Skip to main content
St Catharine's College, Cambridge Search

Chaplaincy and spiritual wellbeing

Welcome to the chaplaincy and spiritual wellbeing page.

This page offers resources for nurturing our spiritual side - you are welcome to use these resources whether or not you would consider yourself religious. 

If a resource applies only to a particular faith tradition, this will be indicated - and may be a good way to learn about a tradition you're less familiar with. You're very welcome to dip in - I'll aim to replenish these resources every so often, and especially with the changing of the seasons and the evolving context in which we find ourselves.

Please do contact me if you'd like to chat about anything to do with spiritual wellbeing, as well as general wellbeing  - as part of the welfare team I'm here to support all students, staff and Fellows, of any faith or none. 

Rev'd Ally Barrett

Thought for the week

Remembrance and Sacred Spaces (written by Lex Bradley Stow, ordinand on attachment)
This reflection comes from the Christian Tradition, but is compatible with many faiths, and accessible to those of no faith

Psalm 139 Retold (particularly for Transgender awareness week and day of Remembrance)
This reflection is based on one of the Psalms, which is a sacred text for both Jews and Christians.


Resources for reflection

  • watch this space - lots of lovely things are in progress...

Practical activities

  • Get outside in Advent - a wonderful resource (kindly shared by Hilary Bond) of simple actions to take in the run up to Christmas to get outside and get in touch with nature. This resource comes from the Christian tradition, drawing inspiration from St Francis, but can be used by anyone. 
  • Decorate a pebble - pick up a pebble from the ground, and decorate it with acrylic paint, or even just pens - use images that remind you of your self worth, your value as a human being, and keep it on your desk as a reminder, or put it in your pocket so the weight and shape of it is always with you.  You could also make one for a friend.  
  • Go for a walk - there are some walking routes, of varying lengths, on the welfare hub, with maps and photos if you'd like to do them on your own.  You can make a walk into something spiritual by taking time to breathe, pay attention to the wonder of creation around you, pause and ask a blessing on the people you pass, and reflect on your own spiritual journey as you undertake a physical journey.  Once conditions allow, the Chaplain will advertise the termly 'Long Walk' to Ely (18 miles, and you'll need decent boots, but it is flat!), which ends with the option to go into the Cathedral and let Evensong wash over you. 
  • Get your hands dirty - get some pot plants (perhaps from the freshers' welfare plant sale) and nurture them. Maybe even join the College gardening club, which has its own allotment.  Getting mud on your hands, and having the satisfaction of growing things you can eat, is wonderful for physical and spiritual wellbeing. 
  • Love your food - consider developing a practice of being thankful for food - think about who made it, where the ingredients may have come from, and who served it to you, and before you eat, send up a thought or prayer of thanks for all that sustains us. And if you'd like to send a thank you card to our amazing kitchen staff every so often, that would make their day :-)
  • Go green - some people experience the need to be more sustainable as a spiritual matter as well as a moral and practical imperative.  There are loads of ways to get involved in sustainability work at Catz, and I'm always very happy to talk green with anyone who shows any interest in this!

Prayers in the Christian tradition

  • 'Topical prayers' connecting with living in the world, live events, etc. from the Church of England
  • Daily Prayer from the Church of England - this page offers links to a set of short services, updated daily, that you can use alone or with a friend.

Prayers from other faith traditions

I haven't included prayers from other traditions here yet, because they are not mine to offer, and each prayer comes with its own meanings and values.
If you would like to suggest a favourite prayer, prayerful practice, or spiritual quotation from your own tradition that you think others might find helpful, please contact the Chaplain.  

Meanwhile, to find out more about various faith traditions, including prayer and spirituality, or to find a place of worship in your own tradition, follow this links on this page, or contact the Chaplain for more suggestions.