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“Perhaps women who are fully in charge of a new venture, for which there are no established ground rules, can bring the gift of …‘elasticity of spirit’ into the world of Christian institutions.”

Dr Helen Forshaw SHCJ

The way we work as Catholics

The Institute is first and foremost a Catholic organisation rooted in the Catholic Church, its traditions and its teaching. We share the Church’s mission and innovate within that tradition.

Catholicism animates the core teaching and prayer life of the Institute. All students take ‘Life and Service in the Catholic Tradition’ for three hours each week. Mass is celebrated each week in the Institute’s chapel and our liturgical cycle also includes the Office of the Church and Exposition for Adoration. The Institute is privileged to have reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in its oratory.

Our governance
The Institute’s Catholicity is underwritten in its Memorandum and Articles of Association and in the composition of its Trustees and Council of Members. It is given reality through the Catholic commitment of the academic staff, and through students who are attracted to the Institute by its ethos and purpose.

Patrons include: Professor Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland; His Excellency Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor; His Grace, The Lord Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury; and His Grace, the Rt Revd Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, who have supported the Institute over many years. Twelve international women’s religious congregations provided the Foundation Members of the original Board of the Institute.

Wider relationships
Since its establishment, the Institute has enjoyed a strong working relationship with successive Bishops of East Anglia. The late Bishop Michael Evans appointed the Institute as the Diocesan Centre for the Catholic Certificate of Religious Studies. We continue with this commitment with the current Bishop Alan Hopes, as our staff serve on the Diocesan Commission for Evangelisation and coordinate the CCRS and new programmes.

The Cambridge Theological Federation values us for the Catholic perspective we bring to the shared teaching and common life of the Federation. Offering this perspective is our responsibility and our privilege.