Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.
Allow me to be your guide... and discover the history of Oxford with an Oxford historian.
I offer a wide range of guided walks around the city and university. These can be a general introduction to the history and architecture or looking at specific themes and subjects.
I am a Catholic and a historian based in Oxford, where I am a member of Oriel College. My research, for a long delayed D.Phil., is a study of Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln in the second decade of the fifteenth century. I also work as a freelance tutor in History and as an independent tour guide.
I was received into the Church in 2005 and am a Brother of the External Oratory of St Philip Neri at the Oxford Oratory.
Last week and this the Oxford Oratory has been hosting an exhibition about the life of Bl.Teresa of Calcutta in preparation for her canonisation in September. Today I was acting as steward for part of the day and it was my first opportunity to look at the displays which have been set out in the Oratory Library.
In addition to a series of boards which ell the story of Bl.Teresa's life with photographs and quotations there are also relics, including her sari and manuscript letters and notes - such was the chosen poverty she espoused that she wrote letters on the backs of envelopes she had received - as well as momentos of her visits to this country.
I learned from the displays and they provid emuch food for thought about mother Teresa's vocation, and indeed what any of us might consider such a sense to be. It is the story of a remarkable life and of great faithfulness in the experience of the 'Dark Night' of the soul. The growth of the Missionaries of Charity from that one nun setting off into the slums of Calcutta in 1948 to having over 500 houses by the time she died in 1997 is in itself a recognition of the power of her example and faith, and reminiscent of the growth of other Orders in past centuries.
Each day the exhibition is open there is a film shown about her life, which mixes coverage of her funeral with reflections on her mission and that of any Christian which she recorded in her later years.
A very well worth while exhibition, and one designed to encourage prayer and reflection.