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Climate change is a global pressing issue. In this film we are looking into the Psychology behind what people are thinking in relation to Climate change. Caroline Hickman a climate psychology expert and Dr Liz Marks a clinical and research psychologist share their views on how climate change is affecting us psychologically and how we can manage our anxieties in relation to climate change.

Check out our other Climate Change films from the series:




Climate Change: Psychology

Caroline: Hi. So my name is Caroline Hickman. I'm a psychotherapist and a lot of the work I do is supporting people with climate change, anxiety and distress. Eco anxiety is the healthy response that we have when we see what's happening to the planet. There's nothing wrong with feeling this. In fact, if you feel eco anxiety, it's because you care. You should be proud that you care.


Liz:         Hi, I'm doctor Liz Marks. I'm a clinical and research psychologist. Eco and climate anxiety are the words used to describe the different thoughts and feelings that lots of people have about what's happening with climate change, and the damage that's being done to the natural world. Although the term is eco anxiety, most people feel lots of different feelings. They might feel scared and anxious, but they might also feel quite down or sad. They might feel angry, and they often feel overwhelmed. All of these feelings are very valid and very normal. In response to what's happening to the climate at the moment.


Caroline: We're gonna have lots of mixed feelings about this and they all make complete sense. Think of yourself as a bus. So on this bus, you want to have all of your feelings, your anger, your despair, your optimism, your sadness, your anxiety, your rage. But you also need your I want to save the planet person to have a seat on the bus. It just depends who's got hold of the steering wheel on any one particular day. Don't try and get rid of your anxiety. Let it be part of the bus, but don't let it get hold of the steering wheel all day, every day. It can have its turn at the steering wheel and then the personality, the bus conductor, the part of you that is conducting the orchestra with all these emotions says, okay, you, you've had your turn now we're going to have calm and contented driving the bus for a bit. You need all of these different parts of you to take their turn.


Liz:         When you're experiencing anxiety. Quite a lot of different things happen in your brain and body, and the main thing is that chemicals and hormones are released. These chemicals and hormones travel through the body and make changes that prepares the body for the fight or flight response. And what that means is, when we're facing a threat, the body needs to get ready to respond to the threat by fighting it, by pushing it away or by running away the flight. And that's why things happen in the body. Like your muscles tense, you breathe more quickly. Your blood is being pumped around the body by the heart more quickly, so the body's basically ready for action. Anxiety is a completely natural, healthy, and useful human response. Without anxiety, we wouldn't be able to respond to threats in our environment, and we wouldn't be able to keep ourselves safe from those threats.


Caroline: We need our anxiety because it helps us. It tells us when we should be scared of something. We need our anger because it's good to get angry when things are threatening you, or you need to say no to someone who's trying to push you around. If something's hurt us, we need to feel upset. But you don't want to stay upset for a week. You want to be upset, say you're upset, deal with those feelings and let the upset and just move on. And that gives us the emotional intelligence and the emotional resilience that we need. How do we get resilience? Not by everything going perfectly or smoothly. We develop emotional resilience by struggling with things, by getting things wrong, by sometimes failing. And then you get back up and then you try again, and then you get back up, and then you try again. Each time you get back up and try again, your resilience grows and you get stronger and you get more able to deal with the ups and downs and the ins and outs of life. And then you start to get to the point where you think, I can, I can find a way through this, I can deal with this.


Liz:         So if you are feeling anxious or sad or angry or any other feelings, that's completely natural and healthy. However, it can also be very painful and distressing and overwhelming, and it can sometimes feel like you maybe can't stop it from happening. So it's also really important to look for support or help and people you can talk to about it to help you through.


Caroline: One way to think about this is think about yourself sitting on a rock surrounded by water, and just imagine your emotions and your thoughts flowing in the water around you so you're not disconnected from them. You can see them. You can stick your toes in the water. You can see your feelings, think your thoughts, but don't throw yourself off your rock. Don't go and immerse yourself too much in them. And if you do, fall off the rock, get back on the rock and observe and think about your feelings and your thoughts. You can say to yourself, I have a body, but I am not my body. I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts. I have feelings, but I am not my feelings. You can both connect with them and identify with them, and then decide by so that you're not completely overwhelmed. If you feel anxiety, it is. Remember it is you who is feeling the anxiety. Don't become anxiety.


Liz:         Nature or being in nature can be a really positive thing for your mental health and well-being. There's loads and loads of evidence to show this, but don't take my word for it. Think about it yourself. Or go out into nature and see what happens to how you feel. Spending time with people who feel the same way can also be a really nice way of getting engaged with doing things that might give you a sense of being able to make a difference. People find that getting engaged in action, particularly in action with other people, is really, really good for helping them feel less overwhelmed by their eco anxiety. One of the things that's really helpful about it is it helps us to align what's important to us with what we're doing, and that's really good for our mental health and wellbeing. There are different types of action. There's the action that we can take as an individual. So for example, recycling more, cycling more and driving less and not flying so much. And perhaps we can convince people around us to do similar things. And then there's collective action or group action. And that's where we maybe join a group of people where sometimes we can make slightly bigger changes happen because there's more of us. But it's really important to to recognise that as an individual or even as somebody, as part of a collective or a group, there is only so much impact that we're going to have on climate change. So it's balancing that recognition that you can act on climate change and do what you want to do and do what you can do, but that ultimately it's not your responsibility or the responsibility of your group to solve climate change or to make the really big changes that the world needs to see. That responsibility lies with state authorities, with governments, with big business and powerful people. And sometimes the action that we need to take is getting them to see that it's their responsibility, not ours, as the individual.


Caroline: Any form of action, any form of activism is valuable. But remember, you want to balance up that external activism with internal activism. You also need to deal with how you feel as well as take action out there in the world. One of the difficulties is if you just focus on external action out there in the world and you feel that it's not enough and that other people are not doing enough, and yet you do more and more and more and it's still not enough is you can then just get overwhelmed or exhausted or what people call burnt out. So balance that up with having downtime. Take a night off, sit on the sofa, eat pizza, chill out with your friends, have time out and time off. As well as taking action. You are a person. You do not have to save the planet on your own. Working together, we can do something collectively and be more powerful. Your individual action is important, but you're also not personally responsible for all the problems on the planet. The thing about eco anxiety is it's not necessarily the same as other forms of mental health distress we wouldn't want to cure or fix or get rid of eco anxiety because it's an emotionally mentally healthy response. What we do need to do is understand it and make friends with it. We need to learn to work with it so that we're understanding that it's here for a reason. To motivate us to take action, to teach us to care, to help us build a better world for ourselves and our children and children all over the world. So the last thing I want to do is get rid of it. We really do need to understand that it's more of a moral upset and a moral injury than a mental illness. So the thing to do is acknowledge. Just recognize. Just tell yourself it's okay to feel a bit overwhelmed by this sometimes and take a step back. Take time out, take a break and just breathe and just relax and just know you're not the only one worrying about this. There's wonderful people all over the world lawyers, psychologists, teachers, educators, community activists, some politicians taking action on this. So you're part of that collective. You're not on your own.


Climate Change: Psychology

Video length - 09.52
Published date - May 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

Climate change is a global pressing issue. It affects everyone, irrespective of their religious beliefs. But in this film we are focusing on the viewpoints on the climate crisis from the Buddhist community. How does Buddhism tackle climate change and what are some of the steps they are taking help alleviate the problems we are facing.

Check out our other Climate Change films from the series:



Climate Change: Buddhism

Sean:       A Zen Buddhist is a tradition of Buddhism where there's a focus predominantly on meditation. The word Zen actually comes from a Sanskrit word, dhyana, and a Chinese word, chan, and it means meditation. So it's practicing Buddhism through meditation. Zen Buddhism Buddhism in general is not particularly a belief system. So Buddhism itself is kind of some guiding principles that are about people discovering their true nature. And the end result of that is to try and end suffering. So Buddha taught that life. Life is suffering. It contains suffering, old age, illness and death, and that there is a path through practice, through meditation, through how we live, whereby we can bring an end to the suffering we might experience. That doesn't mean that we won't die, but it means that we don't need to actually suffer. There is no distinction between it being the suffering of humans, or the suffering of plants, or the suffering of animals. As a practitioner of Zen Buddhism, my aim, as grand as it might seem, is to end the suffering of all beings. So you can't practice that without being concerned about nature.


David:     Basically, from a Buddhist point of view. Humans and nature are completely interdependent, but isn't very much about that. All things are interdependent with each other. So if we if we harm the natural world, we are harming ourselves. If we take care of the natural world, then we're taking care of ourselves. It's very simple. Of course, the Buddha, when he became enlightened, he was meditating underneath a tree. So he had great respect for trees. And actually, in a lot of Buddhist countries, there are Buddhist movements protecting trees and protecting rivers and things. It's always been very important in Buddhism. We follow Tibetan Buddhist traditions, Himalayan Buddhist tradition. It's a very, very fragile ecosystem there. So the people that are extremely environmentally conscious, and that's all part of, you know, the Buddhist practice.


Bell:        What I was saying earlier in my meditation to myself is nothing is anyone's and everyone is each other's. And I think that's a pretty spiritual way of looking at nature, I guess the oneness of it. That's what I'm trying to say. That there's no distinction between nature and you and you and nature and me and you and. Yeah, we've made distinctions and it's not very helpful.


Sean:       Buddhism and activism. There's been a lot written about it, so a term that resonates with me is Engaged Buddhism. So what can be a Buddhist and sit on a cushion and meditate and kind of hope that being a good person influences other people, and that will happen and it will ripple out. But then there is also a practice of saying, is that enough? Do you also need to get off the cushion and be visible and be a voice that stands up? So not taking life is one of the Buddhist precepts, but standing by while other life is taken isn't something that aligns with that either. So many Buddhists. Might struggle a bit. Finding the balance. There's a balance between doing something that is ultimately spiritual and something that's just very practical and worldly. But the two of them can't really be separated. My teacher's teacher describes Zen as a sword that cuts two into one. So this is about bringing the ordinary everyday world and the spiritual together and not seeing them as two separate things. So to be a good Zen Buddhist and a good Zen Buddhist teacher, which is what I try to be. You can't do that on your cushion alone. Do it on the cushion, and you do it out in the street and in the real world where people aren't, and certainly Extinction Rebellion Buddhists. It's a great family of people from all different Buddhist traditions who are aligned in that thinking that we must do more than just meditate at home.


Bell:        The overlap between climate activists and Buddhists. Big Venn diagram, big overlap there. I actually didn't know about the Extinction Rebellion Buddhist group until yesterday, and I have morphed over to it. And I've really enjoyed it. I found it really powerful because I automatically feel a connection to other bidders, even if I don't know them. There's a mutual understanding I feel at home. And to add on top of that, that everyone's here because they care about the climate. A lot of Buddhist ethics are about not doing harm, acting with deeds of loving kindness, being generous, being kind, being acting with integrity and authenticity. All of these things are the kind of things that everyone here is displaying, not just the Buddhists. I think Buddhists can bring something to climate activism that is needed. And I think that's this really beautiful way that we can display how we're channeling rage and anger into a peaceful and calm way of doing it.


David:     I think it's everybody's responsibility to look after the planet. We can't leave it to the government because the government is just a really projection of the mind of all the people. So if people are not being environmentally conscious, we're not going to get an environmentally conscious government. Um, we all depend on each other. We depend on the animals, we depend on the plants, we depend on the whole ecosystem. Um, and we can't there's nobody up there who's going to do it for us. So unless everybody takes responsibility, it's not going to happen.


Climate Change: Buddhism

Video length - 06.08
Published date - Apr 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

A short film following the experiences of two young women’s neurodivergence (Autism and ADHD) and the difficulties they encountered in the education system as they journeyed to understand themselves. This documentary highlights the issues surrounding diagnosis for women and girls in the UK and was created in partnership with the BFI during the BFI documentary residential 2024.

Not So Typical

Ruby: As a kid, I didn't really realise that I thought differently and I felt differently. I just felt like a bit of an outsider at times, and I felt like I didn't fully have control in how I was behaving and how I was feeling as much as other people did.

Eva: I had so many friendship issues in school. Um, primary school and secondary school specifically because I wasn't diagnosed, I ended up calling myself a nomad friend. I would move from group to group. I actually struggled really badly with bullying. That period of my life of just being like, I can't change who I am and you're bullying me for it. I got really upset.

Ruby:  I remember always feeling like I couldn't settle into a group in school. I got bullied quite badly through like year 7 to year 9 and that was all surrounding, like how I was like, and I never really fully understood it. But people were just always like, you're too much like you're too loud. You're too intense. If I didn't do my homework, it was because I was lazy or my attendance was really low because I couldn't be bothered to come into school kind of thing. Whereas there was actually like an issue that was going on that was just completely undetected. I was diagnosed with ADHD at 17 years old. I think when it came to getting my diagnosis, it took quite a long time. There's always waiting lists. I started looking into getting the diagnosis at around 15, and I didn't actually get my formal diagnosis and assessment until I was 17.

Eva: I was diagnosed with autism when I was 16, a month before my 17th birthday. My brother's diagnosis was the spurring point of mine. Girls are diagnosed later than boys, especially with autism and a lot of medical conditions. When they first did the research on the topic, they only did it on white boys. They only use them as their subject, and so their symptoms, in a way, are the ones that they look for.

Ruby:  I actually don't really know how I got through school with it being undetected by teachers, because I think, to be honest, like when I look back, I was quite textbook ADHD. I am someone that can't sit still. I've always been fidgety. There's a lot of issues with concentration. I've just felt very misunderstood at school and feel like when you're not made for the society that we live in, you are isolated within such a massive group of people and it can feel like so detrimental to like your mental health. When I think about it, it makes me feel really sorry for that girl, because at the time I was only like, you know, 14, 15 and when you feel like you don't fit into like society, like society was not built for you, you like, you have no other place to go.

Eva: Primary school. I used to cry in a corner when I was overwhelmed, and it was a corner because no one could come behind me. I was safe, no one could touch me. I was there, but it was a lot of almost loneliness. At secondary school I just hated the noise. It was always really loud and so I liked to sit outside, even if it was raining, because it's not noisy outside.

Ruby: When I actually got my diagnosis. I remember speaking to my mother was being like, it's crazy that that was never suggested to us. I got tested for bipolar, I got tested for all sorts of things, but they never even thought about it.

Eva: I find with a lot of people I've spoken to, they're like, oh, they said I had borderline personality disorder. They said I had bipolar. Um, and they get all these misdiagnoses because everything had been done for men. Why aren't we talking about something that half the population of the world goes through or will go through in their life?

Ruby: I think when it comes to women, there is a lot of issues when it comes to getting diagnosed because women's ADHD can manifest in such a different way. I think because women in general kind of have to put on a facade anyway. We're used to performing. That's constantly what I've been doing my whole life. When I was a child, I was always told I was bossy. So then I think I then internalised that and I was like, I can't be that because people don't like bossy women. So yeah, I definitely tried to be something I wasn't, but then that made it so that I was just struggling inside. Whereas now, like I viewed the world just completely differently after I got my diagnosis.

Eva: My diagnosis did empower me. It kind of gave me a reason, and with a reason I could go about doing the things I wanted to do. It definitely gave me freedom, and I feel like I found empowerment in the freedom.

Ruby: I'm so much healthier with my mind. I'll take up however much space I need.


Not So Typical

Video length - 06.03
Published date - Apr 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

This clip comes from the BBC series: Pilgrimage – The Road Through Portugal.

The Pilgrims reach the end of their long journey in the city of Fatima, one of the world’s largest Catholic pilgrimage sites. They go straight to the famous Sanctuary which was built and developed over nine decades on the field where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to three shepherd children. Dominating the square is the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, finished in 1953.

Su and Vicky visit the Chapel of the Apparitions, built on the very spot where the shepherd children said the Virgin Mary appeared. Here they are moved to see devout believers approach the chapel on their knees, praying for favours or fulfilling promises to the Virgin Mary.

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Pilgrimage Moments: Arriving at the Fatima Sanctuary


Rita:        We're here. Look, guys, this is it. Oh, no. It's all we've got here. We did it! Flipping heck!


Narrator: Once a small rural village, Fatima is now a thriving city. At its center is the famous sanctuary. Covering a huge area. The sanctuary was built and developed over nine decades on the field, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to the three shepherd children. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It's one of the world's largest Catholic pilgrimage sites. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary. Finished in 1953, dominates the square. And it's here. The pilgrims will join a crowd of tens of thousands for the candlelight procession tomorrow evening.


Rita:        Oh, this obviously takes thousands of people. Yeah.


Shane:     A big old gap. Oh.


Rita:        Well, I didn't know it'd be as big as this. It's magnificent. Look at it. Can you believe tomorrow night this is going to be chocker full of people? Yeah, I mean, this is really quite something else. Well done. Well done. We've done it. Well done.


Shane:     Good job.


Narrator: In the middle of the square in front of the basilica is the chapel of the apparitions. Originally a small wooden chapel built in 1919 on the spot where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared. It's now the heart and most sacred space of the sanctuary. As Sue and Vicki explore. Their attention is drawn by believers taking a path on their knees to the chapel, praying for a favour or to fulfill the promise to the Virgin Mary.


Rita:        I don't know how they managed it.


Vicky:     What are you saying Sue?


Rita:        That lady in the red, they're on their knees. And the guy there look because they're so devout. Oh, you're not being funny. The agony of it. No, no no no.


Vicky:     Can you see she's doing her rosary as she goes?


Rita:        Gordon Bennett, you'd be nearly dead, wouldn't you? The pain of it. And I suppose.


Vicky:     That's a part of it, you know, to show how dedicated they are. Their devotion.


Rita:        Yes, I think it's fantastic. This will live in the memory, seeing all these devout people walking on their knees. Whether you agree with it or not, it's quite, um, moving. Really?


Bobby:    It's a view, isn't it? That is a view. And the way the light is actually just shining on the basilica? Yeah. Absolutely gorgeous. The thing is.


Vicky:     It's it's like. I feel like it's more than just the visuals, but you could feel that there's something special here.


Pilgrimage Moments: Arriving at the Fatima Sanctuary

Video length - 03.33
Published date - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

This clip comes from the BBC series: Pilgrimage – The Road Through Portugal.

The Pilgrims visit the Carmelite convent where Lucia – one of the children who witnessed the miracle at Fatima – eventually lived as a nun until she died in 2005.

Bobby helps the Pilgrims to delve deeper into Sister Lucia’s story, and they meet Sister Anna Sophia, a Carmelite nun who had the privilege of knowing Sister Lucia in the final years of her life. She paints a vivid picture of Sister Lucia’s character, describing her as joyous, humble, and deeply humane.

However, Pentecostal Christian Shane finds it challenging to connect with Sister Anna Sophia’s account due to his belief that people should be free to pray directly to God without intermediary figures.

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Pilgrimage Moments: Visiting the convent of Sister Lucia

Bobby:    We love our hills now, don't we now. We do love a good hill.


Sue:         A hill and a good start.


Narrator: Sue, Vicky, Millie, Shane and Bobby are going to a convent with an extraordinary connection to the sanctuary at Fatima.


Bobby:    So I think direction wise we are heading. So going up there but there will be a reward. This is the convent that Sister Lucia joined.


Narrator: Sister Lucia was one of three shepherd children from Fatima, who in 1917 reported seeing apparitions of the Virgin Mary who told them to pray the Rosary to bring peace to the world and end the Great War. Lucia's cousins Francisco and Jacinta died of the Spanish flu aged only ten and nine. Lucia dedicated herself to a religious life. She became a nun in 1926 and lived at the convent in Coimbra until she died in her 90s.


Millie:     When did she pass away? I think 2005.


Bobby:    2005 on 15th February. It became a national day of mourning. Oh, really? Portugal, she's like a mega, mega star.


Vicky:      Is it still a convent with practicing nuns and that?


Bobby:    It is. Yeah.


Vicky:      This is amazing. I've actually ever met a nun. The closest I've got is I watched Sister Act. Oh, it's very nice.


Narrator: The pilgrims make their way up to the Saint Teresa convent, which was Sister Lucia's home for 57 years.


Sue:         Look at this. Oh, look at it.


Millie:     What's he looking at?


Sue:         But there's a really big statue of Lucia. Oh it's of Lucia.


Bobby:    Yeah, we can see she went up to 98, so she.


Vicky:      Did nearly 100. I tell you, she had a good innings.


Sue:         Are we allowed to go up and look?


Vicky:      Yeah, let's have a look. For some reason, I didn't picture her with glasses.


Sue:         Oh, wow. I could be her sister. Look.


Bobby:    Hello.


Sue:         You look. She looks lovely.


Millie:     Yeah.


Sue:         98. Fabulous.


Narrator: It's a cloistered Carmelite convent, which means the nuns have very little contact with the outside world. Hello. Once the pilgrims have been let in. Bobby, the only Catholic in the group, shares what he knows about the story.


Bobby:    Obviously, we have Lucia there. Yeah, after she joined the convent. Yeah. Dedicated her life to Virgin Mary. And then here we have a younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta, dressed in this sort of traditional Portuguese. Can you see what he's got in his hand? It looks like a crutch. I think it's a shepherd's stick.


Millie:     Mhm.


Sue:         No, they were the ones that died. Weren't they?


Bobby:    The cousins. Yes. It is sort of surreal to think our whole pilgrimage together, our journey, meeting all these people is all because of her and their cousins, their visions and how the story spread.


Sue:         But you know what I meant to ask you. Is there any documented evidence that they constantly were ridiculed by everybody else, saying they made it up? It's fantasy even.


Bobby:    Yeah. Even Lucia's mother.


Millie:     Yeah.


Bobby:    Um, beat her, saying rescind these visions that you had.


Millie:     But she didn't believe them. Yeah.


Bobby:    The mothers, they stopped making up these.


Sue:         Well, you see, it's so farfetched. It's like that term, you know. What about the fairies at the bottom of the garden?


Narrator: As Carmelites. The sisters can only speak two hours a day. But the pilgrims have been given special permission to meet a nun who knew Lucia during the last ten years of her life. Sister Ana Sofia. Hello.


Nun:        Welcome, welcome.


Millie:     I'm sorry for my ignorance, but what are the bars for?


Nun:        Yeah. Okay.


Sue:         Like us pilgrims when we're walking. No luxury, no nothing. Yes, it's the same.


Nun:        Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Bobby:    What was Sister Lucia like when you met her?


Bobby:    When Lucia had the apparitions as a child, Lucia's mother didn't believe and said, oh, Lucia tell everyone it didn't happen. What do you think about that?


Sue:         Yes that's true.


Vicky:      It's lovely to hear about from someone who actually met her. I feel like that's. Yeah, that's pretty impressive. You're amazing. Fantastic.


Sue:         Thank you. Thank you very much.


Nun:        Thank you. God bless you.


Sue:         Thank you very much.


Nun:        Have a nice travel.


Millie:     Yes, yes. God bless you.


Nun:        You pray for you. Thank you.


Sue:         Thank you so much. She was so good. That lady I mean terrific. I mean her answers and everything. She was.


Millie:     Really nice.


Narrator:  As a Pentecostal born again Christian sister Ana Sofia's account didn't resonate with Shane.


Shane:     The story was very interesting up until a point. Then it was like, I get what's going on here. I believe the, the, the intent is, is there, and the prayers and the praying for the people. And it's all very, very real. And they certainly believe it. But it's almost those prayers have no authority because they haven't a direct line to God. They're still going. They're still worshiping technically false idols, which is the only person meant to be worshiped as God himself. Not Mary, not Lucia, not Luke anything. The true route is direct to God, and anything that gets in the way is getting in your way.

Pilgrimage Moments: Visiting the convent of Sister Lucia

Video length - 07.01
Published date - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

This clip comes from the BBC series: Pilgrimage – The Road Through Portugal.

The Pilgrims continue their journey along the Northern Way, eager to delve deeper into the story of Fatima. Bobby enlightens the group by telling them about three shepherd children from the village of Fatima: 9-year-old Lucia and her younger cousins Francisco and Jacinta. On the 13th May 1917, they reported seeing a light descend from the sky and the appearance of the Virgin Mary, who told the children that to get to Heaven and to bring about world peace, they should pray the Rosary every day.

Over the next six months, the children reported seeing the Virgin Mary six times, including a final apparition on the 13th October, when they were promised a miracle. Word of the children’s visions spread rapidly, drawing a crowd of 70,000 people to witness what is now known as the Miracle of the Sun. It is said that the crowd saw the sun spinning in the sky, changing colour and size.

Fatima became a place of pilgrimage, and today it attracts over four million visitors a year.

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Pilgrimage Moments: The Story Of the Fatima Miracle

Narrator: As the pilgrims continue to follow the Northern Way, they are keen to know more about its origins and connection to the city of Fatima.


Vicky:     Does anyone actually know the story of Fatima? Bobby does. Bobby does.


Bobby:    Yeah. So there was a girl called Lucia who was nine, and her cousins, uh, Francisco and Jacinta, who aged seven and six. And they had, like, a divine experience on the 13th of May, 1917. A light came down and a lady appeared before them, um. And the lady, the lady, the Virgin Mary.


Vicky:     So the lady.


Bobby:    The the lady. And she said to them an instruction, if you want to get to heaven, you've got to pray the rosary every day over the course of the next six months, they saw together the Virgin Mary like six times.


Vicky:     And everybody believed them. Yeah.


Narrator: The three shepherd children from Fatima claimed the Virgin Mary told them to pray the Rosary, to bring peace to the world and end the Great War. The children also said she promised that on her final apparition on October 13th, they would witness a miracle. Word of the children's vision spread and a crowd of around 70,000 gathered in the village of Fatima. What happened that day is now known as the miracle of the sun. It was reported that the crowd saw the sun spinning in the sky, changing colour and size. Fatima soon became a place of pilgrimage. The Catholic Church recognises the apparitions as credible, but it's not something Catholics have to believe. Today, the sanctuary attracts over 4 million visitors a year.


Pilgrimage Moments: The story of the Fatima miracle

Video length - 02.33
Published date - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

This clip comes from the BBC series: Pilgrimage – The Road Through Portugal.

The pilgrimage concludes in the city of Fatima, where tens of thousands gather every year on the evening of the 12th October for the famous candlelit procession to celebrate the Miracle of the Sun.

Bobby – the only Catholic in the group – has been given the honour of helping to carry the statue of the Virgin Mary from the Chapel of the Apparitions to the steps of the basilica. It’s an emotional experience for everyone as candles are lit, and departed loved ones are remembered.

Bobby reflects on his experience, and shares that he has decided to actively explore his faith in the future. The Pilgrims celebrate the end of their pilgrimage and their time together.

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Pilgrimage Moments: The Candlelit Procession in Fatima

Bobby:    This is what we've been waiting, you know, the last two weeks. I know walking and old berges and meals and and blisters. This moment is all for this.


Vicky:     It is some view, though.


Bobby:    It is, isn't it? It is stunning, isn't it? Yeah. Really stunning. Every year.


Narrator: Over tens of thousands attend the famous candlelit procession to celebrate the miracle of the sun. It starts on the evening of October 12th and will carry on beyond midnight, along with a vigil, prayers and a mass.


Sue:        Hey, this is it, guys. We haven't got long to go.


Bobby:    Okay, I think the time has come. I'm gonna go.


Bobby:    Good luck. Wish me luck.


Rita:        I feel like you're, like, going off to, I don't know, like to graduate or something. Yeah.


Sue:        We'll be proud. We'll give you a great, big, fabulous loveliness. You're gonna smash it mate.


Bobby:    Oh thank you.


Rita:        Go on. Bob. So proud of you. Good luck Bobby. Yeah.


Rita         Enjoy it.


Narrator: Bobby is helping carry the statue of the Virgin Mary and is right at the front. They're taking the statue from the chapel of the apparitions to the steps of the basilica.


Vicky:     I feel like a proud parent and I know everything about that is so ridiculous. But he looks just so excited and so happy. And he's so. He is cute as a bunny in a bow tie, isn't he? So I'm just really thrilled to ribbons for him mate. That's what I am.


Sue:        All the mates that we've lost. Sadly, I feel a bit emotional. I am so.


Vicky:     Look. You looked amazing. You look great.


Bobby:    All this pilgrimage, I've learned that faith is something that can guide me and give me strength. This experience has been both life affirming and life transforming. I finally feel as if I've now taken this step to make faith something that I am choosing to actively explore and almost like metaphorically carrying the statue was almost. That was the moment where I took it on my shoulder and said, yes, I am actively choosing to put on this heavy weight and take one step forward at a time into the future. I've done it. We did it. Well done everybody.


Bobby:    364km.


Nabil:      Oh!


Sue:        Oh. It's tremendous. I can't believe it. It was a nice way to finish off. Yeah.


Pilgrimage Moments: The Candlelit Procession in Fatima

Video length - 03.48
Published date - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

This clip comes from the BBC series: Pilgrimage – The Road to the Scottish Isles.

At the end of Will’s first day on the Pilgrimage, he is invited to share his personal beliefs with the group after dinner. Will opens up about his journey away from church attendance after his grandfather’s death, and his own battle with non-Hodgkin’s blood cancer as a child. He fondly recalls the comforting prayers he received during his hospital stay, highlighting the role of faith during times of hardship.

The discussion moves on to experiences of faith, not only during life’s trials but also during moments of joy and contentment.

Monty challenges Laurence about his lack of faith, despite his remarkable knowledge of religion. Laurence defends his position, saying he is happy with his “mechanical universe”, but willing to take part in religious ceremonies for his own non-religious reasons.

Shazia also reflects on her upbringing as the only Muslim and person of colour in a Roman Catholic school.

Together, these conversations help the Pilgrims to deepen their respect for each other’s faiths and personal beliefs.

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Pilgrimage Moments: The Lack of Faith

Narrator:  Over dinner. The group are keen to learn more about their newest pilgrim.


Laurence: Will, you've been parachuted in to join us, and it's wonderful to have you here, but we have all declared where we stand in terms of our personal beliefs, our faiths. Which religious fence do you sit on?


Will:        I'm pretty much on the fence. When my grandad died, my mum moved away and then we never went to church or anything. It was like one extreme to the other.


Shazia:    If you were drowning, would you pray to God?


Will:        Probably. I've never been in that position. You know where I've literally been fighting for my life or anything like that, apart from when I was like seven years old. And it's different when you're at that age, isn't it? You don't really know what's going on.


Louisa:    What happened when you were seven years old?


Will:        Well, I had non-Hodgkin's blood cancer. I was in Great Ormond Street, so that's when I had people in coming in praying and stuff like that. It was kind of comforting to know that they were like, they cared so much for me, and I'd like that.


Shazia:    Did they work?


Will:        Well? Yeah, I'm still here. So I guess it's strange, isn't it? Like when you're in desperate need you. I think you do need a faith. Or you need something like a god like. Because without sounding too morbid. But when you're when someone your son's on death's door or something, you want to hope that they go somewhere or that it's not the end.


Shazia:    Yeah.


Louisa:    I've never been in a situation where I've had to pray to God for something negative. I have only ever like, thank you for what, you know.


Laurence: That's so powerful because so many people don't do that. When it goes well, they just take it for granted. Mhm.


Monty:    Yeah. But Lawrence, I wanted to ask you a question. Since you've been here, you've been very theoretical. Right. Whenever I'm speaking to you about faith it doesn't come from your heart. It doesn't, it comes from the mind.


Laurence: But I completely get that. You intellectualise everything.


Monty:    I do intellucatualise everything. It's all coming from the books. It's not coming from your personal experience and heart. When you had a successful time, did you ever pray to God? Did you ever say to God, thank you for that great deal or something like that?


Laurence: Uh, no.


Monty:    I think you can have a very great understanding of faith without having faith.


Laurence: Absolutely, absolutely.


Laurence: I think you can read as many books as you like, and I'm sure that Lawrence has read most of them, but he hasn't got faith.


Monty:    No, I think you have strong faith within you, but you just don't know it.


Laurence: Monty, Monty. But the thing is that, you know, as I said right from the outset, I'm really happy with my mechanical universe.


Louisa:    Tell me something. You christened your children. Yes. For the purpose that it would be easy for them to. Administratively much easier. Okay. You got married yourself in a church. I did, yes. You did. Why?


Laurence: You know, the the mise en scene of getting married, the, you know, the kind of the art direction of getting married for me had to happen in the church.


Nick:       I think your your Christianity really is sort of the English middle class is a prayer.


Laurence: It is rather.


Nick:       It's a social thing.


Laurence: It is. We know absolutely everybody in our village and we meet at church. I mean, not every Sunday.


Monty:    So why do you go to church?


Laurence: Because we are all there together.


Louisa:    We are all together.


Louisa:    A certain type of religion is, as I said.


Laurence: Community.


Laurence: It's community.


Monty:    I don't believe that. I believe you have inside you. You have strong faith. As we stripping away the hat, the scarf and everything.


Laurence: You can't lose the scarf.


Shazia:    What he says. He's really happy the way he is. And I think you.


Laurence: Need to watch out slightly. I mean, I'm so fond of you, but one of the big things that we've almost really, really, you know, decided on as a family now is that we all respect each other's faiths, but we're not evangelizing. No one is trying to sell their faith to anybody else, I think. So, I mean, I love you to death, but you're not going to find a faith in me.


Laurence: I think there's a difference. And I think Monty grew up with a distinct community, and so did you.


Shazia:    But the thing is, I went to a Roman Catholic school. I was the only Muslim in the whole school.


Laurence: But you stuck to the culture that you grew up.


Louisa:    Can I ask you something? Were you the only person of color?


Shazia:    Yeah.


Louisa:    So there was no Hindus? There was no. No, I was the only Muslim.


Shazia:    And I was the only brown girl in the whole school. And I had to go up every Friday and do mass, take Holy Communion. Did you feel different? Yeah.


Laurence: Did you feel different? Is it?


Shazia:    And the thing with me is I'm used to being an outsider. Yeah, yeah.


Laurence: Um. Well, welcome to the merry band.


Will:        Cheers, guys. Thanks for having me.


Laurence Very good. Well.


Pilgrimage Moments: The Lack of Faith

Video length - 05.02
Published date - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

This clip comes from the BBC series: Pilgrimage – The Road to the Scottish Isles.

The Pilgrims attend Vespers – a Catholic evening service at a Benedictine Abbey. Candles flicker and incense fills the air as the monks sing the liturgy in Latin.

Laurence and Nick are profoundly moved by the traditional service. Laurence describes it as beautiful, meditative and exactly what he had hoped to experience on the Pilgrimage. For Nick, the experience reminded him of services he had attended as a boy, and felt the Latin gave the worship a majesty and dignity that he admires.

But Will is disappointed. He thought the service was repetitive and it made him want to go to sleep.

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Pilgrimage Moments: Vespers

Narrator:  Eight services are celebrated at the Abbey every day. They're at the core of the monks daily lives. Almost every service is held in Latin, the common language of the Roman Catholic Church, using Gregorian chants, which originated in the Middle Ages. The pilgrims are invited to attend Vespers, the evening service.


Laurence:       I thought that was absolutely beautiful. I thought it was so movingly spiritual, really, really meditative. That was absolutely why I wanted so much to do this journey. That was exactly what I was hoping to experience.


Nick:       That service really was the first time that I'd been sort of moved on this pilgrimage. It was in Latin for me. That's what I was sort of used to, in a way, when I was a boy. And Latin just gave it the sort of majesty and the dignity that I admire so much, really.


Will:        It was just quite repetitive music. It was almost like I was going to fall asleep at some point, you know? I felt disappointed because there was no messages either, like if there was maybe prayers or something in between. It could have like maybe, you know, touched me in some way, if that makes sense. But I didn't I didn't get any of it, to be honest.


Pilgrimage Moments: Vespers

Video length - 03.09
Published date - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

This clip comes from the BBC series: Pilgrimage – The Road to the Scottish Isles.

The Pilgrims have just attended a Catholic service at a Benedictine Abbey which was conducted entirely in Latin. Scarlett initiates a lively – sometimes emotional – discussion with the Pilgrims about the language used in religious services.

Laurence, Nick and Shazia all enjoyed the service in Latin, but Scarlett and Will wanted to understand what was being said, and feel personally involved.

Laurence suggests that listening to the service in Latin engages a person’s intellect differently. This viewpoint provokes a reaction from Scarlett and Will, who highlight the importance of inclusivity in religious practises, regardless of educational background.

Eventually, they reach a resolution, exchange apologies and toast their appreciation of each other’s perspectives. The exchange highlights the diversity of spiritual journeys and religious views within the group, and the importance of listening.

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Pilgrimage Moments: Latin or English Worship?

Narrator: After vespers and over their baked potatoes, the pilgrims discuss whether to go to any of the other services.


Scarlett:  There's a service in the morning that's not in Latin, so it's in English. Oh, wow. So if anyone wants to go to that. So we've experienced the Latin one and then we can know what was being said.


Shazia:    Then there's also a service at 450 in the morning. And I think that's a once in a lifetime experience to it.


Shazia:    Laurence, are you going there at four? No, because I had such a perfect experience today. I don't want to do that again. I don't want to risk there being another experience that didn't actually work in the same way. Quite right.


Nick:       I enjoyed today enormously. It takes me back to the old days. That's a proper, dignified, majestic service.


Scarlett:  Do you feel like it's better being in Latin than in English? Yeah. Oh, yeah. Really?


Nick:       You don't have a great opera aren't in English who wants to understand in a way.


Shazia:    You don't need to understand it. It's just the feeling you get from it.


Nick:       Exactly.


Scarlett:  I sort of got, like, lost a little bit, you know, when it was happening. I love going to a service where I feel like I understand what's being said and sort of try and put it in a what's happening in my life and whether I can take anything from it. And. Yeah.


Will:       Yeah. Because the words mean the words mean a lot to me. I fell asleep halfway through it.


Shazia:    You were in a liminal state? Yeah, it's a meditation. It is a meditation. I'm not sure whether it has the same power when it is in English. You know, there was a barrier. Are you saying in English it's going to be less powerful? Well, you engage your intellectual. Well, I.


Scarlett:  Feel like it's up to the person, isn't it? Nobody can say it's more powerful being in Latin, because that isn't what church is about, and that isn't what religion and faith is about. It's individual as a person. And obviously I didn't go to fancy school. I can't speak Latin, but I can speak a little bit of English.


Shazia:    But we I mean, you know, none of us are following it in Latin.


Will:       I just don't get why there's like, such a like it's better that it's like that. It's like this and it's purer and that's.


Shazia:    No, no one's saying that. No, it's it's.


Will:       I did hear that a bit.


Shazia:    No, no, but it's you know, Nick finds it purer for him.


Louisa:    I think Nick was brought up with it all in Latin. So for him, that is how he. Oh, no.


Scarlett:  I don't think it was Nick that I think it was Lawrence's comment of that. It's more intellectual when something's Latin that sometimes. No, no, no, no, no and will find that really that's not what I said. Because, you know, just because we didn't go to a posh school, it doesn't mean that we don't or we don't understand things. It just means that we feel things a little bit different.


Shazia:    That's absolutely not what I said. I said, no, no, wait but I think, no, no, Monty, please. Right. What I said was, when you hear it and you can understand it, you engage your intellect. I didn't say it's more intellectual. I think it's absolutely all about everyone doing it their own way, for sure, and not judging other people's way of doing.


Shazia:    Listen, I'm Muslim, and I was terribly moved by this.


Shazia:    We're not. You know, I'm not saying that there is a better way or not, but.


Scarlett:  I was trying to.


Shazia:    Defend you are both Anglicans and this was a Catholic service. And Anglicanism is in English. That's the whole point of it.


Will:       I'm just surprised by your reaction.


Shazia:    But listen, I'm surprised your not at all backing down. You're not at all. I accept your opinion. I'm surprised you're not just a little understanding.


Shazia:    We're arguing over a little bit of language, which is, unfortunately, something that always happens with religion. Yeah. You know, there are a couple of words that that, you know, didn't, didn't land. Yeah. As far as the room went. And I apologise deeply for that because. Well, that's actually.


Scarlett:  Very much.


Louisa:    Appreciated.


Shazia:    You know, I am absolutely here to support everybody's religion and there's no judgment attached to it.


Nick:       Everybody's got to fight their own corner.


Shazia:    They do the best.


Nick:       Of their ability.


Scarlett:  I feel like we need to have a little toast before we got to bed. Just saw that we're all all right together. Cheers.


Monty:    Cheers. Cheers. Cheers, guys.


Scarlett: Oh, this is our first heated debate. I didn't realize the family now. Yeah, we've got a proper argument.


Shazia:    I can't wait for you to come to the mosque.


Shazia:    It's looking good. Looking good, isn't it?


Pilgrimage Moments: Latin or English Worship?

Video length - 04.36
Published date - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources