Monday 29 October 2012


From George Herbert in town to Helen Waddell in the sticks

If you live in Oxfordshire or within reach, you will be spoilt in November with a feast of speakers available to nourish your soul and feed your mind.  Fresh from putting on a splendid series on Benedictine Wisdom at St Giles, OCSG will be laying on a reflective day on Saturday 17th November, exploring the work of George Herbert, Poet and Priest, with the help of a Professor of English at Oxford and Mark Oakley, a Canon at St Paul’s.  It takes place all day at Corpus Christi College and you can find details on their website,

Out west beyond Woodstock in the gorgeous Evenlode valley,   you’re just about into the Cotswolds when you reach Spelsbury.  The imaginative Chase Benefice has laid on some Advent suppers (delicious home-cooking, if last year is anything to go by) every Wednesday from November 21st as well as a line-up of Oxford-based speakers who will come to talk about “people in whom they have seen Christ incarnated.”

Thus Ed Newell, Sub Dean of Christ Church, will talk about Sir John Betjeman, Professor George Pattison about Etty Hillesum, Mark Chapman (Ripon College, Cuddesdon) about Charles Gore, and Canon Angela Tilby about Helen Waddell.  Book soon from as half the tickets have reportedly already gone.

Helen Waddell, Northern Irish poet, playwright and translator of medieval Latin, was a scholar and an authority on the church in the Middle Ages.  Her translations as well as her poems have been set to music by composers from Holst to Paul Spicer.  A prize-winning biography was written of her in 1986 by a Benedictine nun … which brings us back to those wise Benedictines (every Thursday at St Giles until November 29th).

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