I am not a member of the Catholic church - or any other church for that matter.

I confess: I like the trappings of Christianity that I experienced in my childhood – hymns, responses, solemnities, familiar moral stories - but I have no faith. At times, I wish I did! It might be comforting in this fractured world to have faith in something higher, something more than the mess humans are generally making of our planet. It would perhaps be more positive to have ‘a point to it all’ or a source of strength in adversity. But faith seems to me to be something you have or don’t have. There’s not really an in-between. And I’m firmly in the ‘don’t have’ category.

Having said all that, I absolutely value the Catholic heritage, ethos and ongoing mission here at Leeds Trinity. I love the fact the university was founded with a social conscience, by women who believed in opportunities for all. That social conscience continues today. I value the fact that should I need it, there is a place I can go for peaceful reflection, people I can find to talk about whatever is on my mind with acceptance, without caring whether I am a person of the Christian faith, another faith or none at all. I can turn up to Tea on the Landing for a crumpet and be met with a smile.

It is true that there could be community here without the religious heritage. There could be policies and strategies to promote social justice without any reference to Catholicism, Christianity or religious belief of any kind – a moral compass is not reserved for those who follow a faith system. So as a person of no faith, why do I care about preserving the heritage of those sisters who founded the university here? If the chaplaincy mission is ‘faith making its power felt through love’ but you don’t share that faith, there is still love. That love is the beating heart of the university. It is Trinity. I may be a person of no religious faith, but I have faith in that.

Profile photograph of Jo Wilkinson.