Following a degree in Ancient & Modern History at Corpus (1995) and an MA in Pastoral Liturgy at Heythrop College, London, Avril worked as a pastoral assistant in Slough, before becoming the Diocesan Youth Minister for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Northampton. This led her to publish the ‘Y Church’ Report, researching the state of Catholic Youth Ministry, before setting up a diocesan team which included a Northampton missionary community, leadership training for young people, a twice-yearly retreat, an award-winning website and resources for parish youth ministry. Avril was also involved at national level, chairing the group which produced a national document for youth ministry, and was on the board of the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFed).

Helen is a historian of medicine and the body In the classical world and beyond, and retired from The Open University in 2017. Since then she has held a one-year post at Gustavus Adolphus College, MN, to promote interdisciplinary approaches to history. Originally trained in ancient history and social anthropology at UCL, her career began with fellowships at Newnham College, Cambridge, and at Newcastle University, before working at Liverpool Hope University College and Reading University. She has also held visiting roles at the Peninsula Medical School and the universities of Vienna, Texas, Notre Dame and British Columbia. She has published on many aspects of medicine, particularly gynaecology and obstetrics, from classical Greece to the nineteenth century. She is currently an elected member of General Synod and of Ministry Council. In the parish context, as well as preaching and leading intercessions, she had led enquirers’ groups and courses.

Contact the Chapel Homilists

You can reach Avril at

You can reach Helen at