The Lauriston Centre
“I have attended many retreats and Christian education events and courses but the thing I like about the Jesuits is that they feed your mind as well as your soul,” says Brigitte Sweeney, a regular at the Lauriston Jesuit Centre in Edinburgh.
Brigitte first started attending the Edinburgh Living Theology courses about 25 years ago. “I love it” she observes, “ because there’s so much more to it than just faith education. You are informing your conscience on the Church.”
Brigitte recalls a course on the charism of St Ignatius and was particularly struck by some aspects of the Jesuit founder’s philosophy which have stayed with her: “It was St Ignatius’ insistence that the Jesuits always work with the pope, and support the hierarchy, even if this didn’t seem like the right thing at the time. He refused to criticise senior clergy, even if they were not always wise, and certainly it is well known that a number were quite hostile to the Jesuits, throughout history. It was St Ignatius’ gift to work quietly from the inside, changing things when he could by positive actions, rather than criticising and complaining. And now it gives me great satisfaction to hear the same messages coming from Pope Francis as he seeks to make positive change to the Church as both a Jesuit and a pope! This is a good lesson for lay people as parishioners, who often find change difficult.”
Fr Jim Crampsey SJ, Director of the Lauriston Centre, comments “There is a sense of community which builds up during a Living Theology course, people with different life experiences, and a wide range of viewpoints on the Church, come together and share and learn from each other as well as the expert lecturers. In a normal parish context it is sometimes hard to have a deeper or more intellectual conversation about the Church, so Living Theology can be very refreshing for people. And we don’t just share the debate, we share meals, and we celebrate Mass together. People come from Ireland and England, a wide range, and this year, with the main speaker scheduled for the evening, we hope more younger people will be able to come.”
What does Brigitte take away from a Living Theology course? “whatever, the topic - art, science, scripture – the message which seems to resonate across all is that God is to be found in all things. And reflecting and debating in a community-creating space like Living Theology draws us gently closer to God.”
If you have ever felt ‘I wish I understood a bit more about that’, you will discover that you are not alone! Living Theology courses are led by Jesuits and others who are experts in their fields.
The Saint Francis Xavier's Church in Liverpool has just recently completed their Living Theology course.
James Crampsey SJ
Became a Jesuit in 1964. Jim has taught in Heythrop and was a superior before being appointed provincial in 1993. Following his provincialate he worked in Southall parish and at present he is superior and director of the Lauriston Jesuit Centre in Edinburgh.
Pray for the Jesuits
Listen to this homily titled 'placed with the son' by Michael Holman SJ delivered on St Ignatius day and remember all those who serve God in your prayer