What is the Synod, and why should we be interested?

by Sr Ann Caherine Swailes o.p.

What is a synod? have there been synods before?  Can a synod change Chuch doctrine?  In a talk at Fisher house where she works as a chaplain, Sr Ann addresses these and many other questions in relation to the upcoming 'Synod on Synodality' put forward by Pope Francis. Click on the image to see the video

Prayer – the Spark of Divine Love

by Sr Tamsin Mary Geach o.p.

Why do we want to pray?   Prayer is at base the development of our relationship of Love with God.  While I was preparing this talk I was given a firm reminder of my place in all this by a reading from the Divine Office: 

‘Love of God is not something that can be taught. We did not learn from someone else how to rejoice in light or want to live, or to love our parents or guardians. It is the same – perhaps even more so – with our love for God: it does not come by another’s teaching.  As soon as the living creature (that is, man) comes to be, a power of reason is implanted in us like a seed, containing within it the ability and the need to love. When the school of God’s law admits this power of reason, it cultivates it diligently, skilfully nurtures it, and with God’s help brings it to perfection.

 For this reason, as by God’s gift, I find you with the zeal necessary to attain this end, and you on your part help me with your prayers

Read more: Prayer – the Spark of Divine Love

Is it worth it?

by Sr. Tamsin Mary Geach o.p.


A photograph by Lawrence Lew o.p.
                                            Puer Natus Est!

Is it worth it? All the fuss and the packaging and the tree and the turkey (or goose if it's my family)? Is it worth the risk of family rows? Is it worth the travelling the expense, the stress? Well, you have not travelled so far as God travelled, from eternity to time; you have not three-and thirty years of emptying yourself so as to fill everyone else; If you are looking at this, you are unlikely to have travelled as Mary did, pregnant and uncertain of where in the end she would lay her head, trusting in God that it would be indoors not outside in the street when the child was born. And all of this was done so that you could have joy, and life and peace. And it is worth it because,  because of that journey and that birth, men of goodwill in every place rest and give each other good cheer, even if many have little concept of why they do this - that A Saviour HAS BEEN BORN TO US WHO IS CHRIST THE LORD!!! Happy Christmas. 


by Sr Ann Catherine Swailes o.p.


Sr Ann Preaching
Sr Ann Preaching

Every year in mid-November or thereabouts, in my role as a university chaplain, I begin to wrestle, along with my colleagues and those to whom we are privileged to minister, with some tricky questions: given that the Cambridge term ends either at, or even before, the beginning of Advent, and the students won’t be back in town till some time after Epiphany, when and how should we decorate our church and our social spaces for Christmas? Should we sing Hark the Herald as well as O Come O Come Emmanuel in our carol service? Is it wrong to break out the mulled wine and mince pies before we have even lit the first candle on our Advent wreath? What are we to do when we know it’s Advent, but the world around us is determined that it’s already Christmas?

We might be inclined to think it would be better to keep the demarcation line between Advent fasting and Christmas feasting tidily un-blurred, that we would provide a better witness to each other and to the world at large if we were to maintain the purity of our Advent longing, unsullied by the clamour for instant gratification of the culture that surrounds us, resolutely ignoring the pulsating

Read more: Starlight

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