The Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology
As a lay Catholic Institute in the heart of Cambridge and part of the Cambridge Theological Federation, we resource lay people theologically both within and outside of the Catholic tradition. We provide specialist theological education and open learning opportunities for both individuals and groups.
We offer courses, study days, workshops, seminars and conferences that promote the study of theology, ethics, philosophy, pastoral practice, spirituality and theological reflection in dynamic ways that seek to meet and address twenty-first century global needs. In line with our foundational principles, we continue to promote the resourcing of women through a community life that is open to all. Through our teaching and learning we facilitate exchange with art, culture and social justice initiatives. We resource schools, parishes, hospitals, prisons and other institutions with expertise, training and pastoral support. Our theology engages with different professional and community-based (service) needs and perspectives. This is enriched and enabled by an interdisciplinary approach that is at the heart of our educational work. Many of our students gain qualifications from the University of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University (DTM, BA, MA, MPhil, PhD, DProf).
Under our Memorandum and Articles of Association, we have two governing bodies:
- The Board of Directors comprises the Trustees of the charity. They have responsibility for financial management, the appointment of the Principal and the overall running of the Institute. The Board meets six times a year.
- The Council of Members appoints the Directors and is responsible for ensuring the purposes of the Institute, including its Catholicity, are sustained. The Council meets three times a year.
The Board and Council meet together for the Annual General Meeting.
Board of Directors
Mrs Roberta Canning (Chair)
Fr David Bagstaff
Mr Mark Broadbent
Mrs Joanne Coward
Dr Claire Daunton
Professor Eilis Ferran
Dr Jennifer Schooling
Revd Dr Janet Tollington
The Co Principals and the Senior Administrator are in attendance.
Council of Members
Prof Janet Soskice (Chair)
Dr Anna Abram
Mr Paul Barber
Sr Jenny Dines CSA
Mrs Janet Lash
Revd Professor John Morrill
The Senior Administrator is the Company Secretary.
We are now 26 years old, still youthful enough to be laying down its foundations but old enough to have a story to tell. To find out how we grew from an idea into a thriving community, read more about our story. To find out more about our Silver Jubilee celebrations click here.
The Institute is named after Lady Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509), who has been described by the historian Dr David Starkey as the most powerful woman in England of her day.
Margaret Beaufort was a scholar, an astute manager of resources and a very significant philanthropist. As the richest woman in medieval England, she used her wealth to promote religion, learning and the education of clergy in particular.
She was mother to Henry Tudor, her only son from three marriages. He became King Henry VlI, and in 1485 she assumed the title of the King’s Mother.
Cambridge became the focus of much of her philanthropy through her confessor St John Fisher, who was Chancellor of the University. Working with Fisher she founded two Cambridge colleges, Christ’s and St John’s, and endowed the Lady Margaret’s Professorships of Divinity at Oxford and Cambridge, to which she appointed her friend and confessor.
Margaret herself translated and published one of the most widely read devotional texts of all time, the Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. She was a sponsor of the printer Caxton and was, therefore, a major supporter of the new media of her day.
Further information about Lady Margaret Beaufort
Jones, M & Underwood, M. The King’s Mother, CUP 1992
As the Diocesan Centre for the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies, we welcome groups of teachers and catechists for training and discussion through the year, especially for those with little background in Catholic theology.
We run our own Quiet Days, Study Days and Public Lectures open to all, and are often invited to participate in events for the diocese organised by others;
Over the years, several prayer groups have met regularly in our oratory – for example, Youth 2000 local groups, Catholic Charismatic Renewal and Franciscan third order community – and we are always happy to provide hospitality, as in the case of Christian Life Community – a multi-denominational group that meets around a model of Ignatian spiritual life.
Academic staff play a full part in the life of the wider Church as teachers and researchers, policy advisers, preachers and retreat givers. Staff are members of the:
- Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain;
- Society for Study of Christian Ethics;
- The European Society of Catholic Theology;
- The Ricoeur Society;
- Societas Ethica;
- Association of Teachers of Moral Theology;
- Royal Music Association Music and Philosophy Study Group;
- Centre of Theology and Philosophy;
- Higher Education Academy.
Staff act as external examiners in the UK and Ireland.