Christopher Pedley SJ
I was born and brought up in Rugby. My father and my maternal grandfather were both converts to Catholicism. My mother was largely brought up by her Anglican relatives and I went to the local CofE primary school, so I have a fairly ecumenical background. However, my secondary schooling was at the local Catholic Secondary Modern School. Both my parents were heavily involved in Scouting and, while I was only briefly a Cub, the value of service embodied in that movement were important in my early life.
My first contact with the Jesuits was through the Chaplaincy at the University of Manchester. I had felt that priesthood was the best way for me to serve God but it was only when I was talking it over with the chaplain, Brian Conway, I realised that the Jesuits best fitted the ideal for which I was looking.
After novitiate in Loyola Hall and Birmingham and Philosophy at Heythrop in Cavendish Square I went to Zimbabwe for Regency. It was just after Independence and, after just over a year teaching at St George’s, I spent a couple of terms teaching at the School of Social Work. That meant going from teaching, among others, the sons of those who had supported Ian Smith to classes which included political commissars with ZANU who had done their previous studies in East Germany and Romania.
I went back to Heythrop for Theology and did my fourth year at WJST in Cambridge Massachusetts. After ordination I joined there team at Loyola Hall where I was also Bursar. That set the pattern for my career where I have often been responsible for money and buildings. Tertianship was in the Philippines followed by more time in retreat work at Craighead in Scotland (now closed).
Jim Crampsey (then provincial) asked me to become Minister at 114 Mount Street where Peter Griffith and I were involved in refurbishing the house to make it suitable for older Jesuits, including installing en suite bathrooms on one floor.
John McDade (then Principal of Heythrop College) asked me to take over as Librarian at Heythrop. I did library studies at Thames Valley University while beginning to work in the Library. I soon became involved with other areas of the administration of Heythrop, editing the report for the Governors that recommended moving to HEFCE funding, acting as Head of Estates, including helping to put in a lift and reorganise the site, and being heavily involved with the purchase of the site.
After thirteen years at Heythrop I have just started a new career joining the parish team at Farm Street.