Festivals/Seasons & Holy Days

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Prayers for all NHS & Key Workers

The Sisters and Brothers of the Society of St Francis are very conscious of the incredibly serious situation facing the country at this time caused by the new strain of the Coronavirus. We are particularly aware of the challenges faced by our NHS and Front Line workers and of the physical, emotional and mental stress they are currently facing. One of the small things we feel we may offer at this time is the assurance of our continuing prayers: We will hold all affected by COVID19 in our hearts, in our prayers and in the Daily Office and Eucharist.

Scriptural Rosary in London

Brothers Finnian and Tobias are leading a Scriptural Rosary Group in London. The meeting take place in St Vedast Alias Foster on Fridays at 11.00am (opposite St Paul’s Tube Station). It is envisaged that the group will move to the Friary Chapel in Balaam Street in the new year. The group have a Facebook page which may be accessed by clicking here The recitations are also live-streamed on the Facebook page. +

The Daily Office SSF

We’ve recently received some enquiries about buying a copy of The Daily Office SSF. Unfortunately we no longer have copies for sale but you may be able to find a second hand copy on the internet.

Vocations Event in Southwark!

Life as a Franciscan Sister or Brother… could this be for me? A day to explore Franciscan Community life in the Church of England

  • Franciscan sisters and brothers share their stories of God’s call and their life in community
  • DVDs on St Francis and Franciscans today to help us reflect, with opportunities for discussion
  • Time for your questions…
  • Lunch, tea & coffee provided.

DATE: Saturday 28th March 2020 10.00am – 4.00pm

Location: The Community of St Francis, St Alphege Clergy House, Pocock Street, London, SE1 0BJ

Booking Essential

To book: Contact Sue CSF (click here) or phone 0207 928 7121 with your name and contact details.

Two new Novices for SSF

Br Benedict with Br Anthony (L) and Br John Taylor (R)

On Saturday 18th January 2020 Br Benedict (the Minister Provincial) admitted Anthony Clarke and John Taylor to the Novitiate of the Society of St Francis. Br Anthony and Br John Taylor will remain in Alnmouth before moving to a new Friary in the summer months. God Willing we will be joined by two other men wanting to test their Vocation to Religious Life within the Society of St Francis in February.

Br Ramon SSF

Canon Arthur Howells, a friend of Br Ramon’s, has written a book about Ramon which includes extracts from Ramon’s writings. Entitled A Franciscan Life it is published by the Bible Reading Fellowship and costs £8.99 (ISBN: 9780857466624). Br Christopher John SSF (Minister General of the Brothers of the First Order) writes “…Congratulations to Arthur Howells and BRF for producing a book which encapsulates what I knew of Br Ramon SSF. I really appreciate the way the author has blended the story of Ramon’s life with extracts from Ramon’s own words. And the thematic extracts from his writings provide material for individual or group reflection. Personally, I will be using the book for my daily spiritual reading, as a ‘starter’ for prayer. Thanks for the publication of this book which I am sure will do a lot to help keep Ramon’s teaching alive…”

Br Robert in Manchester

Tories Manchester 2

On St Francis’ day (Sunday 4th October) nearly 85,000 people met in Manchester to protest against the Government’s ‘austerity policies,’ among them Br Robert who sees at first hand the effects of these policies in the course of his ministry. He joined a group of students from the University Chaplaincy and commended – with them – the demonstration to the Intercession of St Francis. Br Robert writes “…it was really inspiring to see such a broad range of people and to enjoy the good atmosphere which existed… [but it was also] extremely unfortunate that a handful of people thought it right to throw eggs at delegates; very counterproductive…”

Hope for the Future ‘write-in’ at Hilfield

Br Hugh writes:

On Sunday 14th December, after a sermon in the Eucharist about how John the Baptist prayed (in the desert), practised a simple lifestyle (foraged locusts and camel hair clothes) and engaged in politics (criticising  King Herod’s corrupt taxation system), the Hilfield Friary community enjoyed African Fair Trade honey with home baked rolls for breakfast. Then, in a corner of the refectory,  community members and guests held a Hope For The Future ‘write-in’, shown in the photo, to their various MPs asking them to get realistic climate change policies into their manifestos before the General Election next May. We asked ‘ What is in your party’s manifesto that will enable the UK to reach the target of at least an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as set out in the 2008 Climate Change Act’. The completed letters (with environmental pictures by those too young to write) lay in front of the altar in the Friary chapel for the rest of the day. By combining prayer, practice and politics – with  proclamation on the internet – we hope we are walking in the sandals of the Prophet John.

For further details of the campaign see www.hftf.org.uk.

HFTF write-in at Hilfield

“Tea and Taize” – a new initiative in Byker.

The Brothers of St Anthony’s Friary in Byker have begun a new initiative entitled “Taize and Tea.” The services (which are about 45 minutes long) are held in St Anthony’s Church in Byker. There will services on Saturday 15th November and Saturday 6th December both starting at 4.00pm


Taize Poster

St Edwold’s Hermitage.



When the new hermitage at the Friary, constructed this summer by Jonathan, Nick, Alex and other friends, was dedicated by Bishop Nicholas of Salisbury at the Stigmata Festival in September the building was named after St Edwold of Cerne. Little is known of this Saxon saint except that he was the brother of Edmund, the Christian King of the East Saxons, murdered by the Vikings in the 9th Century and buried at St Edmundsbury, and that he lived as a hermit in the neighbourhood of Cerne sometime towards the end of the ninth century. Although Franciscans are usually known for being out and about ‘in the world’, there is also a long tradition, going back to the time of St Francis, of brothers and sisters spending periods of time dedicated to prayer and solitude. St Edwold’s Hermitage at the Friary provides a space apart from the normal Friary life where members of the Community can go for times of prayer, stillness and reflection – a great blessing!

hermitage4 hermitage1

Staying at a Friary – A Student from the University of St Andrews reflects.

We are very grateful to Alex Taylor (a Divinity Student at the University of St Andrews) for giving his permission to reproduce an article he first wrote for the newsletter of his local Church (All Saints Episcopal Church). Alex is part of a group of students and townspeople who come to visit Alnmouth Friary on a regular basis:

“…The former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey once described Anglican religious orders as being ‘the best kept secret in the Church of England.’ This is a great shame, for the monastic life offers some of the richest experiences of Christian service and worship.

On the weekend of Palm Sunday, a group largely composed of students, including a good number from All Saints, went on retreat to the Franciscan Friary at Alnmouth in Northumberland. Alnmouth is one of the main houses of the Society of St Francis, a Franciscan order whose emphasis is on serving God in the whole of creation. The friary is set on the Northumberland coastline with beautiful views out over the sea on one side and the countryside on the other. It is the home to a small number of friars who combine a life of prayer and worship with a dedication to service and friendship of all. And of course, it is the spiritual home of a good many more people who have found God’s love and presence more fully realised in the silence of the chapel or the fellowship of the table. Continue reading

The Metheringham Labyrinth

The Sisters at San Damiano, in partnership with the Diocese of Lincoln, have put a labyrinth in their garden. A labyrinth provides a path for a meditative walk. It can symbolise the ‘inner journey’ to the Centre, to God, and to stillness, and the ‘outward journey’, taking that centeredness with us into our daily activities. Unlike a maze, there are no dead ends and no possibility of getting lost, so long as one keeps one’s eyes on the path and doesn’t try to anticipate the turns in it.

The labyrinth at San Damiano will be dedicated by Bishop Christopher on Wednesday 28th May when there will a Eucharist in the chapel at 6.30pm, then the dedication of the labyrinth, followed by a ‘bring and share’ supper, with an opportunity also, to walk the labyrinth. If you live near enough to join us, you will be very welcome to attend – please let us know you intend to come, as our chapel isn’t terribly big.

After 28th May, the labyrinth will be available for walking every week, Wednesdays to Sundays, depending a bit on other events that may be happening in the house. It is situated in the grass by the turning circle in front of the house.


The Labyrinth

The Labyrinth