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A SIMPLE LIFE: ROLAND WALLS AND THE COMMUNITY OF THE TRANSFIGURATION – JOHN MILLER

Thank you to John Miller for writing up a history of this humble, ecumenical Community based at Roslin in Scotland. Their members, taking the three-fold vow, lived so close to the Gospel for 50 years (from1965) in joyful abandonment of self under ‘a rule that can only be undertaken in faith’. They never exceeded five in number, yet their influence has been widely felt within the church, but just as much amidst countless other humble folk whose lives touched theirs as students, co-workers, wayfarers, guests, or neighbours or through ‘spiritual accompaniment’.

This history covers the stories of those they encountered as much as what may be learnt from the Community’s own history. Their life was strongly influenced by the witness of the Little Brothers of Jesus and the Worker-priests, by exploring the Jewishness of Jesus, by visiting Assisi, and engaging with L’Arche and their neighbour Cistercian monastery at Nunraw. Each Brother had individual huts erected in the garden and a chapel striking in its simplicity; the house becoming free for times of sharing.

They were a unique foundation! Roland, highly gifted and full of joyful nonsense; and his Brothers, John, Neil, and for a time Robert and then Jonathan, and one Sister, Patty. Together they gained a huge reputation for prayerful observance, simplicity (fairly extreme), open and genuine hospitality, and making visible what a Franciscan sister observed about them, ‘It is only through poverty that you will receive everything’. Patty wisely was accommodated in the neighbouring village of Loanhead.

Do read this book, it will encourage you, fire your imagination, perhaps renew your own vocation, learning again what is essential to life, what this world is in need of, and where true treasures are to be found.

Their Rule (of Franciscan Hermits of the Transfiguration) is recorded as an appendix, written in a homely style, useful for meditation, and grounded in Godly wisdom.

Damian SSF