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.


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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’ 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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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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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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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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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 community; making community - a personal experience

Alnmouth Study Week 5th - 9th October 2009

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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 - 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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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 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 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 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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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 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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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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