Ask ... Seek ... Enquire
Is Christ calling you to life and ministry as an Anglican Franciscan brother?
- Are you inspired by Francis and Clare and the way they followed in the steps of Christ?
- Can you help us live the gospel of Jesus Christ in a radical and fresh way?
- Are you a single man, 21 – 45 years old,* physically fit, of sound mind, capable of living in community and engaging in manual work?
* Our normal age range can be varied in exceptional circumstances.
All Franciscans seek to follow Christ, in the particular way shown by St Francis and St Clare of Assisi. These saints lived in Italy in the thirteenth century, and heard the call of Christ to a radical living of the gospel. Giving away all his possessions, Francis cared for lepers, preached the Good News and greeted people with the peace of Christ. Clare was inspired by him to embrace a live of radical poverty and prayer. Others soon joined them and their simple way of life.
They were also the inspiration which led to the Society of St Francis, founded in the Anglican Church in the early twentieth century. Our First Order Brothers (SSF) live in community houses (friaries) in urban and rural settings. We make life vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and seek to live balanced lives of prayer, study and work, in a spirit of humility, love and joy.
The common life is expressed in prayer, working together and fellowship around the altar and the meal table, We aim to build one another up in love by the grace of God, and to bear one another’s burdens. Our houses welcome all as brothers and sisters and fellow pilgrims on the path to God, with the hospitality of Christ.
Work includes the ordinary tasks of life, as well as a wide range of ministries, drawing on the gifts of each brother.
All Franciscans share a concern for justice and peace, seeing all people and all of creation, after the example of Francis, as brother and sister. This concern leads to a care for the created world, a deep respect for all life, a simple life style, and a desire to share what God has given us with others.
In our Province of the Divine Compassion we have brothers (friars) in:
- Korea: www.francis.or.kr
- Sri Lanka.
Other brothers are in England, the USA, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, and Anglican Franciscan sisters (Community of St Francis) are in Korea, the UK and USA. For further details: www.anglicanfranciscans.org
If you want to know more about our life or just to explore things further, please get in touch. Give a few details about yourself and your faith and why you are interested. If you want to come and visit one of our communities we can then arrange convenient dates.
We also hold enquirers’ programmes from time to time to which we invite potentially suitable candidates. These programmes help people explore their possible vocation further and include some times of study and reflection, the opportunity to meet some of our brothers and ask questions about Anglican Franciscan life, as well as experiencing times of shared prayer and work.
Stages of Discernment
The first years in community are spent trying to discern if you are where God wants you to be. When you first decide that you want to 'try your vocation' as brother, you contact one of the names above and arrange a visit. If you're still interested then come more interviews, lots of prayer, some worry, the voices of your friends or family who say incredulously, 'You're going to WHAT???' Finally, with the blessings of the Novice Guardian and the Minister Provincial, you settle your affairs, pay your debts, and enter the Society of St. Francis as a postulant.
There are three stages to becoming a life-professed brother: Postulancy, Novitiate, First Profession, then Life Profession. After some months as a postulant, we become novices and are given a habit (brown Franciscan clothing). After a few years of training, living with our brothers, and working in various houses, we ask to be elected to First Profession. Three to ten years after that, we ask to be elected to Life Profession and take our final vows.
Throughout this process, we ask for God's guidance. We try to pay attention to our thoughts and our feelings about the life we are trying to lead. We travel the Way of the Cross with Jesus, in the spirit of St. Francis. We learn that God asks us and that we ask each other to sacrifice our own will for the will of God; to sacrifice our own desires in order to be one with all God's creatures. For all the struggles and challenges of religious life, the rewards are very great. What we give up, we receive. We find part of that 'treasure in heaven' which Jesus promises those who serve - simplicity, generosity and freedom - Come join us!
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