“The integration of theology and practice seemed to be part of the whole atmosphere and the very raison d’être of the Institute.”

Mgr Keith Baltrop , Institute Inspector appointed by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor

Margaret Beaufort Certificate

This award is given for attendance and participation at the weekly afternoon session: ‘Life and Service in the Catholic Tradition’.

A gateway to theological study
The programme is designed to be flexible. For example, it is a good entry point for those thinking of resuming study after a lengthy gap; or for graduates in a discipline other than theology who need to have appropriate formal theological study before applying for the MA in Pastoral Theology.

  • Although it’s not compulsory, students who want to write assignments or essays can do so in consultation with the Director of Studies. These can be set for different levels of study.
  • The programme is currently taught on Thursday afternoons from 2-5.30pm. Teaching is followed by Mass and community supper.
  • The Certificate comprises five modules a year offered on a three-year cycle. Students can join at any point and study for anything between one and three years. It is possible to register for one semester or even for just one module.
  • A transcript of courses attended is available on request.

MICHAELMAS 2018 programme (4 October - 22 November 2018)

1.Women who Changed the Church
2.00-3.30pm, public seminar series, £10 per lecture, or £65 for the full series

From the women of scripture, to Catholic Women Speak, women have consistently changed church practice, communities and ideas.  This series focuses on eight examples who have enriched and transformed faith communities, and represent important legacies for understanding women today.  They also represent diverse kinds of contribution – from the theological creativity of Hildegard and Julian, to the nourishment of the spirituality of the ordinary in the writings of Thérèse of Lisieux and Evelyn Underhill, through the transformative action of the Daughters of Charity and Dorothy Day, to the clarion voices of contemporary theologians in Valerie Saiving, Teresa Okure, and the CWS project.  These varied voices, discussed from different disciplinary perspectives each have the potential to help us reimagine our own contributions to the Church and the world.

4th October – Hildegard of Bingen             Dr Férdia Stone Davis

11th October – Julian of Norwich               Dr Elizabeth Powell

18th October – Thérèse of Lisieux              Sr Ann Swailes OP

25th October – New Global Voices              Dr Amy Daughton

1st November – Dorothy Day                     Sr Katrina Alton CSJP

8th November – Catholic Women Speak      Professor Tina Beattie

15th November – Valerie Saiving and Teresa Okure: Women of the 20th Century                                                       Professor Janet Martin Soskice

22nd November – Evelyn Underhill              Dr Louise Nelstrop (MBI  Jubilee Fellow)

This public seminar series has been conceived to seek new ways of fulfilling the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology’s focus on transforming education for women in theology.  The series will be open to women and men alike, but by focusing on women in the historical and contemporary church is designed to open discussion spaces to celebrate, uncover, and critique the contributions of women to and through the Church’s history.

2. On the Im/possibility of Talking About God

Dr Férdia Stone-Davis, Thursdays, 4.00-5.30pm, £170 per term
Fully taught course for Catholic women, applications and enquiries to mbitadm@hermes.cam.ac.uk
Can we talk about God? If so, how and why? Férdia Stone-Davis teaches an introductory course for Catholic women interested in exploring how language relates to experiencing and communicating to and about God.
Topics will include: Creation and God-talk (the idea that language is a God-given capacity); Saying and Un-saying (how we necessarily fail when talking about God); Metaphor and Poetic Language (the importance of non-literal language); Sacramental Language (specifically the Eucharist understood as what McCabe calls 'the creative language of God'); Prayer and Language (what is prayer, and who speaks to whom?); and God-talk and Gender (why do some forms of God-talk prevail, and do some kinds of language bring us closer to God than others?).

LENT (17 January – 7 March 2019)

1.The Theology of Pope Francis
Pope Francis’s theology is most often seen in his actions: washing the feet of women, including prisoners, disabled and Muslim people; returning from Lesbos with 12 Syrian refugees, offering them a new life in Rome; holding the hand of a child who joined him on the altar during Mass.
Yet the writings that have been sent out under Pope Francis’ leadership are also of great interest.  These are also documents that urge action on questions such as living in holiness (Gaudate et Exsultate) and family life (Amoris Laetitia).  Laudato Si’ is also an example of larger, more closely argued encyclical, a letters to all people of good will, and it argues from a developing theology of creation and what Francis calls integral ecology. Each texts builds with the others to give us a sense of the theological priorities and commitments of the current Pope.
This four week course (Thursdays, 2.00-5.30pm) will take a closer look at these texts, to see what they can teach us about Pope Francis’ theology, considering both what is distinctive about it and its role in the continuing life of the Church.  Students will not be asked to read the entire texts!  Instead students will be pointed toward revealing extracts, supported by teaching in the classroom and encouraged to discuss their own insights in response.

17th January – Evangelii Gaudium
24th January – Laudato si’
31st January – Amoris Laetitia
7th February – Gaudate et Exsultate      

2. Jewish and Christian identity
Dr Melanie-Prejean Sullivan
More details to come on this fascinating topic, led by visiting lecturer Melanie-Prejean Sullivan.  Her course will focus on the separation and dialogue of Jewish and Christian identities in the first centuries of the early Church, especially focusing on how both Jewish and Christian communities developed.
Thursdays 14th Feb, 21st Feb, 28 Feb and 7th March, 2.00-5.30pm


Christian Mysticism
Dr Louise Nelstrop, Jubilee Fellow
More details to come on this exciting four week course, taught by a specialist of Christian mystical theology and spirituality, newly appointed as the Margaret Beaufort Jubilee Fellow for Easter Term 2019.

Programme 2017/18:

  • Moral Imagination, Art, and Spiritual Formation
  • Reform, Rupture, and Revolution: The Reformation
  • Matristics/Patristics 
  • Biblical Women from Miriam to Mary Magdalen 
  • Thomas Merton: Model of Discernment, Personal Care, Pastoral Presence, and Social Justice

Below follows our programme for 2016/17 as a further example of the kind of topics we explore in this course:

  • Theological Ethics
  • Hospitality
  • Ecclesiology
  • Women of Genesis
  • The History of the Mass

Modules from 2015/16 included:

Christology, Faith Development, Formation in Liturgy, Mystical Theology, Theology and Practice of Lay Life, Feminist Theology.