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.

Papers from the 2017 S&P Week at Alnmouth:

Obedience (Hugh Beach)

Praise be to you, O Lord, for our sister, Mother Earth (Julie Thomas)

Instruments of the Spirit (a discussion)

The Salutation of the Virgin (Andrew Baker)


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 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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Alnmouth study week 2010

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

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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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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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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 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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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: 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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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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Gay or Blessed?

The Challenge to the Church of Committed Same-Sex Relationships

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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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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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Living a life of Simplicity?

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

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

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Occupy London

A talk given by John Fox at St Paul's

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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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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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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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Seeking Holiness

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

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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 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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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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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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