Why after you?
Brother Samuel SSF was the Minister Provincial for the European Province and is based at Hilfield Friary in Dorset.
I was scared stiff the first time I met Franciscan friars; their way of life seemed to me as an outsider to be extreme, foreign, just so different from everything else I had ever known, but perhaps even then I had a hidden sense that the Lord might be tugging me this way. However much I tried to avoid the issue, Franciscans kept crossing my path – a friend taking me to the friary at Plaistow for supper where there clearly wasn’t enough to eat – a Franciscan mission organized in the Liverpool parish where I was a curate – then the opening of a friary in the same city and games of squash with Br Bruce – a meeting with Br Edward at Alnmouth who told me five minutes after I came through the door that my life and ministry would end up on the rocks unless I joined SSF – my first visit to Hilfield on a glorious midsummer day when the whole Dorset countryside seemed to be in bloom. Gradually there came the dawning of an awareness that God might really be calling me to follow in the way of Blessed Francis – the friendship of the brothers whom I got to know better – the desire for regular prayer with others – the excitement of risking everything for the Lord – oh yes, and the Little Poor Man of Assisi himself who became an attractive and inspiring figure rather than just a crazy Italian romantic. Finally, one blustery November day, I turned up at Hilfield Friary wondering whether this wasn’t all some terrible mistake. I can’t say that I’ve never looked back, but after 37 + years I’m still here and want to continue the journey.