A historical house
For more than four decades Grandpont House has been used for study and academic activities. During this period many generations of students have benefited from the countless speaker meetings, as well as conferences and vacation courses, addressing intellectual concerns of both current and perennial interest. Such activities have involved students, academics from Oxford and other universities, and people from many other walks of life who have wished to contribute or participate.
One-day conferences sponsored by Grandpont House include the following: You and your work (1977), Pre-modern Europe and the modern student: problems of understanding (1989), Words and things: old and new learning in the sixteenth century (1991), Population and development: a briefing on the Cairo Conference (1994).
Among the series of seminars held at Grandpont House have been The two cultures (1964), Aspects of freedom and equality in education (1976), Praising and prizing: symposia on the Nicomachean ethics (1979), Progress and human dignity (1987), Topics in medical ethics (1988), Understanding pre-modern Europe (1989 & 1990), Debating the environment (1990).
The several hundred speaker-meetings have ranged across the full spectrum of academic disciplines, on matters as abstruse as A medieval poet’s advice on budgeting, as technical as Neutrons and Bº bosons: the story of the missing link, and as self-critical as Does the university corrupt youth?
Between 1962 and 1985 an Easter vacation course, entitled Pre-university orientation and study course, took place at Grandpont House. These residential courses for sixth-formers were aimed at helping participants gain a better grasp of what going to university offers and demands from them in terms of academic and personal development; and provided practical direction on the transition from school to university. Though these courses met a pressing need on their inception, by the mid-1980s schools and universities had largely filled the vacuum, and the courses were discontinued.
All these activities have sought to offer those attending opportunities for a Christian formation, based on the conviction that all worthwhile human activities, including academic and cultural, can lead to an encounter with God.
Some of the activities have been primarily religious in nature. Over the years the Chaplain has given several series of doctrinal talks for students, such as the following: Natural law, man and society (1979), The teaching of the Church on the Theology of Liberation (1985 & 1986), Making sense of Church doctrine (1991), The Christian mystery: insights from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1993), The truth will set you free: key themes from Veritatis Splendor (1994 & 1995), The Gospel of Life: moral issues from Evangelium Vitae (1995).
One-day conferences on doctrinal themes, and which are open to professional men, as well as students, have also taken place at Grandpont: The vocation and role of the laity: on the theme of the 1987 Synod of bishops (1986), Authority in the Church: authority and Revelation, authority and morals, authority and law (1989), Making and using money: a practical commentary on the social doctrine of the Catholic Church (1990), Understanding the Bible (1990), The Catholic Church: Vatican II and after (1991), Towards a better world: reflections on 100 years of the Church’s social teaching (1991).
Several series of seminars have been organised specifically for fathers of families: Parents and growing up: formation in human virtues, and boy-girl and parent-child relationships (1989), The stress and strain of life: stress at work, stress in the family, getting used to saying ‘no’ (1994), The Canonisation of Blessed Josemaría Escrivá, Founder of Opus Dei (2002).
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