Project Description

Emma Youens

“I had journeyed quite a distance before I was finally received into the Church as a young adult.”

I began to study theology at the age of 40, at Newman University. This adventure took me to places I could not have imagined – it opened up a whole new world to me. I’d never been happier!

I was a pupil at a large Church of England Comprehensive school in London when my journey into the Catholic Church began. Passing the doors of Westminster Cathedral every morning on my walk from Victoria Station, I soon began to be a regular attender at the early Mass in one of the side chapels. So began my big teenage rebellion – and it was regarded as such, by my family!

From weekly Mass at Ealing Abbey, to the monthly young people’s group with Cardinal Hume in Archbishop’s House, I had journeyed quite a distance before I was finally received into the Church as a young adult, at the Catholic Chaplaincy in Newcastle upon Tyne.

My ever increasing family found a home with the Dominicans in Newcastle – my four little girls always insisted on occupying the front bench! We all had a great experience of school/parish life. As I journeyed further, read more widely, I knew I wanted to learn more, explore more deeply. When the time was right, and by now living in Birmingham, I began to study theology at the age of 40, at Newman University. This adventure took me to places I could not have imagined – it opened up a whole new world to me. I’d never been happier!

However, from the good things – the home I found, the study which thrilled me, the school chaplaincy work I went on to do, which I loved, my experience within the Church has also led me to some very dark, tragic and unspeakable places. I tried to leave, felt I needed to leave but kept being drawn back. Somehow, all these years on, I am still here, still journeying, still questioning, rebelling, despairing, yet rejoicing and discovering … and delighting in the journeying with so many other wonderful and courageous women!

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