Dr Gemma Simmonds

On Holy Thursday Dr Simmonds offered a day of interesting and compelling presentations. Dr Simmonds is a theologian at the Jesuit Heythrop College in London. She invited the Chapter participants to reflect crucial issues relating to patriarchy, masculinity and violence. Many of these issues are relevant during Holy Week at a time when we are exposed to the impact of violence, injustice and distorted religious ideas on Jesus. Jesus sought to transform patriarchal relations by offering a new vision of humanity, masculinity and compassionate presence.

Dr Simmonds helped us to understand how deep-seated ideologies and assumptions can distort our relationships with others. The effect on our experiences of life in the Church of some of these unconscious dimensions has contributed to distortions, many of them damaging over the longer term. The call to compassion and liberation involves a deep discernment of underlying patterns of behaviour and attitudes that imprison the spirit.

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