Margaret Hebblethwaite will explore her discovery of the small town where she lives in the Paraguayan campo, which for her has long been a symbol of Bethlehem
Margaret is an author, journalist and theologian, with experience in Ignatian retreat-giving, biblical teaching to students, prison work, and English teaching to the rural poor in Latin America. For the last 15 years she has been running an educational charity in rural Paraguay, which she founded: the Santa Maria Education Fund.
Margaret Hebblethwaite was educated at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and the Gregorian University in Rome, and has written many books of theology for a general readership. From 1991 to 2000 she was Assistant Editor at the international Catholic weekly, The Tablet, until she gave up her job in 2000 to go and live in Santa María de Fe, Paraguay, as a sort of freelance missionary. She is still there today. For many years she wrote a monthly column, “From the South” in The Tablet about the life of the poor in Santa María (2000-2010), extracts from which were subsequently published as a book. In Paraguay she organises a programme of English teaching to the rural poor, and teaches Bible studies, at the Institute in Santa María, where students from poor families receive a free tertiary-level education.
Her principal areas of writing are Ignatian spirituality, feminist theology, biblical theology, liberation theology and travel-guide writing.
She has contributed to many programmes on radio and television (including a BBC Radio 4 programme for Good Friday 2003 from Santa María, called “Room of the Passion”; a BBC television documentary about the 2005 conclave “White Smoke”; BBC Radio 4 “Excess Baggage” 18 September 2010; “Heart and Soul” BBC World Service radio 16 March 2013; a BBC Radio 3 programme “The Baroque and Beyond” 17 March 2013).