Skip to main content

Sister Nathalie Becquart

One of the Catholic Church’s leading figures has been welcomed to Durham University.

Sister Nathalie Becquart delivered the Bishop Dunn Memorial Lecture 2023 and opened a ground-breaking research symposium concerning what the Catholic Church can learn from six major Protestant traditions.

Global Synod process

Sister Nathalie has a key role in the global Synod process established by Pope Francis.

The Synod is the largest grassroots listening process undertaken by the Catholic Church and aims to renew processes of participation, governance and mission in the life of the Church.

Professor Anna Rowlands, of Durham’s Department of Theology and Religion, will support the Synod process through a two-year secondment that will see her work with the General Secretariat of the Synod, and the Dicastery (Department) for Integral Human Development of the Holy See (Vatican). 

Sister Nathalie, who is Undersecretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod, spoke on the topic of Why Ecumenism and Synodality Go Hand-in-hand.

Ecumenical learning

The Bishop Dunn Memorial Lecture is being followed by the two-day symposium. A total of 140 church leaders and scholars will be looking at how ecumenical learning - where different religious traditions learn from each other to deepen their own identities and bring those traditions closer together - might be developed and applied in respect of the Catholic synodal process.

The Centre for Catholic Studies is a leading research centre into the idea of receptive ecumenism and the University has one of the highest-rated departments of Theology and Religion in the UK and internationally. 

UK and world leader in Theology and Religion

Durham is third in the UK, according to the Complete University Guide 2023, and sixth in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023, for its strengths in Theology and Religion. 

Arts and Humanities at Durham is also ranked 32nd in the world in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023 and 33rd in the THE World University Rankings by Subject 2023.

Find out more

  • The Bishop Dunn Memorial Lecture is held annually in memory of Bishop Kevin Dunn, the 12th Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, who was a great supporter of the development of Catholic theology and Catholic studies at Durham.
  • The symposium has been convened by Professor Paul D. Murray, Director of Durham University’s Centre for Catholic Studies, which is a centre for critically constructive Catholic studies, working in close partnership with the Catholic Church and other organisations, in multiple ways, to produce future leaders, foster talent, and promote the growth of Catholic scholarship locally and globally. See more about its work in receptive ecumenism.
  • Discover more about Professor Anna Rowlands’ secondment to the General Secretariat of the Synod, and the Dicastery for Integral Human Development of the Holy See (Vatican). 
  • Our Department of Theology and Religion is one of the most varied and dynamic in the UK; our Department is a place where ‘belief’ and ‘beliefs’ are taken seriously, respected, and studied. Together, we form a lively and welcoming community to those of all faiths and to those of none. Feeling inspired? Visit our Theology and Religion webpages for more information on our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes including our new MA in Catholic Theology (Distance Learning)