MBIT Annual Research Conference 16 June 2022

Click on the flower to watch the keynote address by Dr Elizabeth Phillips about the Flourishing Inside research project.

What do incarcerated people need from pastoral workers? What resources do pastoral workers need? How can they work best within the prison system? What can Catholic social thought contribute? And how can Catholic social thought be enhanced from listening to the prison context?  Click the flower for Dr Phillips’ keynote address on 16 June 2022 published on MBIT’s Youtube channel.

Research Interests

The Institute’s Staff and Visiting Supervisors have the following specialisms.

Anna Abram

  • Virtue Ethics
  • Ecclesial Ethics
  • Moral development
  • Moral imagination
  • Professional Ethics

Anne Francis

  • Practical Theology
  • Adult faith formation, catechesis, ministry, ecclesiology, spirituality, sacraments, liturgy, education
  • Pneumatology, Trinity, Feminist Theology
  • Women in ministry, ecumenism

Louise Nelstrop

  • mysticism
  • medieval theology
  • medieval spirituality
  • deification
  • English Mystics
  • possibly some other spirituality projects
  • empirical if in a team with others with expertise

Gemma Simmonds

  • Theology of Religious Life
  • Ecclesiology
  • Jansenism
  • Christian spirituality
  • Mary Ward/Ignatius Chaplaincy
  • Christian education
  • Spiritual direction

Oonagh O’ Brien

  • Ecclesiology,
  • Ministry both lay and ordained,
  • Mary
  • Vatican II.
  • Broad interest in ‘Spirituality’; particular interest in the practices of faith.

Sue Price

  • Children’s spirituality (particularly the silent spirituality of severely disabled children)
  • The use of Godly Play
  • Outreach work into parishes.
  • Chaplaincy in Healthcare

Férdia Stone-Davis

  • Theological and philosophical aesthetics
  • Ethics
  • Philosophical theology
  • Theology and the Arts

Susan O’Brien

  • History of religious life (male and female) since the Reformation.
  • 19th and 20th Catholic history in Britain and Ireland. Particular interests include: devotions, buildings and material culture, identity, gendered experiences, lived religion and social history approaches.
  • Supports work in local or regional studies.

We welcome PhD and Professional Doctorate applications, especially in these areas, and we also work with associates and visiting lecturers to resource projects in diverse topics and contexts. To discuss course applications, please contact our Director of Studies, Dr Louise Nelstrop (ln348@cam.ac.uk).

Current Research Students

Bridget Marie Alabi ((DProf, Anglia Ruskin University)
‘Be fruitful & Multiply’: The Identities, Influences and Expressions of Motherhood in Catholic Women in the UK.

Helen Bell (DProf, Anglia Ruskin University)
An ethnographic study of ‘being-with’: What can we learn about relating to all things?

Loretta Brennan (DProf, Anglia Ruskin University)
Strategies and Pedagogies for teaching Ethics.

Susanne Carlsson (DProf, Anglia Ruskin University)
Exploring the Ignatian religious life for an Anglican community

David Jasper (PhD, Anglia Ruskin University)
Navigating change through the labyrinth of Porete’s Mirror.

Pavlína Kašparová (PhD, Anglia Ruskin University)
Art as a living theology.

Antonia Lynn (DProf, Anglia Ruskin University)
Encounter, Conversion, Mission: How the dynamic of the Spiritual Exercises could be a useful resource for formation of Ordinariate Catholics as missionary disciples

Evelyn Nicholson (PhD, Anglia Ruskin University)
Emotion and Conversion at pilgrimage sites in England and Wales 1066-1538.

Anne-Marie O’Riordan (DProf, Anglia Ruskin University)
An exploration of the spirituality and identity of women Roman Catholic healthcare chaplains within ministry – its implications for practice and Catholic theology.

Kathleen Page (DProf, Anglia Ruskin University)
The transformation of a deep story: A Contemporary Understanding of Vincentian Pastoral Care.

Sonya Wratten (DProf, Anglia Ruskin University)
A Study of Interreligious Pastoral Encounter and Devising a New Model of Theological Reflection

Prada Yordanova Trabattoni (PhD, Anglia Ruskin University)
Estranged Brothers: Are Times mature for unity between Catholic and Orthodox Churches?

Past Research Students

Rosalie Moloney (PhD, University of Cambridge)
Tamar Genesis 38

Sue Price (PhD, Anglia Ruskin University)
Hearing the Silent Speak: An exploration into the Silent Spirituality of Severely Disabled Children

Jordan Pullicino (PhD, Anglia Ruskin University)
How can Catholic charismatic experience contribute to the development of a theology of the laity?


Flourishing Inside

What do incarcerated people need from pastoral workers? What resources do pastoral workers need? How can they work best within the prison system? What can Catholic social thought contribute? And how can Catholic social thought be enhanced from listening to the prison context?


Religious Life Africa

The projects completion was celebrated in October 2020, when the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, along with the Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham, hosted a visit by five sisters from East and Central Africa

Research Output

Dominic White (2020). How Do I Look? Theology in the Age of the Selfie (SCM Press).  Book launch video January 2021 here.

Elizabeth Powell (2020). David Jones and the Craft of Theology: Becoming Beauty (London: Bloomsbury).

Ela Łazarewicz-Wyrzykowska (2020). ‘New Vision of Biblical Formation in the Catholic Church’Pastoral Review (January).

F J Stone-Davis (2020). ‘Call and Response: Negation and the Configuration of Desire’, paper at Notre Dame conference Art, Desire and God: Phenomenological Perspectives (October 2–3). [Live until early 2021].

Michael Barnes (2020). Waiting on Grace, a Theology of Dialogue (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Gemma Simmonds (2020). Perfectae Caritatis‘, in Richard Gaillardetz (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Second Vatican Council (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

F J Stone-Davis (2020). ‘Harmony embedded: transcendence and the material’, keynote at The 2020 Friends of Sophia ConferenceDivine Harmony.

Ela Łazarewicz-Wyrzykowska (2020). Online lecture, ‘Thinking with Bakhtin’. Don Bosco Chinthanaloka Institute of Philosophy and Humanities in Sri Lanka.

Catherine Sexton (2020). ‘Africa: Future sustainability and ‘deep story’ (with María Calderón-Muñoz), Pastoral Review 16(3). [Restricted Access].

Christine Lai (2020). Online presentation on ‘Spirituality of Integral Human Development for Ageing: an intercultural dimension’ at Oxford McDonald Centre of Theology, Ethics and Public Life – Ageing Conference on Ageing, Suffering and Despair – towards health and care.

Elizabeth Phillips (2020). ‘Cultivating the Common Good at the Margins of the Commons: An Ethnographic Portrait of Transformative Pluralism in a High-Security Prison’Political Theology 21. [Restricted Access].

Férdia J Stone-Davis (2020). ‘Revaluing Silence’, in On Commemoration, eds. Catherine Gilbert, Kate McLoughlin & Niall Munroe (Bern: Peter Lang).

Melanie-Prejean. Sullivan (2020). ‘Eucharistic imagination as a paradigm for practical theology’, Practical Theology1(11). [Free access].

Louise Nelstrop (2020). ‘Erotic and Nuptial Imagery’, in Mark McIntosh and Edward Howells, (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Mystical Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Gemma Simmonds (2020). ‘Mystical Ecclesiology’, in Mark McIntosh and Edward Howells, (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Mystical Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Dr. Catherine Sexton and Dr. Maria Calderón Muñoz (2020) The Religious Life Africa project have produced a summary report and a final full report.

Gemma Simmonds (2020). Religious Life: Discerning the Future (with María Calderón-Muñoz). Joint Project Report for the Religious Life Institute and Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University, 2020. [Free access].

Gemma Simmonds (2020). Treasuring God’s Word: the Art of Stephen Foster (Slough, Pauline Books and Media).

Gemma Simmonds (2020). ‘Reflections on Mary and Mission’, in Susan Lucas (ed.), God’s Church in the World: the Gift of Catholic Mission (London, Canterbury Press).

Gemma C.J. Simmonds’ chapter ‘Walking in Grandmothers’ Footsteps: Mary Ward and the Medieval Spiritual and Intellectual Heritage’ has just been published in a volume, Women Intellectuals and Leaders in the Middle Ages, edited by Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, Katie Bugyis and John Van Engen, and published by Boydell and Brewer (April 2020).

Dr Louise Nelstrop’s monograph On Deification and Sacred Eloquence: Richard Rolle and Julian of Norwich was published by Taylor & Francis in October 2019. The book considers the place of deification in the writings of Julian of Norwich and Richard Rolle, two of the fourteenth-century English Mystics. It argues that, as a consequence of a belief in deification, both produce writing that is helpfully viewed as sacred eloquence.

Adrienne Chaplin Dengenerink (2019). The Philosophy of Susanne K. Langer: Embodied Meaning in Logic, Art and Feeling (London: Bloomsbury).

Rebecca Skreslet Hernandez (2020). Paper ‘Egyptian Protestant public theology’ given at conference in Cyprus sponsored by the Christian Academic Forum for Citizenship in the Middle East. A revised version of this paper will appear in summer 2020 as part of a special issue on Middle Eastern Christianity in the peer-reviewed publication Exchange: Journal of Contemporary Christianities in Context.

RELIGIOUS LIFE VITALITY: key findings can be found here.

ON HUMAN NATURE, Sir Roger Scruton: a video of the talk given at Queen’s Theatre, Emmanuel College on 18 May 2018 can be found here.

FAKE NEWS AND THE VIRTUE OF TRUTH – WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THOMAS AQUINAS?, Dr Anna Abram: a video of the Aquinas lecture given at the University of Leuven can be found here.

‘REDEEMING THE MYSTERY’: FAKE NEWS, ‘EDUCATION FOR TRUTH’ AND THOMAS AQUINAS, Dr Anna Abram: a video of the keynote given at Heythrop’s Summer Conference, ‘Let Him Easter in Us’, 7th July 2018 can be found here.

POPULISM AND CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING: CIVIC IMAGINATION AND PRACTICAL WISDOM, Dr Amy Daughton: the audio of the presentation given at the Centre for Catholic Studies 10th Anniversary Celebratory Conference – ‘Catholic Theology in the Public Academy: Searching the Questions, Sounding the Depths’, on March 20th 2018, can be found here.

We have a selection of past lectures available on Mixcloud.

Research Fellows and Research Associates 2020/21

Margaret Beaufort is home to a diverse and growing group of Research Fellows and Associates. Click through to their profiles to find out more about the research projects being conducted with us by our Fellows, as well as the wider research interests of them and our Research Associates. We seek to develop and nourishing a research community here at the Institute, and will be advertising annually for new Associates to join us.

Research Fellows

Research Fellows

Dr Sr Gemma Simmonds CJ

Senior Fellow and Director of Religious Life Institute

Research Fellows

Dr Claire Jenkins

Senior Fellow in Catholic Education

Research Fellows

Prof Michael Barnes SJ

Honorary Fellow

Research Fellows

Patrick Hannon

Senior Fellow

Research Fellows

Dr Liam Hayes

Senior Fellow

Research Fellows

Dr Frances Image

Senior Fellow in Catholic Education

Research Fellows

Dr Peter Coughlan

Honorary Fellow

Research Associates

Research Associates

Prof Susan Docherty

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Elizabeth Phillips

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Amy Daughton

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Adrienne Dengerink-Chaplin

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Travis LaCouter

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Christine Lai

Research Associate

Research Associates

David Lonsdale

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Barnabas Palfrey

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Rebecca Skreslet Hernandez

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Michael Hahn

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Valentin Gerlier

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Gregory Stacey

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Helen Orchard

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Jessica Scott

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Sean Ryan

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Joseph Gabor

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Bruce Ellis Benson

Research Associate

Research Associates

Dr Emily Abdeni-Holman

Research Associate

Former Research Fellows and Associates

Former Research Fellows and Associates

Dr Kevin Grove CSC

Research Fellow

Former Research Fellows and Associates

Sam Randall

Research Associate

2017/2018       Dr Sahaya G. Selvam SDB
Silver Jubilee Fellow

2017/2018       Dr Jacinta Victoria S Muinde
Silver Jubilee Fellow

2016/2017       Dr Melanie-Préjean Sullivan
Cardinal Hume Visiting Scholar

2013/2014       Fr Augusto Zampini Davies
Cardinal Hume Visiting Scholar

2011/2012       Dr Kathleen Rushton
Cardinal Hume Visiting Scholar

2011/2012       Dr Amy Daughton
Cardinal Hume Visiting Scholar

2010/2011       Fr John Sandanam
Cardinal Hume Visiting Scholar

2009/2010      Dr Mary Ryan
Cardinal Hume Visiting Scholar

2008/2009     Prof Milburn Thompson
Cardinal Hume Visiting Scholar

2007/2008      Prof John Loughlin
Cardinal Hume Visiting Scholar

2006/2007       Dr Charlotte Hansen
Cardinal Hume Visiting Scholar

2005/2006      Dr Joe Fleming
Cardinal Hume Visiting Scholar

2003/2004       Fr Robert Kaggwa
Cardinal Hume Visiting Scholar

2003/2004       Sr Christine Burke
Research Associate

Sabbatical Opportunities

Would you like to:

  • Study in a beautiful and hospitable setting
  • Enjoy the rich academic and cultural environment of Cambridge
  • Benefit from excellent support
  • Have time for relaxation and prayer?

Each year, a small number of sabbatical visitors join the community for periods of between three and six months. They come to the Margaret Beaufort Institute for diverse reasons: structured research, bespoke programmes of teaching and supervision, to pursue their own projects and flourishing. We welcome applications from both women and men, lay, religious and ordained.

The Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology is situated near to the city centre and close to the Divinity Faculty of the University of Cambridge, the University Library and Tyndale House. Our self-catering accommodation is comfortable in single study-rooms, all with internet access. Visitors are welcome to participate in all aspects of the Institute’s life of prayer and worship, and those of the Federation.

Design Your Own Programme

You can choose courses from a wide range of programmes within the Cambridge Theological Federation, from the lecture programmes of the University of Cambridge and from MA modules at Anglia Ruskin University. The choice is extensive during the two periods of October to December and January to March. Our Director of Research can help you design a programme.

Independent Research Sabbaticals

We provide a congenial environment in which to undertake your own research and writing. The Institute’s proximity to Tyndale House, the Divinity Faculty Library and the University Library makes it ideal for researchers. For those who want some support with their research, our Director of Research can provide guided study, reading lists and supervision.

Each year the Institute awards a Cardinal Hume Scholarship to an experienced, Catholic researcher.

For academic year 2021 2022, please download this information sheet here:

2021_22 Sabbatical Information with revised costs (22.09.21)

If you would like to know more, please contact Dr Férdia Stone-Davis, fjs23@cam.ac.uk
“Margaret Beaufort Silver Jubilee Fellowship (May–July 2018) offered me an excellent opportunity to take time off my work of academic administration in Kenya and dedicate some focused attention on a book-project. The access to academic literature through the libraries of the Cambridge Theological Federation and the valuable interaction with scholars in the field made it possible for me to complete my book-project within 10 weeks. There were also other academic possibilities at Cambridge: open-lectures, summer courses, and visits to museums and exhibitions. The lighter aspects of Cambridge – the open spaces, the meadows, the historical sites – gave me a feeling of being on a holiday even as I rushed with my writing target. Thanks to the Principal and the staff of MBIT for making this possible for me.”Sahaya G. Selvam, sdb
Tangaza University College
(Catholic University of Eastern Africa)