Mari Shullaw

Mari Shullaw

Mari studied for the Bachelor of Theology for Ministry (BTh).

During my interview for a place at Margaret Beaufort, I was invited to come back for Thursday Mass and supper with the community.

I remember walking that day into a sitting room full of spring sunlight. There were two students chatting on a sofa, and they made me sit with them and chatted on until my nerves dissolved, then whisked me off to Mass – and from that day on I found myself both astonishingly at home and terrifyingly, exhilaratingly at sea.

I came to the Institute having spent all my adult life working in publishing. I had no pastoral experience, and little conception of what it might be possible for a lay woman in the Church to do.

In the three years of my BTh, I found myself working in a prison; in a night shelter for homeless people; and in Addenbrookes hospital. All this was often hard, and yet there always seemed to be someone around to speak an encouraging word. As the months went by I realised that I was doing things that I had always assumed were beyond my capabilities, and that faith grows stronger from being tested.

Five years on, I work part-time back in publishing, but also as a volunteer in the chaplaincy team at the Royal Free Hospital. I do not know what the future will bring, but for me the gift of Margaret Beaufort has been and remains a sense of graced possibility.