Schools' chaplains conference

St Mary's Convenant statue

From Thursday 5th to Friday 6th October, chaplains from the Jesuit schools came together at St Mary's Convent in Handsworth, Birmingham, for the Jesuit Institute Chaplaincy Conference. Chaplains came from St Ignatius College in Enfield, Donhead Preparatory School, St John's Beaumont School, Mount St Mary's College, Barlborough Hall School, Stonyhurst College, St Joseph's School in Hurst Green, St Mary's Hall, St Aloysius College, and St Aloysius Junior School, as well as Loreto College in Manchester and Loreto Grammar School in Altrincham.

During the two days in Handsworth, there were talks from Ann Fowler, the Deputy Director for Schools in the Clifton Diocese, Adrian Porter SJ, Director of the Jesuit Institute and representatives from Jesuit Missions and JRS UK. The conference allowed the chaplains to exchange ideas and have time to reflect on pastoral support for the whole human person: body, mind, and soul. On Thursday, one talk was on the 'Directory for Masses with Children', a document drawn up in 1973 by the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship. Another talk was about closer collaboration between the schools and Jesuit Missions and JRS UK.

St Mary's Convent in Handsworth is a place familiar to many Jesuit novices. Novices live in Birmingham for two years and visit the local Catholic parishes on Sunday. Since the 1970s, Jesuits novices have visited St Francis' Church in Handsworth, opposite the convent. The convent was founded in 1840 by the Venerable Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, and has been run by the Sisters of Mercy ever since. It serves to as a centre of hope, hospitality and heritage in Birmingham.