Speck SJ, Germany

Emmaus House When I decided to do this English Course in Emmaus House I didn’t know why I immediately thought of the story of the Road to Emmaus. Maybe because I love this story and in it there is a very important sentence for me: "their eyes were opened." I arrived in Bristol and I had a similar experience: I leave this experience with my heart and mind opened by the method of teaching. How the teaching staff gave us confidence and how the community took care of each of us during the two weeks! The program was very rich. I can now say that I can speak this beautiful language easily thanks to this group. The group animating the course had great success in removing my fears and blockages - now I can explain my feelings and opinions easily in English. This is my first time in England and I find myself at ease with the English. I would like to thank the teachers and the Emmaus community for this happy experience. Magid Yousif OP, Iraq