News from Oxford

Happy Christmas everyone; thanks for another year of prayers and conversations

The Prison Fellowship talk was very interesting. Lisa spoke of her experience with prisoners in the various prisons in Oxfordshire as well as Campsfield House.

She spoke of their vulnerabilities and the joy when they truly repent and accept Jesus in their lives which in turn kept the love of Jesus burning in her and her husband, Peter.

There are many ways one can get involved with Prison Fellowship and there isn’t much in training, but some mentoring. You can just go to mass with the inmates and chat with them afterwards. They are always amazed that normal folks are willing to be in their presence. You could correspond with them (though mobile phones have brought this demand down) or help out via Angel Tree, a branch of Prison Fellowship that raises money to buy Christmas presents for the inmates children, as well as  wrapping them up including a note from the father or mother in prison. Angel Tree also does a similar project for Mothering Sunday. A more intense project is Sycamore Tree, a victim awareness programme that teaches the principles of restorative justice. This does require training, but again there are various levels of involvement to build up you confidence.

For more information go to:

Thank you Imogen & Ambrose for bringing Lisa & Peter to speak to us.

We also had a very good talk by Rhona on St. Albert the Great. I really liked her style of presentation. St. Albert was a lover of the Trinity and of knowledge. Where do people like Albert get their energy! He travelled around Europe and England. He wrote on theology, philosophy (capturing Aristotelian methodology for the advancement of Christian theology) and natural history. A letter from Br. Humbert to Albert trying to dissuade Albert from taking on the position of Bishop of Regensburg was an eye-opener “How could anyone believe that at the end of your life you would be willing to blot your own glory like this and that of the Order which you have made so glorious?…I would rather hear of my favourite son being laid out on a bier than of his being exalted on a bishop’s throne”. It appears that the Episcopal rank has come a long way from St. Albert’s time.

The excerpts from his De Animalibus are charming and some of it I have read in children books like the fox getting rid of its fleas (perhaps the author was a Catholic). The beaver doesn’t use slave labour, nor do they load up mud & wood on their mate’s stomach and drag them to the site (nor do they use their tails for dragging mud). He might have confused this with otters. The Marine Otter will eat food floating on its back and sometimes use a stone as an anvil to open up clams.

Gigi (President)