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St Bede's Pastoral Centre

St. Bede’s Pastoral Centre was first established in the late 1980’s by a small community of Benedictines from Ampleforth Abbey who ran the centre until the mid 90’s. Since then, the Congregation of Jesus (CJ), whose property it is, have been responsible for the centre, supported and encouraged by the Friends of St Bede’s.

The Centre houses an office/reception area, a selection of conference and meeting rooms, a coffee lounge, a large and small kitchen, a chapel and courtyard garden. The centre is also connected to the wider complex owned by the CJ community which comprises the Bar Convent, the community accommodation and St. Josephs infirmary.

The in-house Centre team comprises the Director (Julia MacDonald), Assistant Director (Sr. Agnese Jenčíková cj), two job-share Administrators (Carol Reeves & Fiona Hill) and two members of staff who cover the evening reception/cleaning duties (Sarah & Hanna). A number of others generously contribute their time and expertise to assist with the delivery of the events, courses and training offered at St. Bede's.

Over the years the Centre has grown and evolved as has the focus of the work. In the early years, the Benedictines created the garden, founded a Peace & Justice Group, developed a number of ecumenical initiatives and established a culture of welcome and hospitality. Since then, key figures have overseen a number of new chapters in the life of the centre—Sr. Mary Ann cj, Sr Patricia Lane IBVM, Fr. Bill Broderick sj and latterly Sr. Cecilia Goodman cj.

During this time the Centre has continued to foster the culture of welcome, hospitality and ecumenical collaboration, alongside establishing itself as a recognized regional centre for spiritual formation and training in the Ignatian spiritual tradition. Over the years the centre has developed a strong network of contacts which has also enabled the development of regular events, seminars and workshops on a broad range of themes related to personal and spiritual development. Alongside its own programme, the Centre also hosts individuals and groups who are working in areas harmonious with the vision and objectives of the centre.

St. Bede’s is now in another exciting phase of ongoing development with the arrival of the new director Julia MacDonald in September of 2017. Building on its established reputation, the team is in the process of cultivating the vision for the centre so that it is able to continue to be responsive to the pressing needs of our time—in particular, in relation to the climate and migration crises which invite us all to expand our capacity for ecological and social awareness, responsibility and action.