Religious life Future

Participant information sheet

 About the Research Project


The goal of the project is to understand more deeply the expectations and challenges of religious life for new entrants.  We want to look specifically at the experiences of women who have entered, left, and/or are considering entering congregations since 2000. This project is implemented by three organisations: Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Cambridge; the Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University and the Religious Life Institute, Heythrop College and is funded by the Conrad N Hilton Foundation.


Contact for further information


Sr Gemma Simmonds CJ (

Heythrop College, University of London


María Calderón Muñoz (

Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Cambridge



About your participation in the Research Project


There is no obligation to take part in this study. Likewise, if you decide to participate and then withdraw you can do it at any time by contacting us via the above email addresses. If you agree to take part, you will have the choice either to answer a written questionnaire or to be interviewed face to face. We think either option should not take longer than one hour. If you choose to be interviewed you will again have a choice between talking to a member of a religious congregation (Sr Gemma Simmonds) or to the project’s research assistant (María Calderón Muñoz).


There are no incentives for participation apart from helping us understand better the expectations of women seeking to enter religious life and the challenges they face. We also hope that the experience of taking part will be a positive one for you.


Your participation in this project will be kept confidential. No one will know if you decide or not to take part, including any relevant religious congregation, nor will Sister Gemma Simmonds, as director of the RLI, know the names of any participant unless the participant herself chooses to deal directly with her. We will anonymise any identifiable data and we will not keep records of any personal information about you as an individual.


About the research results and data collected


The anonymised material collected from the questionnaires / interviews will be analysed to look for common themes /patterns. We will then ask a group of theologians to reflect on the research findings and give us an overview of the implications for the future re-configuring of religious life. The final report will be publicly available under the same restrictions of anonymity. You will be given a copy of the report. All raw data will be destroyed at the end of the project.