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franciscan - May 2004

© The Society of Saint Francis, 2004

Brother Francis SSF, RIP

Brother Francis SSF died on 23 December 2003 in hospital in Brisbane and his funeral mass was at St Philip’s, Annerley.  He had lived for the later part of his life in Australia.  

He was aged ninety-nine years and in the sixty-sixth year of his profession in vows.


A tribute from Brother Anselm SSF 


 Francis, then in his mid-forties - was given to prayer to a degree which rendered him not a very practical person.  He seemed somehow abstracted, so that his picking of hops was slow and vague and clearly just a background for the real business of theological debate with student members of the team in their brown overalls.  Memorable were his Johanine bent, his zeal for Christian unity as then understood among anglo-catholics, his admiration for Paul Couturier.


Later, 1956-7, he was novice master at Glasshampton Monastery, and I was one of his flock.  On Sunday afternoons, as a special treat, we followed him for a walk (talking allowed).  Francis gleefully forged ahead through nettles and brambles, scratched ankles were nothing to him as he regaled us with funny stories and rubbed his hands together. At lecture time he read aloud chapters from Brother Douglas, Apostle of the Outcast, which he was writing at the time and which was published in 1959, dedicated to the Novices of SSF - who felt for him certainly affection and sometimes a sort of bewildered exasperation.


Zambia took him from our Province, then the Solomons, later Australia.  He only returned for visits.  In his Solomon Islands period I met him at Alangaula and on the Sunday afternoon we went for a walk together, yes, through the undergrowth and up a muddy riverbed.  At the top he turned and smiled.  'Do you remember the Sunday afternoon walks at Glasshampton?' How could I ever forget them - or him? f


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