The founders of the Institute, amongst whom were several religious orders, intended the Institute to be firmly rooted in the inspiration of the Second Vatican Council. They considered the theological education of the laity as indispensable to the Church’s mission in the modern world. The Institute is faithful to this foundational principle.
At the time of ideologically driven social fragmentation, fuelled by fake news, environmental, political and other upheavals, religious hostility and fundamentalism, the Institute is committed to building bridges, fostering transformations and healing.
During this special 25th anniversary year several significant developments have taken place: the Religious Life Institute, directed by Dr Gemma Simmonds CJ, moved to the Institute; four new MAs (Contemporary Ethics; Contemporary Faith and Belief; Spirituality; Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy) have been introduced; two inter-disciplinary symposia on ‘pastoral discernment’ and ‘theology and spirituality of ageing’ as well as several intensive courses such as ‘Global Ethics’ and ‘Spirituality, Religion and Ethics in the Prison Service’ have taken place.
The latter was inspired by Bishop Alan Hopes and one of the prison chaplains in the Diocese, Antoinette Askin. The Institute aims to continue to develop theological training for prison chaplains.
Recently, Fr Luke Goymour presided at the Mass which marked the end of Silver Jubilee Year. Fr Luke also led a ceremony of mounting two special Silver Jubilee gifts: the olive wood carving from the Holy Land from Sr Bridget Tighe FMDM (the Institute’s first Principal, now Secretary General of Caritas Jerusalem) and Pope Francis’ Apostolic Blessing.
The New Year promises to be equally exciting. The Institute is currently recruiting for the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies – for more information please visit http://www.margaretbeaufort.cam.ac.uk/ccrs/
There are also still places on two Lent Term Thursday afternoon courses for Catholic women: ‘Theology of Pope Francis’, January 17 – February 7 and ‘From Jesus to Nicea: Judaism and Nascent Christianity’, February 14 – March 7. Please contact the Institute’s Administrator, Ela Wolbek, for details.
Other events such as retreats, talks and degree programmes (PhD, MPhil, Professional Doctorate in Practical Theology, the new MAs), open to men and women, are publicised on the Institute’s website http://www.margaretbeaufort.cam.ac.uk
While rejoicing in the 25 years of the Institute’s fruitful existence we are grateful for the support of so many in the Diocese and we look forward to welcome anyone who is interested in a spiritually formative theological education.