The annual report and accounts, including the agenda for the Stonyhurst Association AGM to be held at Stonyhurst, on Friday 25th May 2018 at 4.30pm will be published on the website shortly.

President’s Report 2017 – 2018

It was an unexpected honour to be asked to be President of the Stonyhurst Association.   Stonyhurst has played a hugely important part in my life.  Coming from a naval family, which was constantly on the move, I was the first in my family to go away to school and to university.  Stonyhurst nurtured my faith in Christ and gave me great opportunities.

In those days Stonyhurst was a boys’ boarding school, with a large Jesuit community.  Since then my three sons have been at the College, and my wife has been a governor.  We have witnessed the College’s transformation into a successful co-educational school for both boarding and day pupils.

What makes Stonyhurst different from other schools is its Jesuit ethos, formed over the course of more than four hundred years.  In recent times much good work has been done to help everyone at the College to understand and sustain the Jesuit ethos.  But there is now only one Jesuit at Stonyhurst, Father Tim Curtis SJ, who ministers to St Joseph’s, Hurst Green, St Peter’s parish and St Mary’s Hall as well as the College.  In my view, a continuing and reinforced Jesuit presence at Stonyhurst is vital.  To offset the declining number of Jesuits in the English province, I hope it will be possible to invite Jesuits from other provinces, blessed with more manpower, to spend time at Stonyhurst.

The highlight of my year as President was the annual dinner on 17 November at Mercers’ Hall in London, on the site where St Thomas Becket was born.  The guest of honour was Bishop Borys Gudziak, who ministers to Ukrainian Greek-Catholics in France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland.  He is also President of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU), and has been a big influence in my life over the past fifteen years.  After the end of the Soviet Union, he went to Ukraine and built up UCU from nothing to become one of Ukraine’s best universities, a beacon of high academic and moral standards.  This is a vivid example of what can be achieved when there is faith in God.

My presidential year has also included a convivium at Farm Street in June 2017, the Easter retreat at Stonyhurst and the Dublin dinner in May 2018.  I represented the Association at the Memorial Mass in Westminster Cathedral for Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor.  He had spent his last years living and working in our home parish of Our Lady of Grace and St Edward in Chiswick.

I am glad that the Stonyhurst Association is giving financial support to the Christian Heritage Centre, a wonderful initiative to make Stonyhurst’s great historic collections more widely accessible.

My warm thanks go to the Association Committee, ably chaired by Simon Andrews, and particularly to the Office Manager, Beverley Sillitoe, who as always, has tirelessly and with great efficiency organised events throughout my year of office.

Robert Brinkley CMG OS 72