Academic | Posted 01.02.2017

Several members of the Stonyhurst Sodality enjoyed a trip to Oxford recently. Ostensibly, we were visiting two recent OS, Sam Burke and Toby Lees who are members of the Dominican Community at Blackfriars but we managed to fit in a good deal more during the time we were there. On arrival there was the opportunity for Confessions at Blackfriars followed by the sung Mass of Our Lady, Vespers and a brief tour where we were shown the altar where J.R.R. Tolkien served daily. After this came a wonderful supper prepared by Sam and Toby in one of the elegant rooms of the College. The evening finished off with a viewing of the new Scorsese film, ‘Silence’ about the lives of Jesuit Missionaries in Seventeenth Century Japan.

On the next day we were given a tour of Oxford by Simon Whittle OS, a recent graduate of the University and former Prefect of the Sodality, before Sunday Mass at St. Aloysius’ and a talk on life as an Oratorian by Fr. Jerome Betram. After a flying visit to the Ashmolean, we enjoyed a traditional pub lunch at the Eagle and Child, former haunt of Tolkien and C.S.Lewis. More sight-seeing followed, with a walk round Brasenose College before ending up in Blackwell’s for some book-buying and coffee.

After a tour of the Libraries at Blackfriars, a talk from Sam and Toby on religious life and a visit to the Chapel, we ended the trip with a visit to Lincoln College for Choral Evensong, the first of the new term. It was an all-too brief but highly enjoyable trip and we have many happy memories of it. One incredible coincidence was that at the services on the way home we bumped into Michael Joseph OS who has been instrumental in the restoration of the Sodality Chapel and the recent addition of the beautiful new kneelers.

Our thanks go to Sam, Toby, Simon Whittle and the Community at Blackfriars together with the Master, Fellows and Chaplain of Lincoln College and in particular the Community at Grandpont House for their hospitality. Thanks also to Mr Vincent Sharples for giving up his weekend time so generously.