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franciscan - January 2002

© The Society of Saint Francis, 2001

Community Routes

Bermuda bound

‘Faith Odyssey 2001’ marked the 375th anniversary of St Mary’s Church, Warwick, on the island of Bermuda – the climax being the week of mission events from 7-14 October, led by Bishop John Sentamu. Anselm was present in a supportive rôle with the task of leading daily Bible studies for the mission team, speaking at the prayer breakfast, and preaching at the final Sunday eucharist when the Bishop of Bermuda confirmed 14 candidates. He had a wonderful time and enjoyed the generous hospitality of his old friend Andrew Doughty (Rector of St Mary’s and member of our Third Order), his wife Rosie, and the family.

Into Africa

James Anthony, working in a theological college in Africa, writes with his news and a sketch of life at Rondo:

‘For the last three years I have had the great privilege of being the Warden of St Cyprian’s College, Rondo, in the diocese of Masasi, which covers most of southern Tanzania. The college is in a beautiful spot, high up on a cool plateau, not far from the coast.

‘At the moment there are twelve students at different stages of training, with their wives and children, and three members of staff. There is also a Junior Seminary on the same site, started recently, with 35 students following a secondary school syllabus. They have their own headmaster with four other teachers. Altogether there are over one hundred people living on the campus.
‘It is impossible in a few words to give more than a sketch of life at Rondo. We have our joys and sorrows, our crises and our uneventful days. I think of the midnight drama of rushing a student with cerebral malaria to the hospital 25 miles away; the great feast of St Cyprian’s day, with singing and dancing and an exciting football match with the local village; the sorrow in which we shared when a logging lorry overturned on the road, crushing 13 passengers from the same village.

‘Please pray for the life of St Cyprian’s; for the students, the young men and women with so many obstacles yet with so much potential; for those of us, so aware of our inadequacy, who try to be there for them.’

Ministers 2001

The Old Parsonage, Freeland was the venue for the annual Ministers’ Meetings this year. Nine Ministers from all Provinces of the First Order, together with the two General Secretaries, met (as the Standing Committee of the First Order Chapters) for two weeks at the end of August. This was the last meeting for Damian, Justus and Teresa, who all go out of Office before the next meeting, so there was an awareness of the ending of an era for the group, most of whom have worked together and supported each other for several years. The hospitality of the Second Order sisters was much appreciated as was the hospitality received from the Benedictines of Elmore and Burford and the sisters at Fairacres who were visited during the weekend between meetings.

N-u-L Departure

Twenty-seven years of the Community of St Francis’ presence at Greystones, Newcastle-under-Lyme, concluded on 1 August with a Service of Thanksgiving in the parish church. There was a mixture of affirmation of CSF, gratitude to God, and the sadness of an ending, as Greystones has been a place of prayer and hospitality throughout this time. Its large, and largely wild, garden provided an extended place of quiet for people seeking refreshment in retreat or rest from home circumstances. Sisters have had various other ministries from the house, in the local parish, the diocese, and on mission teams further afield. Some of this presence and ministry will continue in some form, as Teresa will remain resident in the parish.

Birmingham Move

After a long period of uncertainty, the Birmingham brothers have finally moved house, as part of the clearance and redevelopment programme on the Ley Hill Estate. Saint Clare’s House now occupies a maisonette above a shop at the top of Ley Hill, with the chapel and a ‘youth flat', where the brothers can continue with the work developed earlier in Claerwen Grove. A more private house on the neighbouring Bangham Pit estate, five minutes walk away, has space for study, relaxation and the brothers’ communal meals. Two brothers presently live on each site.

CCC to ARC

At its annual conference in Ditchingham in September, the representatives of Anglican Religious Communities in England finally adopted a new constitution (it has been in the melting pot a good many years). The Communities Consultative Council Steering Committee came to an end and a more widely representative will replace it, following elections this winter. The annual meeting will now be termed Anglican Religious Together, and will continue to meet in the first week of September so, for many, it won’t seem like much change.

CIR

Swiss Protestants, German Catholics, Romanian Orthodox, Egyptian Copts – just part of the huge variety of expressions of the basic impulse to religious life which I experienced at Subiaco, near Rome, in September, writes Helen Julian. I was attending the International Interconfessional Congress of Religious (CIR) for the first time, and found it a very stimulating and encouraging experience. Not only was it good to meet brothers and sisters from Europe and America but also to hear from speakers – Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox and Anglican – about an important figure in their tradition of prayer, and to discover a lot of common ground between them all.

For the four Franciscans there (myself, Gregory, Nicholas Alan, and a Capuchin from Malta) the highlight was our visit to Sacro Specco. A complex of churches is built around the cave where Benedict spent several years in prayer, and in a side chapel is a fresco of St Francis, probably painted during his life-time. Prayer seemed to come easily, and words weren’t necessary. But I have resolved to try to improve my French before 2003, when the next CIR takes place – it’s no place for monoglots!

New Books

Some of Anselm’s St Bene’t’s sermons have been collected in a limited edition though some copies are still available for sale (contact Cambridge Friary for details).

The late Brother Ramon and Simon Barrington-Ward’s Praying The Jesus Prayer Together, from BRF, is now available, price £6.99.

A Sense of the Divine, published by Canterbury Press and edited by Austin, Nicholas Alan and Tristam, price £18.99, is now in the shops: it provides daily readings through the Christian Year, the texts being translations from the early Franciscan sources.

RIP

The First Order has experienced Sister Death three times since the last issue:

Brother Paul SSF died on Monday 30 July 2001. He was aged sixty-four years and in the fifteenth year of his Religious profession. Paul had been suffering from cancer for some months and had entered hospice care in the last few days of his life. He was buried at Hilfield on 3 August.

Sister Veronica CSF died on Thursday 30 August 2001. She was aged ninety-one years and was in the forty-ninth year of her Religious profession. Her funeral and requiem were at Hythe on 21 September 2001 and her ashes interred at Compton Durville on 8 November 2001, after the Eucharist.

Brother Aidan SSF died on Friday 14 September 2001 in Dorchester Hospital, after a long illness. He was aged sixty-eight years and in the fortieth year of his religious profession. His funeral and requiem took place on Thursday 20 September 2001 at Hilfield Friary.

Round up

 

Phyllis was admitted to the College of Evangelists at Lambeth Palace on 25 October.

At Worcester Cathedral, on 24 November, Raymond Christian was admitted as a Lay Canon.
Nan returned from Leave of Absence in September and is resident at Brixton.
Peter Douglas (Needham) and Seraphim (Elfeky) have been released from membership of the First Order.
Lincoln Harvey has withdrawn from the noviciate.
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