Brian Purfield of the Mount Street Jesuit Centre
Brian Purfield

Brian Purfield

My first encounter with the Jesuits was in Rome. I studied at the Gregorian University for seven years and am deeply grateful to my Jesuit professors for the theological foundations that were laid in those years. The seeds were sown then but a fuller appreciation of what I had received only came later. My vocational path took me to the Friars Minor (Franciscans) where I was able to integrate the charisms of Francis and Ignatius through my involvement in Franciscan directed retreats in this country and abroad. My memory of Ignatian Directed Retreats enkindled in me a love of Scripture and an ever increasing awareness of the depth of God’s love for me and all God’s creatures, as well as the challenging nature of the Word of God.

I have been working alongside the Jesuits since 2001. I began at Campion House, Osterley teaching theology, scripture and was involved in the delivery of a Lay Ministry Course. I have been a member of the Mount Street Jesuit Team since it began in 2004. My main role on the team is to co-ordinate and deliver short courses in Adult Faith Formation. This has evolved from short talks and courses, to the establishment of a Pastoral Skills course which was the forerunner of the Foundation Degree in Pastoral Ministry at Heythrop College. Over the last few years the main bulk of my teaching has been delivering evening and day-time classes on the Scriptures. Opening up the Scriptures to people, young and old, at a level that they can understand and seek to apply to their daily lives, is something I feel passionate about for it is one way we can encounter the God who loves us into being and seeks a deeper relationship with us through Jesus Christ. My work with the Jesuits has enabled me to share in and be an important part of their mission of evangelisation. Not only do I feel that my own faith has deepened and strengthened through the many years of exposure to Ignatian Spirituality and the charism of Ignatius, but it is a privilege to help others come to a living faith in Jesus Christ and to help them to discern the implications of living that faith, in the Church and in the world.

My Jesuit professors in Rome gave me a sound academic foundation. Part of the challenge and joy of my current work working alongside the Jesuits, is trying to translate that into a language that is meaningful and relevant to the lives of the many people whom I meet and to convey to them the Evangelii Gaudium – the joy of the Gospel!