The Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology
As a lay Catholic Institute in the heart of Cambridge and part of the Cambridge Theological Federation, we resource lay people theologically both within and outside of the Catholic tradition. We provide specialist theological education and open learning opportunities for both individuals and groups.
We offer courses, study days, workshops, seminars and conferences that promote the study of theology, ethics, philosophy, pastoral practice, spirituality and theological reflection in dynamic ways that seek to meet and address twenty-first century global needs. In line with our foundational principles, we continue to promote the resourcing of women through a community life that is open to all. Through our teaching and learning we facilitate exchange with art, culture and social justice initiatives. We resource schools, parishes, hospitals, prisons and other institutions with expertise, training and pastoral support. Our theology engages with different professional and community-based (service) needs and perspectives. This is enriched and enabled by an interdisciplinary approach that is at the heart of our educational work. Many of our students gain qualifications from the University of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University (DTM, BA, MA, MPhil, PhD, DProf).
We are now almost 30 years old, still youthful enough to be laying down its foundations (we are located in Cambridge, after all!) but old enough to have a story to tell.
The Institute is named after Lady Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509), who has been described by the historian Dr David Starkey as the most powerful woman in England of her day.
Margaret Beaufort was a scholar, an astute manager of resources and a very significant philanthropist. As the richest woman in medieval England, she used her wealth to promote religion, learning and the education of clergy in particular.
She was mother to Henry Tudor, her only son from three marriages. He became King Henry VlI, and in 1485 she assumed the title of the King’s Mother.
Cambridge became the focus of much of her philanthropy through her confessor St John Fisher, who was Chancellor of the University. Working with Fisher she founded two Cambridge colleges, Christ’s and St John’s, and endowed the Lady Margaret’s Professorships of Divinity at Oxford and Cambridge, to which she appointed her friend and confessor.
Margaret herself translated and published one of the most widely read devotional texts of all time, the Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. She was a sponsor of the printer Caxton and was, therefore, a major supporter of the new media of her day.
Further information about Lady Margaret Beaufort
Jones, M & Underwood, M. The King’s Mother, CUP 1992
The Margaret Beaufort Association
About the MBA: Who we are … What we do …
The Margaret Beaufort Association was founded in 2018, coinciding with the Silver Jubilee of the foundation of the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology. From 2018-2020 it was admirably led by Co-Presidents Mari Kelly-Gross & Kate Scotland, alumnae of MBIT. Its current President is Susanne Jennings, who is also an alumna of MBIT.
The Association’s purpose is threefold:
- To keep alumnae connected to MBIT, and each other, through updates on current news and events;
- To provide a forum for Friends & Supporters of the Institute (including but not restricted to past and present members of staff/research fellows and Visiting academics; current students);
- To provide a forum for those who Support the Institute through charitable giving.
Membership is free and open to anyone. Members receive the Margaret Beaufort Association Newsletter and are invited to join the Thursday Evening Prayer liturgies, some of which are led by members of the MBA. They also receive invitations to special events and courses including specially discounted bespoke tours and pilgrimages, MBA Study Days led by top speakers, events and workshops.
There are also a small number of discounted special events hosted by the MBA (for further details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alumnae are also welcome to use the Lash Library to consult the Catholic and specialist material held by the Institute by prior written permission from the Curator.
Existing and prospective members are warmly welcome to get in touch with Susanne Jennings, President of the Margaret Beaufort Association with any queries at email@example.com.
President of the Margaret Beaufort Association
Academic staff play a full part in the life of the wider Church as teachers and researchers, policy advisers, preachers and retreat givers. Staff are members of the:
Staff act as external examiners in the UK and Ireland.