Have you a ‘Franciscan heart’?
Would you like to know about
the Order of Franciscans Secular?
To follow Christ in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi.
Francis lived between 1182 and 1226. He had a great religious experience when he heard the voice of God from the Cross in the derelict church of San Damiano in Assisi saying “Francis rebuild my Church which you see is falling down”. Although at first Francis took the message literally, he very soon came to realise that he was meant to bring the spirit of God`s love for all people and for all creation into the Church that desperately needed new life. Francis` simple way of living the Gospel life drew many people to follow him. The Friars Minor and the Poor Clares were established as Religious Orders, but many people who had homes and families also wanted to follow the Franciscan way of life, so Francis established an Order for them, the Secular Franciscans.
These Orders are now 800 years old.
San Damiano Cross
Today this Cross hangs in the Basilica of St Clare in Assisi where all can pray in front of it.
At the heart of the three Franciscan Orders is St Francis, whose life was, and still is, an inspiration to millions of people throughout the world. His message remains one of total love for, and commitment to Jesus Christ and Christ`s values, so clearly revealed to us in the Gospels.
A simple message calls for a simple life, following the way of the Gospel and it is as appropriate today as it was long ago.
Franciscans are asked to take the joy of the love of Christ out to everyone they meet, especially the poor, the sick, the homeless and the lonely.
Secular Franciscans express their Gospel life within the context of ordinary daily living.
They seek to encounter Christ in everyone they meet…..everyone is a child of God and part of God`s wonderful creation.
The OFS is an active and organised community within the Catholic Church, but ALL are WELCOME to join us as visitors to our local Fraternity meetings. If you would like to learn more about the Franciscan life, or if you would simply like encouragement and support on your spiritual path, we would be very pleased to see you.
We are the Ascot Fraternity, one of the oldest Fraternities and our home base is at;
St Francis Church
Sue Douet – telephone: 01344 756 806
Chris Tevlin – telephone: 01252 871 196
We are the Fraternity of Perfect Joy, and our home base is at;
St Joseph and St Margaret Clitherow Church
39 Braccan Walk
We usually meet in the church hall on the 3rd Saturday of the month at 2 pm
Margaret Aburn – telephone: 01344 454 462
Basia – telephone: 01344 442 404
We are the Fraternity of the Holy Spirit and our home base is with the FMDM Sisters at;
We usually meet on the 4th Saturday of the month at 9.45 am for tea/coffee;
the meeting follows at 10.15 am. Mass is at 9 am (optional)
Charles Marriott – telephone: 01798 867 733
Email: charlesmarriott3@ gmail.com
Jennie McManus – telephone: 01483 20 3642
We are the Fraternity of Littlehampton and Worthing, and our home base is;
To Be Advised
Simon Peck – 07972 173 042
St Anthony’s Fraternity, Portsmouth will warmly welcome you at the;
Sacred Heart Church,
We usually meet on the 3rd Saturday of each month at 1 pm.
Esme Vivian – telephone: 01329 319 301
Edward Cuerden – E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Isle of Wight Franciscan Group will warmly welcome you at the;
Our Lady and St Wilfrid`s Church,
Isle of Wight
We usually meet on the 1st Wednesday of the month at at 4 pm.
Simon Peck – 07972 173 042
Blessing of St Francis
May the Lord bless you
and keep you
May He show His face to you
and be merciful to you.
May He turn His countenance to you
and give you peace.
May the Lord bless you.
Southern Region Celebration
Francis and Sultan Malik al-Kamil
on Saturday 10th August 2019
What can we learn from their meeting in 1219?
On Saturday 10th August 2019, the Southern Region held an event at Holly Barn on the Wintershall Estate to commemorate and celebrate the 800th meeting of St. Francis and Malik al-Kamil, the Sultan of Egypt, during the 5th Crusade.
The day was led by Kathy Maskens, National Vice-Minister, and was attended by 36 people, who braved extreme weather conditions to participate in this day of reflection in the heart of the beautiful Surrey countryside.
During the morning session, Kathy introduced and showed the film ‘The Sultan and the Saint’ and we discussed our immediate responses to the film before breaking for lunch. In the afternoon, we broke into small groups to discuss the what we could learn from that historic meeting for the world we live in today, a world still sadly riven with conflict and violence. There was then a plenary session followed by a closing ceremony which included readings and reflections from the faith traditions of Islam and Christianity. We were invited to reflect on what we had experienced during the day and make a personal commitment to do something that would take us further along the path of justice, peace and understanding of people of other faiths.
The following is a sample of feedback from our discussion groups at the plenary session about what was learned from the film for the world we live in today: –
• to listen, learn and treasure, and respect other faiths
• to find the goodness in people despite their sinfulness (failings)
• to look beyond the externals to the inner person where God dwells.
• to be open…..make the first move, speak out, listen, love, care and be prepared to suffer
• Francis and the Sultan had so much in common – their spirituality, humanity and compassion
• Christians and Muslims can live in peace – and they do
• people can so easily be dehumanised
• we were taught in school (Catholic) that the Crusades were a good thing
• Francis was influenced by the Muslim prayer life.
• the universality of God overarching both traditions, and Francis and the Sultan had great trust in God and each other
• even in the culture of war, both men were prepared to learn from each other, and took huge risks for the sake of peace
• the influence of mothers and respect for each other`s faith
• for us today – try to look at both sides of an argument – empathise with the other. Understanding mercy rather than judgement. It starts with us – to take responsibility for our choices and actions
• to meditate on the 99 names of God is a means of transformation
• the love and forgiveness that the Sultan showed to the Crusaders
• Francis and the Sultan were brothers
OFS Ladywell Retreat at Park Place Pastoral Centre, Fareham, Hampshire
on Friday 23rd – 25th November 2018
Park Place Pastoral Centre is a fine Georgian house set in 18 acres of beautiful and peaceful grounds. It is home to a small community of Indian Franciscan nuns, who run the Pastoral Centre for people of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs, encouraging them on their spiritual journey, whatever that may be.
We were warmly welcomed by the Franciscan Sisters and our Retreat was led by Sister Evelyn, who had studied Franciscan Spirituality at St Bonaventure`s University in New York, USA.
As always, our Retreat was open to all those with a `Franciscan heart`. There were 31 people in our group, coming from a wide area including Norfolk and even a Sister from the Cameroon.
The areas covered by Sister Evelyn in her talks were; The Gospel – source of our Franciscan Vision, Franciscan simplicity; Letting go / Letting God; Franciscan Charism – working for Justice and promoting Peace; and finally The Canticle of Creation and our responsibility as Franciscans.
This was the first time we had held our Retreat at Park Place and it was very successful on many levels. We have booked to go back there again on Friday 22nd – 24th November 2019!!
Loving God`s Creation
The OFS Southern Region warmly invited ALL those with a `Franciscan heart` to a Celebration on Saturday August 11th 2018 at Holly Barn, Wintershall.
The theme was Climate Change : A Christian Response, and this was led by Dr Martin Hodson, a plant scientist and environmental biologist, together with his wife Margot, an Anglican Rector.
The day began with an Opening Liturgy led by Betsy Hart, Regional Minister, in which symbols of water, soil, seeds, plants and the Cross were offered in prayer. Martin gave a clear over-view of the current situation regarding climate change and how we can respond to this issue. Margot presented Bible reflections with special reference to God`s Creation.
Charles Marriott, Minister of Ladywell Fraternity spoke about `Praying with Nature` and during the lunchtime, led a walk in the beautiful countryside of Wintershall.
Each Fraternity within the Southern Region had a theme with a Bible verse and they produced interesting displays on – PROTECT our forests and rivers, DEFEND our oceans and rivers, RESPECT nature and all living creatures, and STOP pollution, waste and the throw-away culture.
The day ended with a very special ecumenical Mass for St Clare of Assisi where everyone was regarded as `one family`.
Franciscan Advent Retreat at Ladywell Retreat Centre on 24th – 26th November 2017
This residential weekend Retreat was organised by the Fraternity of the Holy Spirit at Ladywell Retreat Centre, Godalming, Surrey. It was led by Br. John Cavanagh, ofm cap. and was open to ALL with a `Franciscan heart`.
We were encouraged to give ourselves space, time for reflection, the opportunity for spiritual guidance and shared experience over meals. We also needed to be sensitive to others and their need at times for peace and quiet. The spacious grounds and excellent facilities were a good backcloth enabling us to draw closer to God at the beginning of this Advent season.
A Retreat is an opportunity to spiritually take stock. Br. John gently challenged us to review our lives, to face ourselves with all our imperfections. Inner transformation can be painful; change requires healing and a degree of support. We were encouraged to ponder on the basic pattern of our lives . Where am I in relation to God, to myself and to others? We were directed to see that if we answered honestly, we would begin to work towards our spiritual search for God , which is also a search for ourselves.
Br. John, who shared some of his own difficult spiritual journey, pointed us to face ourselves in a loving but honest way, to come out of the shadows into the full light of an intimacy with God. Our Advent journey should be a daily conversion ….. did we look in the mirror and see the image of God?
The closing Reflection was led by Betsy Hart, Southern Region Minister. We were now entering Advent together with the shepherds and the kings……….and the star once more leads us on. The landscape will be the same … but we might be different.
OFS Southern Region Franciscan Celebration
held on Saturday August 12th 2017 at Holly Barn, Wintershall Estate, Bramley, Surrey
For the third successive year, the OFS Southern Region held their `Franciscan Celebration` at Holly Barn. The theme this year was `Called to Be Presence in the World` and around sixty people gathered here for the day including our National Minister, Paula Pearce, together with members of the OFS, FMDM, TSSF and visitors with a `Franciscan heart`.
Betsy Hart, Regional Minister, welcomed everyone and then introduced the Theme of the Day. The main speaker was Rob Hardie, OFS East Anglia. He began his talk with the message that God has His own plan for each and every one of us. Many suggestions had been made to Rob by fellow Secular Franciscan on how they might show their `Presence in the World` .
How do WE show our Presence in the world? This question is for us to discern……..
Additionally we had representatives from four charities, who gave a brief overview of their work.
The Number Five Project – a direct access, short-term emergency night shelter accommodation with support, for homeless men and women over the age of 18 years, who live in or around Guildford.
Street Angels, Guildford – these are volunteers who go out into the town late on a Friday and Saturday night. They help people, whoever they are and whatever their situation, by listening, caring, offering practical help, or by referring people to other specialist agencies who can help them.
Mary`s Meals – is a global movement of people, the vast majority of whom are unpaid volunteers, who simply won`t accept that a child should go hungry in this world of plenty. Every school day they are feeding more than one million children a daily meal in their place of education across fourteen countries.
CAFOD – is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. It fights poverty and injustice in the world, wherever the need is greatest. Its priority is to equip people, regardless of religion or culture, with skills and opportunities to live with dignity, support their families, and give something back to their communities.
There was also information and literature on two other charities who were unable to be with us.
Les Amis – this is a Godalming-based charity, set up by a member of the Ladywell Fraternity in 2007, to serve the poor and needy, especially women in Bukina Faso, Africa.
St-Martin-in-the- Fields , London – they sent copies of their latest newsletter where one could read about how they have helped for over ninety years, in many differing ways, the homeless and vulnerable people around the United Kingdom.
There was an interesting discussion in the afternoon led by Edward Cuerden, Regional Vice Minister, and the day ended with a special Liturgy arranged by Maggie Larkin.
With All Our Prayers, Love and Congratulations
Recently the National Council asked for the Regions to notify them of any Fraternity members who had been ‘Professed’ for significant years during 2016.
As this is the first year that the Southern Region has compiled such a list, we have included all Fraternity who had been Professed for 20 years or more in 2016.
Margaret Oaklands = 23 years; Philomena Chasty = 24 years; Sue Douet = 34 years
Basia Rozychka = 34 years, Margaret Alburn = 35 years; Stan Alburn = 35 years;
Elizabeth Lewis = 36 years
Veronica Motcham = 21 years; Angela Pickford = 21 years; Pat Harris = 23 years;
Margaret Murray = 24 years; Frances Hooper = 36 years; Madeline van Pelt = 42 years;
Ursula Waight = 58 years
Littlehampton & Worthing Fraternity
Elizabeth Caswell = 32 years
Portsmouth & Isle of Wight Fraternity
Gerald Hyde = 20 years; John Vivian = 21 years; Jacquie Cuerden = 35 years;
Edward Cuerden = 35 years; Val O’Donnell = 35 years; Merle O’Driscoll = 40 years;
Colm O’Driscoll = 40 years; Carol White = 40 years
OFS Fraternity of the Holy Spirit, Ladywell, Godlaming, Surrey
Our Franciscan Retreat took place on 18th – 20th November 2016 at Ladywell Retreat Centre. As with the previous year, it was open to ALL those with a ‘Franciscan Heart’, and included OFS and TSSF members, a FMDM Associate, an Assisi Pilgrim, and parishioners from a wide area within the South of England.
This year it was led by Father Jesmond Pawley OFM Conventual, Spiritual Assistant to the OFS Southern Regions. His theme for the weekend was ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good’.
Together with the valuable opportunity to get to know other ‘Franciscans’, the Retreat was a reflective preparation for the coming of Advent.
We shall be arranging another Retreat in 2017 on 24th – 26th November.
OFS Southern Region Franciscan Celebration
held on Saturday August 13th 2016 at Holly Barn, Wintershall Estate, Bramley, Surrey
Here, at Holly Barn, the story of `The Nativity` takes place each Christmas-time, with live actors, a real baby and numerous animals. The Barn is situated at the top of a hill in beautiful, rolling Surrey countryside.
Over forty people gathered here for the day, including members of the OFS, TSSF, FMDM, Assisi Pilgrims and visitors with `Franciscan hearts`. The `Reflection on the San Damiano Cross ` was led by Father Jesmond Pawley OFM Conventual. It was a lively discussion, with Father Jesmond helping us to appreciate why the Cross is so important to Franciscans, to look more deeply at what the different areas of this beautiful painting appear to convey, together with the history of the San Damiano Cross, thoughts on its age, where it was originally painted, and by whom.
The day ended with a short, but inspiring Liturgy arranged by Maggie Larkin, which was held in the adjacent Chapel.
OFS Southern Region Service of Franciscan Renewal
held on Saturday May 7th 2016 at Park Place Pastoral Centre, Wickham in Hampshire
Park Place is a Franciscan House run by the Franciscan Sisters of Mary and the Angels (FSMA) as a pastoral centre for people of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs, who are interested in spiritual matters.
About forty members from the five Fraternities gathered here for the day. During the morning there was a shared reflection on the diverse journeys undertaken by Fraternity members on the way to being ‘Professed’, together with further discussions and thoughts about what is so different about being a Franciscan.
In the afternoon Mass was celebrated by Father Jesmond Pawley OFM Conventual, Spiritual Assistant to the OFS Southern Regions, during which Fraternity members renewed their own Profession commitment. In addition, it was an honour and privilege to witness and support Sibylle Gent (Littlehampton & Worthing Fraternity) and Shaun Howard (Bracknell Fraternity) during their Rite of Profession into the Order of Franciscans Secular.
OFS Fraternity of the Holy Spirit, Ladywell, Godalming, Surrey
Our Franciscan Retreat took place on the 20th – 22nd November 2015 at Ladywell Retreat Centre. It was open to all those with a ‘Franciscan Heart’ and included OFS, TSSF, Assisi Pilgrims and parishioners from a wide area within the South of Engand. It was led by Father Patrick Lonsdale OFM, who is Custos of the OFM Order in Great Britain and a National Assistant of the OFS. Father Patrick is well-known for his wisdom and deep Franciscan spirituality.
It was a time of Peace and Joy for all, in preparation for the coming of Advent.
We shall be arranging another Retreat in 2016 on 18th – 20th November at the
Ladywell Retreat Centre.