Leaving school at 16 with no qualifications, discovering at the age of 27 that you are dyslexic, created a person with no self-esteem who was terrified of even picking up a book! Thankfully, an Open Day at St Mary’s changed my life forever by teaching me how to learn, how to be passionate about a subject so close to my heart ‘God’. Entering academia as a mature student was not easy nor natural but St Mary’s empowered me to believe in myself – for the first time ever.
Not many universities can boast of a railway station less than a 10-minute walk away, which living in Woking was ideal for me. Even with a change in Wimbledon, the daily community was less than an hour which gave me the luxury to reflect upon previous studies and look forward to what treasures lay ahead of me, upon my arrival at St Mary’s.
Completing a B.A. in Theology & Religious Studies gave me newfound courage to offer myself as a candidate for priesthood within my Anglican Church. Following recommendation and a three-year formational course I entered Holy Orders, none of which would have been possible if it was not for the confidence I gained from my spiritual academic home St Mary’s. However, this was merely the start of a love affair with St Mary’s, for like the mafia, once this place gets into your system you are hooked for life.
Consequently, in 2017 I enrolled on the ground-breaking M.A. in Catholic Social Teaching. As before, the magic was still there and now St Mary’s have been granted the status to validate their own PhD’s, another pioneering course beckons me to return to St Mary’s- an exciting study in Divinity. The practical aspect of St Mary’s courses lends and feeds themselves in ‘hands on’ pastoral ministry and therefore rather than seeking out and being contempt with a parochial setting, I continue to serve the wider community, in their world and in their space as both a Support Worker for those living with M.S. and Autism, in conjunction with being a Chaplain at my local Hospital.
St Mary’s Gospel ethos shines throughout and touches every aspect of who and what they are, nobody is forgotten, everybody’s thoughts and feelings are valued and appreciated. Turn yourself into a human sponge and join everything that is going on, attend as many guest talks and trips out as possible, as nothing will ever be wasted.