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The novices meet at Glasshampton

Back Row l-r: Joseph Emmanuel, Desmond Alban (Novice Guardian)

The Novice Experience (entitled ‘Living our Franciscan Story’) took place from Friday 14th October until Thursday 20th October. Guided by Sr Beverley CSF and Br Desmond Alban SSF, we looked at the subject ‘living our Franciscan Story’ and considered different areas of the Franciscan charism with particular reference to Peace and Justice. Although the conference was based largely in Glasshampton Monastery (where two of the Novices are currently based) we had the opportunity to go to Bartlemas Chapel where we reflected on our commitment to ‘wayfarers’ of the past, present and future, walking in the footsteps of Br Giles (one of the founding fathers of SSF). We were all particularly moved to be shown the grave of a victim of leprosy by one of the archaeologists working on the site and we found ourselves reflecting on the pain and exclusion s/he must have felt in life.

We were fortunate to be aided in our reflections by Br Anselm SSF (who spoke with us about his work campaigning on behalf of those facing torture), Br Hugh SSF (who spoke with infectious enthusiasm on the topic of ‘Passion, Concern, Action’) and Br Samuel SSF who spoke to us about CSF/SSF’s legacy in working for peace and justice, a legacy we are all keen to perpetuate. We were reminded during his talk that our prayerful contemplation and commitment to justice are complimentary; the one feeds the other. As well as far ranging discussion and enthusiastic participation we relaxed together, had an opportunity to ‘tell our story’ and enjoyed time in Oxford together, finishing the day with Evensong in the Cathedral.