Margaret Hebblethwaite

margaret hebblethwaite

Margaret Hebblethwaite is an author, journalist and theologian, with experience in prison work, Ignatian retreat-giving, preaching to students, English teaching to the rural poor in Latin America, and travel-writing.

From 1991 she was assistant editor at 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.

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. Margaret has lived in Santa María since 2000 and for many years wrote a monthly column, “From the South” in The Tablet about the life of the rural poor (2000-2010). She is the founder of a charity called the Santa María Education Fund which she runs 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.

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).


The Theology of Penance (with Kevin Donovan, Mercier Press, Dublin and Cork, 1979)
Motherhood and God (Geoffrey Chapman, London, 1984)
Through Lent with Luke (Bible Reading Fellowship, London, 1986)
Way of St Ignatius (HarperCollins, London, 1987, 2nd edition 1994, 3rd edition 1999)
Basic is Beautiful (HarperCollins, London, 1993)
Base Communities: an introduction (Geoffrey Chapman, London, 1993)
Six New Gospels: New Testament Women tell their Stories (Geoffrey Chapman, London, 1994)
Stations of the Cross (Hunt and Thorpe, Hampshire, 1998)
Conversations on Christian Feminism (with Elaine Storkey, HarperCollins, London, 1999)
The Next Pope (with Peter Hebblethwaite, HarperCollins, London, & HarperSanFrancisco, 2000)
The Living Spirit Anthology (Canterbury Press Norwich, 2000)
Opening the Scriptures (Continuum, London and New York, 2001)
Bridges of Hope (with 5 other authors, CAFOD/ Darton Longman and Todd, 2001)
The Bradt Guide to Paraguay (Bradt Travel Guides, 2010)
From Santa Maria with Love (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2011)

Pastoral and professional experience:

Prison chaplaincy work 1984-86
Accompanying Ignatian retreats, especially in daily life, 1982-91
Catechesis of children and adults 1986-91
Parish work on Blackbird Leys housing estate on the outskirts of Oxford, 1988-94
Catechist, Exeter College, Oxford University, 1994-98 (a preaching position)
Assistant Editor of the Tablet, 1991-2000
Writer of the monthly “From the South” column in The Tablet 2000 - 2010
Freelance missionary in Paraguay since 2000, running the Santa María Education Fund.
Delta qualified teacher of EFL, running a free English course for the poor in Paraguay (2000 - 2013)
Speaker at many conferences and in adult education, two of the most recent being the
- Romero Lecture at Notre Dame University in 2001,
- and an Australian lecture tour in 2002 for the Australian Network of Spiritual Direction
Frequent contributor on Catholic Church affairs for the BBC, including
- reportage from Rome on the election of Pope Benedict XVI
- and from Latin America on the election of Pope Francis.

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