TSSF Papers

Listed below are the many papers produced by members of TSSF.

These include papers from Third Order Study weeks and weekends along with a variety of papers written by Tertiaries in the European Province.

You can filter the list by selecting  a paper type in the sidebar.

We are now adding papers from the more recent Alnmouth Study and Prayer Weekends. These will be included in the main list shortly.

Here are the papers from the 2013 Alnmouth weekend.

A Formation Paper (Gilian Ayerst) SP2013

Notes for an introduction to Bonaventure (Andrew Baker) SP2013

George Herbert, Priest and Poet…His influence today (Robert Raikes) SP2013 

St Clare and Embracing Formation (Margaret Field) SP2013

Brother Elias (Hugh Beach) SP2013

Following Francis in Prayer (Helen Hood) SP2013

 


A Distorting Mirror - Shame and the Proclamation of the Gospel

Historically, the western Church has emphasised sinfulness – with its accompanying feelings of guilt and shame – as a means of inspiring a desire for holiness and as a prelude to preaching a gospel of forgiveness. Many of the saints of the Church had a deep sense of their own worthlessness and shame; the General Confession in the Book of Common Prayer requires us sinners to confess that we are “miserable offenders” and “there is no health in us”; we are encouraged to perceive ourselves, like the Psalmist, “as a worm and not human” (Ps.22:6). It is only when we recognise ourselves as worthless and sinful creatures, it has been declared, does God give us his salvation, and offer, in his love and generosity, to forgive us.

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A HART for the Hopeless

Caroline Cox, describes her work with her new organisation, HART, established to try to bring light to some of the darkest parts of the world, helping victims of unjust regimes and forgotten people in forgotten lands.

‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
For the rights of the poor and destitute,’ (Proverbs 31:8)

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A Meditation on the three Marks of our Profession

Alnmouth Study Week 5th - 9th October 2009

Peter Dunbar looks at Humility, Love and Joy.

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A place at the table?

Study and Prayer event on the work of Richard Rohr OFM, Freeland Convent, 29th - 31st May 2009

This paper discusses Richard Rohr's ideas on the "Emerging Church"

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A Sparkle of Thy Glory

Looking forward to General Chapter Andy Wilkes does some thinking and theology about his practical experiences of being a Missionary

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Action & Contemplation: From St. Francis to Richard Rohr

TSSF Study Week Alnmouth September 2008.

A paper by Nell Slocock.

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Alnmouth study week 2007

TSSF Study Week, Alnmouth Friary, 12th - 16th November 2007

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Alnmouth study week 2008

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Alnmouth study week 2009

Alnmouth Study Week 5th - 9th October 2009

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Alnmouth study week 2010

This report summarises the 13 presentations, mostly papers, delivered at the 2010 TSSF annual study week.

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Alnmouth study week 2011

A report on the annual TSSF study week at Alnmouth Friary at Francistide, October 2011. The report summarises ten papers that were delivered during the week. Each topic is chosen by the author, but themes that emerged included: the importance of creativity - stories and mandalas; Irish and Franciscan spirituality; pilgrimages and individual faith journeys; reflections on the Franciscan tradition and tertiary life; poverty and wealth; encounters with Islam. Many of the papers may be found on this TSSF Papers web page.

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Alnmouth study week 2012

The Francistide Study Week was held at Alnmouth Friary from 1st to 5th October 2012. The paper "Overview of Oct 2012 study week" gives an overview of the week; copies of six of the papers presented are also available; they are listed below.

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Amos Trust Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Review of a visit to the Holy Land with a party led by Garth Hewitt.

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An Inclusive Theology

This paper raises the issue of the the neglect that is afforded animals, our fellow Earthlings, by the Church and calls for the Church to start to respect animals and to afford them the dignity that they deserve.

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Biodiversity

Biodiversity: Caring for Creation and the Sixth Extinction

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Bishop Martin's Spiritual Newsletters

This page contains the the spiritual newsletters of Rt. Revd. Martin Shaw, formerly Bishop of Argyll and the Isles (www.argyllandtheisles.org.uk). They were written to the Third Order in Scotland, however +Martin has kindly agreed that they may be made available on the website. They be downloaded using the links below:
View PDF


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Book Review: "Hope Against Darkness", Richard Rohr

Study and Prayer event on the work of Richard Rohr OFM, Freeland Convent, 29th - 31st May 2009

Review of Richard Rohr's Book "Hope Against Darkness: The Transforming Vision of St. Francis in an Age of Anxiety", published in 2001 bySt Anthony Messenger Press. ISBN 0-86716-485-9

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Booklist - JPIC 2006

UNDERSTANDING THE ENVIRONMENT: The Contemporary Crisis

BOOKLIST. October 2006

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British Franciscan Schoolmen 1220 – 1350

This paper combines colourful biographical sketches of early Franciscan figures with more academic material on the dominant medieval philosophy of "scholasticism", to which Franciscan thinkers both here and in Europe made such a significant contribution.

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Brother Ramon SSF and Franciscan Spirituality

Alnmouth Study Week 5th - 9th October 2009

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Can there be peace without justice?

A reflection from the perspective of a Christian Peacemaker on whether the oppressed can justly be expected to make peace with their oppressors, and the nature of peace.

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Can Third Order community life be expressed by living together?

Alnmouth Study Week 5th - 9th October 2009

John Wiltshire suggests ways in which TSSF might develop community living.

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Change, Challenge and Summits

Discussion on population growth

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Christa Seva Sangha: Winslow's "shewing"

Alnmouth study week 2010

This Christian experiment in India was foundational for SSF and TSSF, and in showing deep respect for another culture can inspire helpful questions about TSSF today.

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Christian Agnosticism

TSSF Study Week, Alnmouth Friary, 23rd – 27th October 2006.

A paper by John Wiltshire.

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Christian Spirituality A to Z

TSSF STUDY WEEK, Alnmouth Friary, 23-27 October 2006.

A paper by Barbara Frith.

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Christian Zionism

TSSF Study Week, Alnmouth Friary, 12th - 16th November 2007

Christian Zionism is a relatively modern theological and political stance. This essay treats the two aspects separately but they are closely intertwined, the political implications being a direct consequence of the theological belief. A paper by Hugh Beach,

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Christians and the Environment

Challenging our ideas on this important subject for Christians.

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Clare of Assisi: a ‘Little Plant’ or a unique woman?

TSSF Study Week, Alnmouth Friary, 23rd - 27th October 2006

A paper by Leslie Johnson.

Clare of Assisi’s historical legacy has been to describe her as la pianticella, the little plant, of Francis of Assisi. Indeed, Clare describes herself as being exactly that, as, for example, in her Form of Life: ‘…Clare, the unworthy handmaid of Christ and the little plant of the most blessed Father Francis…’

But if one wanted to obtain an understanding of the life of Clare of Assisi, an obvious place to start may be the official Church statements about her. Thus, the Church of England’s Common Worship describes her as: ‘Founder of the Minoresses (Poor Clares)’; the Roman Catholic Daily Roman Missal explains that ‘She founded the Order of Poor Clares’; and an Anglican First Order Brother (Brother Ramon) states that she was ‘…Abbess of the Second Order of Poor Clares.’ The problem with all of those statements is that they are totally wrong. The Order of St Clare (the Poor Clares) was not founded until ten years after her death in 1263 by order of Pope Urban IV.

But that is nothing new. Since her death in 1253, many adjectives have been appended to the name of Clare of Assisi: ‘Saint’, ‘little plant’ and ‘crystal’ are just some of the more common examples. But, this paper argues that such terms hide the ‘real’ Clare. In order to develop this thesis this paper sketches a short biography of Clare in section 2; reflects upon Clare’s spirituality, as expressed in her writings, in section 3; and considers what happened to her community after her death, and the evidence it provides, if any, for supporting thecontention that Clare was unique in section 4. Finally, some conclusions are offered.

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Climate change – the greatest threat to creation?

What can Franciscans do?

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Conflict and faith: a personal reflection

An attempt to work out personal understanding ‘of the use of war and its justification as a political tool…in the context of [his] own religious faith … and what one says to a political leader such as the prime Minister or Head of State, when he has to make a decision concerning nuclear weapons, war and peace.’

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Contemplation

TSSF Study Week, Alnmouth Friary, 12th - 16th November 2007.

A paper by Beryl Warren.

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Contemplative Intercession

Contemplative Intercession: sitting in the presence of God
with and on behalf of others. David Swain, July 2011

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Cosmic Connections

Nick Hance explores the relationship between the four fundamental physical forces of the universe and four different types of human love and finds surprising connections.

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Creation

A discussion paper on the theme of “Creation”

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Creation in the Thought of Francis and Bonaventure

MA Dissertation on A Franciscan Spirituality of Matter

Originally uploaded on 28th February 2008

Author unknown - please contact the webmaster if you wrote this or know who did.

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Creation, Cross and Peregrinatio

Creation, Cross and Peregrinatio: shared themes in the Irish and Franciscan traditions.

Although there is no evidence that Francis had direct contact with Irish Christianity, this paper looks at three areas of intriguing parallels between the two traditions. The paper contains many coloured illustrations.

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Dehumanising poverty; dehumanising wealth

We know that unchosen poverty can be dehumanising. This paper points out that some forms of wealth can have the same effect, identifies some current examples and looks to the gospels for Christian responses.

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Dominicans and Franciscans

TSSF Study Week, Alnmouth Friary, 23rd - 27th October 2006

A paper by Tony Cross.

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Don’t push the river

Study and Prayer event on the work of Richard Rohr OFM, Freeland Convent, 29th - 31st May 2009

Some comments on Chapter 5 of Richard Rohr's book "Everything belongs: The gift of Contemplative Prayer" (Crossroad 2003). Chapter Five is entitled 'Don’t push the river'.

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Ecology

Discussion paper on ecology

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Every time we see a Rainbow

Discussion on the effects of climate change

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Forty days in retreat

Alnmouth study week 2010
An account of a 40 day Ignatian retreat that demonstrates the "path of descent" that is associated with spiritual growth.

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Francis - A Fool for Christ’s Sake

TSSF Study Week Alnmouth September 2008

The purpose of this paper and of further reflections at Alnmouth is to look at Francis’ life against the background in Christian Spirituality of - the Holy Fool. John Whitwell attempts to outline how this tradition originated in early Christianity and indeed can be found in the folklore of many cultures and religions.

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Francis - a Saint for all People

TSSF Study Week Alnmouth September 2008.

Sandy White looks at an Evangelical approach to Francis.

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Francis and his father

Alnmouth study week 2010


This paper discusses the fractured relationship between Francis and his father, an uncomfortably unresolved aspect of the tradition.


A paper by Peter Dunbar.

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Francis and stories

This paper examines the power of stories to capture collective experience and shared traditions, and reminds us that the stories about Francis can inform our personal journeys.

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Francis and the Discernment of Vocation

In this paper the author examines a story about Francis recounted in St Bonaventure’s Major Life of Francis chapter XII, sections 1-2, and in The Fioretti (or Little Flowers) section 16 and the Latin text (from which The Fioretti was translated), The Deeds of St Francis and his Companions section 16. It is an incident in which Francis is agonizing over whether to remain as a preacher, or devote himself to a life of prayer. I have largely based what I have said on the text of Bonaventure’s Major Life, not least because that is not just another biography but a major work on the spiritual life with Francis as our model.

The author suggests that this story of Francis seeking to discern the will of God provides us with a Franciscan Process of discernment.

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Francis: A Very Modern Ecologist

This is an exploration of the ecological Francis. Francis would not have known what the word meant and he certainly would not be familiar with the science as we need to be today. He had, however, deep spiritual insights and was in touch with the creation and Earth, so much so that, he became almost a shaman for the church. The process was certainly one of personal development after a decision to follow Christ. Today Francis has been made the saint of ecology, as he always was. This article is offered as an attempt to understand the instincts he explored.

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Francis: The Ecologist

Lynn White wrote a famous paper in 1967, available online, attributing the environmental crisis to the Christian Church. It made many sweeping statements but did suggest that the exception was Francis who lived a life and promoted the idea of a unified creation which included humanity. This paper explores this view and finds that Francis, with his mentor Christ was not only a pacifist, but a promoter of non-violence; the two are different. The author does however find that Francis, at the time of he Crusades advocated non-violence and peace between the warring religions. These are political actions and Francis a non-dogmatic, even revolutionary, catholic. There are elements of interfaith in Francis’s life as shown in the modern eleven Assisi declarations and an awareness that all creation is God’s creation. The conclusion reached is that Francis is an original source of non- violence among many others such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King and more recently the green martyrs of this century Dorothy Stang and Chico Mendes. Francis is both original and part of a long tradition, active today, which Franciscans should actively embrace. Suggestions on how contemporary Franciscans should follow the little man of Assisi are included in this age of environmental crisis.

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Francis’ Rule for Hermitages

TSSF Study Week Alnmouth September 2008.

A paper by Ann Leigh.

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Franciscan approaches to Islam

What were Francis' motives for his encounter with the Sultan? What are its implications for our own relationships with Muslim people, and for "making our Lord known and loved everywhere"?

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Franciscan service to a damaged world

This paper explores two striking texts from John's gospel. They demonstrate the nature of Christ's servant leadership, and offer us a radical response to the chaos and unfairness of the world.

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Franciscans and Money

The stimulus for this booklet arose from contemplation during a private retreat at St Michael’s Convent, Ham Common in February 2009, at the height of the financial crisis. The booklet refers to a number of papers and articles which are all to be included as downloads below.

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Freeland Study Weekend, May 2013

The papers here are:

  • A report on the Study Weekend at Freeland, Friday, 24 - Sunday 26 May, 2013, on the subject of "The Canticle of the Creatures".

  • A paper on Forgiveness by Denise Mumford

  • A paper on Mother Earth by Nell Slocock

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From “Order of Franciscan Penitents” to “Secular Franciscan Order”

TSSF Study Week Alnmouth September 2008

A paper by Ursula Mott.

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Gay or Blessed?

The Challenge to the Church of Committed Same-Sex Relationships

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Generation X, Saint Francis and the Third Order

Alnmouth Study Week 5th - 9th October 2009

Hugh Beach looks at the generation born between 1960 and 1985 and the social and cutural forces affecting them, and how this might relate to the St Francis's creation of the Third Order and the Third Order today.

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God calling (does He?)

TSSF Study Week Alnmouth September 2008.

A paper by Beryl Warren.

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Growing up into childhood

The Spirit of St Francis is essentially the spirit of the free child who, knowing himself to be loved, is adventurous, trusting and creative. The Franciscan spirit was first released in a Perugian prison, and when fully freed, took the simple command of Jesus seriously to build the church, even when it was in ruins. There is no restraining this spirit because it is uncluttered and knows no fetters – running amok amongst the adult church, taking God at his word, resisting the corruption of power. G. K. Chesterton spoke of Francis as ‘Le Jongleur de Dieu.’

“There was to be found ultimately in such service a freedom, almost amounting to frivolity. It was comparable to the condition of the jongleur because it almost amounted to frivolity. The jester could be free when the knight was rigid; and it was possible to be a jester in the service which is perfect freedom.” (p78)


This article offers the insights of recent research into how adult faith is resourced when the inner-child is revived. It details four steps to reclaim the inner-child which are then used to discuss three ways in which the twenty-first century can learn from the example of St. Francis.

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How effective is membership of the Third Order of the Society of St Francis in nurturing Franciscan spirituality as a way of life?

This paper documents the findings of research carried out by Denise Mumford into the effectiveness of the TSSF in nuturing a Franciscan way of life. Chapter 1 examines the probable intentions of St Francis himself in founding his Third Order, the Order of Penitents. Chapter 2 examines the structures currently in place for the support of members of TSSF in their spiritual lives. Chapter 3 discusses Lifelong Formation within the Order, especially in relation to the needs of professed Tertiaries, and also whether the Order is effective in nurturing Franciscan spirituality as a way of life.

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How the First Order can inspire the Third Order

Starting with Brother Geoffrey, SSF’s The Challenge of the Gospel, seeks to discover ways of joint endeavour, mutual inspiration, help and encouragement, gives personal experiences and practical outcomes of the three latter both in retreats at Alnmouth, and in daily life as a Religious, and offers ideas for further explorations in and between SSF and TSSF. [7 pages]

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Introduction to Richard Rohr for Freeland Study Weekend

Study and Prayer event on the work of Richard Rohr OFM, Freeland Convent, 29th - 31st May 2009.

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Is religion dangerous

TSSF Study Week, Alnmouth Friary, 12th - 16th November 2007

A paper by John Wiltshire.

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Is there tension between the First and Second Aims?

TSSF Study Week Alnmouth September 2008.A paper by Hilary Pearson on the relationship between the Friars and Jews in late medieval Spain.

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Is TSSF a religious order?

Alnmouth study week 2010


A resume of the origins and development of monastic orders, followed by an examination of the nature of TSSF and the RC Secular Franciscan Order and the underlying unity between them.

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Job and the Mystery of Suffering - Spiritual Reflections

TSSF Study Week, Alnmouth Friary, 12th - 16th November 2007.

A paper by Nell Slocock.

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Journeying with the Enneagram

The Enneagram is a powerful and dynamic personality system that describes nine distinct and fundamentally different patterns of thinking, feeling and acting. It is a very old spiritual and psychological model of humanity which some believe began its journey in ancient Greece, disappearing and then reappearing again at various times since then when the human climate was right.

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Language and Creation in Genesis 1 to 3

Examines the Creation Myths and their language in Genesis 1-3 and seeks to investigate these as insights into 'God’s creative process, how we reflect this by being in his image, and how it is distorted within us.' (quote from Brother Christopher Martin) [5 pages]

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Listening to Richard Rohr at Greenbelt and on Three CDs

Study and Prayer event on the work of Richard Rohr OFM, Freeland Convent, 29th - 31st May 2009.

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Living a life of Simplicity?

A response to the book "Francis of Assisi" by Adrian House

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Living community; making community - a personal experience

Alnmouth Study Week 5th - 9th October 2009

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Mind Maps

Some people find that displaying information visually helps them to see new connections and understand familiar information from new perspectives. These four “mind maps" have been put together as part of a personal reflection on different topics related to life as a Franciscan. I hope that they will stimulate your thinking and bless you.

Simon McMurtary

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Mind the Gap

A reflection on a Franciscan understanding of Collaborative Ministry.

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Muslim converts to Christianity

TSSF Study Week, Alnmouth Friary, 12th - 16th November 2007.

A paper by Avril Landay.

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Mutual Indwelling and the Eucharist

Alnmouth Study Week 5th - 9th October 2009

Nell Slocock considers TSSF's focus on the Eucharist in the light of writings by Richard Rohr.

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Obedience

TSSF Study Week, Alnmouth Friary, 12th - 16th November 2007.

A paper by David Swain.

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Obedience

A paper for the Third Order SSF commissioned by Provincial Chapter in 1993 and written by Hugh Beach.

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Obedience - listening closely: a response to the Assisi paper

A personal response to the recent Assisi paper on obedience, which may encourage other responses for example in local groups.

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Obedience in the Third Order: is TSSF a place for growth?

TSSF Study Week Alnmouth September 2008

This Study and Prayer paper originated in a working group asked in late 2007 by Provincial Chapter to consider concerns about obedience within TSSF. A draft was discussed at the Alnmouth study week in September 2008.

The paper distinguishes two senses of the term obedience. Its common usage to refer to individual conformity is not considered as productive as that evoking collective responsibility. Conformity alone is not seen as a short-term problem for TSSF. The richer meaning of obedience as a reciprocal duty of care leads to reflection on TSSF as a mature community, the relevance of the contemporary Franciscan Richard Rohr OFM’s ideas about adult spirituality and the responsibilities of leaders within TSSF. In future we will need to accommodate individual tertiary journeys in a creative way that will not be assisted by too narrow a focus on individual compliance.

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Oberammergau and anti-semitism

Alnmouth Study week 2010
A discussion of the Christian inheritance of anti-semitism, stimulated by the great passion play and making connections with contemporary attitudes towards the state of israel.

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Occupy London

A talk given by John Fox at St Paul's

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Pearls of Life

On the use of a prayer bracelet that can help us to focus deeply on the most important aspects of our lives

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People seeking sanctuary

Alnmouth study week 2010


An exploration of the position of those more often called "asylum seekers", giving an example of a scheme in Devon that allows those seeking sanctuary and local people to share their time and gifts in a spirit of reciprocity.

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Persecuted Christians

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Poverty: creative tension

Alnmouth study week 2010


Poverty is an evil when involuntary, but paradoxically an expression of love and solidarity when freely chosen as by Francis and his followers.


A paper by Helen Hood.

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Reflecting Creatively on Loss

Reflecting creatively on loss: lessons from St Francis for us, to us and through us for others. A paper by Freda E Alexander which was prepared as background reading for the Scottish Study and Prayer Group meeting at Alnmouth in July 2013

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Reflections from 1 Timothy 5 as pattern for mission in a Time of Economic Crisis

Alnmouth Study Week 5th - 9th October 2009

A paper by Margaret Field.

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Reflections on the 1997-99 TSSF Review

The author was closely involved in this significant review of the direction of TSSF. A summary of this paper is now with area teams for wider tertiary consideration.

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Reflections: on the economic fallout following the subprime dealings in the USA

Alnmouth Study Week 5th - 9th October 2009. A paper by Vic Vivian.

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Research Questionnaire - Summary of Results

The results of an independent study by Denise Mumford TSSF, who sent a postal questionnaire to 182 Tertiaries and Novices in 4 Areas of the European Province, TSSF, are published below. Denise was given permission by Provincial Chapter to undertake this research, (but was not commissioned by Chapter).


The most that can be claimed for the information received is that it is an indicative response from those who did respond (60.44% of the sample). It is not possible to generalise from such a small sample, and the results cannot be applied to the Order as a whole.

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Richard Rohr – “Everything belongs”

Study and Prayer event on the work of Richard Rohr OFM, Freeland Convent, 29th - 31st May 2009.

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Richard Rohr on adult spirituality and the first and second stages of life

Study and Prayer event on the work of Richard Rohr OFM, Freeland Convent, 29th - 31st May 2009.

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Richard Rohr on the Enneagram

Study and Prayer event on the work of Richard Rohr OFM, Freeland Convent, 29th - 31st May 2009

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Robert Grosseteste and the Early English Franciscans

Though not a member of their order, Bishop Robert Grosseteste of Lincoln was both influenced by, and in turn influenced, the early C13th Franciscans. He was a good friend to them, but also on occasions a stern critic. His close friendship with the Franciscan Adam Marsh is of particular interest.

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Roots and Shoots

Reflections by Anne Spalding, Area Formation Guardian East Anglia Area, on a conference on Formation held at Hilfield Friary 8-12 January 2009.

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Saint Francis and Study

Paper by Hugh Beach from the Third Order Study Weekend, The Royal Foundation of St. Katherine, 28th to 30th May 2004

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Scottish Study Week Summer 2011

A report on the first, very successful study week organised by the Scotland TSSF area. By compiling comments made by the participants themselves, it conveys well the flavour of a busy study week in a SSF friary.

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Seeking Holiness

Based on reading ‘GOD IN ALL THINGS’ by Gerard Hughes (Hodder & Stoughton 2003)

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Seeking the Face of God: A Personal Journey. (Ongoing!)

Seeks what it means to seek God’s face through forgiveness, through dying to the world, to self despite doubts and frustrations; to seek God’s face in Christ, where It is found, and so continue daily to live in and follow Him. [4 pages]

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Slogans and Labels

Challenging some of the words and phrases that we use

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Some Reflections on the Canticle of Brother Sun

Gives the background, thoughts on Francis’ use of ‘Brother’ and ‘Sister,’ and on ‘the significance of the Canticle for eco-theology with a copy of the poem in the original Umbrian, its translation, and a reference to Piero Casentini’s illustrations of the Canticle of Brother Sun, James Eric Doyle’s St. Francis and the Song of Brotherhood and Sisterhood and A Nash’s Loving Nature.

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Some thoughts about waiting

Reflections on Abraham (Genesis, 12-25); Moses and the Hebrews’ (Exodus, 3-16) and their different attitudes to moving and waiting in faith, seen as a part of a healing process through the eyes of Iaian Matthew’s Soundings from St. John of the Cross and Patrick Barkham’s Butterfly Isles. [3 pages]

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Some thoughts on the psalms

Looks at the Masoretic Text especially, at generic and authorship questions, the psalmic structure, and the liturgical use of psalms, with an analysis of Psalm 1, but considering always their use as prayer and praise.  [5 pages]

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Spiritual journals and the second way of service

Alnmouth Study Week 2010


Private spiritual journals, an innovation following the Reformation, are of great historical interest but can also help us value our own journeys.

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Spiritual Regeneration: A Christian Perspective

Examines the first flush of enthusiasm in a Christian convert’s initial churchgoing and how this dies down when a congregation’s more complacent attitudes towards comfort, conformity and security impinge and dampen the fires of regeneration in both the convert and the converted. [3 pages]

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St Francis: a model for liberation

Using the work of the liberation theologian Leonardo Boff, this paper examines the series of stages by which Francis moved towards his final and complete identification with people who live in poverty.

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Stages of life, stages of faith

An introduction to faith journey models, centring on one that sees spiritual progress as involving first a relatively conventional "external journey" and sometimes then a less predictable "inward journey".

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Study and Prayer event on the work of Richard Rohr OFM

Study and Prayer event on the work of Richard Rohr OFM, Freeland Convent, 29th - 31st May 2009

A group met to explore the growing interest within TSSF in a body of work that seems increasingly important within contemporary Franciscanism, but which also has a much wider following. Blessed by perfect summer weather we concluded our weekend under the great tulip tree in Freeland’s garden, sure that Richard Rohr’s vision has much to offer the order at our current stage. Chapter is invited to note this consensus. Some ideas for further development follow in an appendix.

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Study weekend on the British Franciscan tradition

This report gives the flavour of a national Study and Prayer event, but it could also make a useful short introduction to British (mostly English) Franciscanism for tertiaries and particularly novices beginning to explore the tradition.

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The Care of Sister Water

Discussion of the challenges of managing the Earth’s water supply

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The challenges of being an Area Novice Guardian

Reflections on the experiences and sometimes difficulties of the ANG's vital ministry with enquirers, postulants, novices and novice guardians.

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The Cross and the Cosmos

The folly of Adam and Eve succumbing to the serpent’s temptation is a literary ‘myth’; but it contains the essential truth that mankind wilfully chooses his own way rather than remaining an innocent and obedient child of God...

A paper by Nick Hance

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The Divine Office (and Franciscan Spirituality)

Explains and explores the Divine Office, touching on ‘the history of the office, its spirituality, what it’s actually for, why we bother with it and on some of its structure and content.’ (Quoted from Brother Desmond Alban’s introduction).  [11 pages]

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The Ethics of Stabilising Human Populations

Discussion paper

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The Franciscan Revival in the 1920s and 1930s: prayer and work

An examination of the origins of SSF and TSSF, with particular reference to the recurrent tension between engagement with the world's needs and the demands of religious observance.

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The Ignatian Exercises as Retreat in daily life

TSSF Study Week, Alnmouth Friary, 23rd - 27th October 2006.

A paper by Nell Slocock.

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The Little Flowers in historical context: 1226 - 1325

Understanding the effects of a very early schism in the the Franciscan order can help us understand the distinctive Franciscan idea of joy, as well as the purpose of the early stories about Francis collected in "The Little Flowers".

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The Mandala

A practical group exercise in drawing mandalas, symbolic images found in many traditions and often thought to represent "the circle of life".

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The Popes, the Penitents and Francis

TSSF Study Week Alnmouth September 2008. A paper by Hugh Beach.

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The Spirituality of St Cuthbert

TSSF Study Week Alnmouth September 2008.

A paper by Peter Dunbar.

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The theology and nature of local TSSF groups

At the successful TSSF study week at Alnmouth Friary in July 2005, ideas emerged about the theology, evolution and future direction of TSSF local groups. We agreed to record them - this paper being the result. The TSSF Studies Steering Group at their meeting at Freeland in November 2005 assisted in developing the paper.

Please note that there are a number of URLs (links to other web pages) which are now (August 2017) out of date.
A paper "Towards a theology of meeting and belonging to a Local Group in the third Order" from the July meeting is also available.

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The Thinning of the Ozone Layer

Information about the ozone layer

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Those Going Among the Saracens

This paper examines the views of St. Francis of Assisi on how to deal with Muslims. It is based both on his recorded words and his personal experience as well as the strong teaching that he passed on to his followers.

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Towards a Healing Community

Considering what allows the Pilsdon Community in Dorset to offer help and healing in the context of the Third Order sense of Community

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Towards a theology of meeting and belonging to a Local Group in the third Order

Paper by David Swain and Brenda Stephenson for the TSSF Study Week at Alnmouth; July 2005. The paper "The theology and nature of local TSSF groups" develops the ideas further.

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Towards York 2006 - JPIC

Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation – discussion notes for the East Riding Local Group meeting at Welton on 15th February 2006

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Tudors and Franciscans: a work in progress

This paper draws on the author's unfinished research on the role of Franciscan Observants at the court of Henry VIII, not long before the Reformation ended that role. It explores the paradox that Franciscans should be valued so close to a centre of power and influence.

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Wanderings of the St. Cuthbert folk

TSSF Study Week, Alnmouth Friary, 12th - 16th November 2007.

A paper by Peter Dunbar.

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What does the church expect of the TSSF?

A Synopsis of a talk to a Third Order Cluster Gathering at Bromsgrove on 14 July 2007 by Bishop Michael of Gloucester, Bishop Protector of the European Province of SSF can be downloaded below

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What does the Franciscan tertiary penitent way offer the church and society?

Alnmouth study week 2010


An exploration of the "sermon on the plain" in Luke's gospel: penitence can lead to the inner freedom that allows detachment from the world's normal preoccupations, and that Franciscans often refer to as "joy".

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Why should Franciscans care about Environmental and Trade Justice issues?

Discussion paper given to Scotland Area at meeting in April 2005

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Wild man to Wise man – Reflections on Male Spirituality

Study and Prayer event on the work of Richard Rohr OFM, Freeland Convent, 29th - 31st May 2009

Review of Richard Rohr's book "From Wild Man to Wise Man: Reflections on Male Spirituality".

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Young People

Alnmouth Study Week 5th - 9th October 2009

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