Introduction to the community
We are a community of Brothers who desire to deepen our relationship with God through prayer, manual work, community, and times of being alone in our hermitages. We follow the Rule written by Saint Francis for Hermitages in which three or four brothers live in each fraternity. As others join us we envisage a federation of fraternities with three or four brothers in each.
There are four sources of inspiration for the Little Brothers of Francis. They are:
1. The Gospels
The four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are central to our spirituality, and the main source material for our meditation and prayer life.
2. St Francis
Francis would recall Christ’s words and life through persistent meditation on the Gospels, for his deep desire was to love Christ and live a Christ-centred life.
He was a man of prayer and mystic who sought places of solitude, and hermitages played a central role in his life. Significant events, like the initiation of the Christmas Crib tradition, happened at the hermitage at Greccio, and, of course, he received the stigmata while he was at the hermitage at Mount La Verna.
Though the early brothers embraced a mixed life of prayer and ministry, Francis wanted places of seclusion – hermitages, for the primacy of prayer, in which three or four brothers lived, and for which he wrote a rule.
3. St Francis’s Rule for Hermitages
In his brief rule for life within the hermitage, Francis avoided a detailed document and set out the principles that are important.
- Liturgy of the Hours is the focus, and sets the rhythm of the daily prayer.
- Each hermitage was to have at the most four Brothers, which meant they would be both ‘little’ and ‘fraternal’.
- Within this framework, Brothers could withdraw for periods of solitude.
- The hermitages were not to be places or centres of ministry.
4. Desert Fathers
The stories and sayings of the Desert Fathers contain a profound wisdom for any who are serious about the inner spiritual journey. This is why they have held such prominence in monastic circles in both East and West down through the centuries, and why they are a priority source for us.
Address: Franciscan Hermitage “Eremophilia”, PO Box 162, Tabulam, NSW 2469, Australia
Bishop Protector: Rt Revd Godfrey Fryar
Third Order, Fellowship, Associates
Friends are individuals, or self-organized groups, who value the contemplative life as lived by the Brothers and support them in various ways.
Each Brother has responsibility for certain areas of the community’s life. Decision-making is by consensus.
Brother Geoffrey Adam