Profession at Santa Chiara Emerging Fraternity, Grays, Brentwood of London Region

Profession Grays

On Monday 10th January 4 members of the Santa Chiara Emerging Fraternity, Grays, Brentwood of London Region, were Professed into the Secular Franciscan Order – OFS.

They are, from front row left to right – Barbara Sturgess and Jean Bucknell, and back row left to right – Mary McLaughlin, Ursula Robinson. Fr Paul Boagey MHM and Canon Peter Connor OFS are shown in the photo.

What a wonderful occasion! Canon Peter Connor OFS officiated and Fr Paul Boagey MHM concelebrated.

Canon Peter reminded us of the seriousness and commitment to vocation that Profession demonstrates. He encouraged us to think about letting go of temporal things and also emphasized the importance of prayer and meditation to allow space for thoughts of God’s will to enter. He encouraged us to look for opportunities in our own lives to care for the poor and unloved just as St Francis did.

We were left with much to contemplate and were encouraged to go forth in the Franciscan spirit of love, joy, respect, dignity, fairness, compassion and care for others.

Profession Grays 1

5 thoughts on “Profession at Santa Chiara Emerging Fraternity, Grays, Brentwood of London Region

  1. Seeing the wonderful news of the professions at Brentwood is a great joy. The past two years have been challenging for the whole Church, in general, and our Order in particular. The ‘lock downs’ have had an adverse effect upon the Order in the United kingdom and Gibraltar,
    Fraternities have not met, formation training has been put on hold and professions have been delayed. The monthly contributions of our members stopped and the finances are under pressure.
    Speaking as an individual, and not as a member of the National Council, the last two years have been frustrating and I chose to treat it as a spiritual retreat for much of the time, which has strengthened my faith. It has also given me time to look at our wonderful order and ask a number of important questions.

    Will all our fraternity members return?
    Will those partly through in formation drift away?
    If a parishioner asked what do secular Franciscans do? Does the answer come readily to mind?
    Should our local fraternities have a higher profile?
    Does the length of formation need to be so long, bearing in mind , formation continues in fraternity.
    We are not asking people to undergo a PHD! Would it be sensible to have a sense of proportion about the length of formation? , but unforeseen circumstances, such as the pandemic mean we need to consider the spirit of the Rule, The Constutions and the Statutes
    In early Christian history compromises had to made. For example, St Augustine of Hippo applied the principles of the Holy Sacraments when solving the Donatist and Pelagrian controversies.
    When the preaching of Francis and his disciples caused many married man and woman to want to be friars and nuns. But marriage was not allowed in the orders so Francis created a monastic order starting the Third Order in 1221.
    in difficult and challenging times, ways can be found to find solutions, without altering the Rule, Constitution and Statues.
    I believe that our National Council, under the leadership of Betsy, have managed to face up to and find sensible solutions that arose within to past two years.
    Our Order now faces the challenge of picking up the pieces caused by this wretched pandemic and by commitment, love and committed steps we will grow stronger, and in years to come look back and realise that the experience of the past two years was a springboard to a glorious future for our Order

    1. Some interesting questions formed in your ‘lockdown’!
      I am a new visitor to the Chester fraternity and have yet to embark on formation…so, perhaps I can offer a thought or two from this perspective.
      I do think that a higher profile is necessary and that would include highlighting what Secular Franciscans commonly actually do. This might include the personal spirituality but also ways that members interact in the catholic community and any special ministries or actions they are involved with.
      I think speaking at masses or in schools might be a good thing if the right people can be found with the gift to do this. Maybe each fraternity could work as a team to descend on a parish , give some presentation and then mix with parishioners during their normal post-Mass coffee.
      Length of formation: it might be an idea to assess an individual to judge the knowledge and community involvements they already have. Some enquirers may know virtually nothing while others may have written books on Franciscan theology. Some might have a good knowledge base but perhaps lack spiritual maturity. So I agree with you that some flexibility and compromise may be beneficial.
      Opportunities to visit Franciscan communities together with other secular Franciscan, and participate in their life and work for a few days might foster that fraternity feeling and also give a greater sense of living the Franciscan life. Maybe this already happens. I am not sure what facility the Order has for retreats and working retreats already!
      Anyway, those are some thoughts from a new guy.

  2. Hi Terry
    I’ve only just seen this – having had a visitor in our fraternity mention it. It was a wonderful privilege to be able to attend professions recently, especially when they have been so eagerly awaited for so long.

    All of the points you raise are valid and interesting. I so understand why you are making them now, at this particular time. I think they deserve proper consideration and discussion – hopefully with the outcome of an action plan. Some of the points are pertinent at a parish and fraternity level, some are pertinent nationally.
    Now that National Elections are taking place in October it would be good to formulate ideas more clearly. We look forward to being in touch with you again soon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *