Charlie Wheeler, a Young Franciscan at St Saviour’s, writes about who the Young Franciscans are, and what they do in the life of our church and neighbourhood.
We are the Young Franciscan community, followers of Jesus aged 18-35 seeking God through contemplation and action, after the pattern of St Francis of Assisi. We embrace a daily discipline of silent prayer and reading the scriptures, and commit ourselves to both a deeper self-understanding and an attentiveness to the needs of those around us. Through hospitality and action, we aim to share the mission of Jesus Christ in the world.
We have two streams of the Young Franciscan community. There’s a residential community who live at the Franciscan House near St Saviour’s, and a dispersed community, most of whom live locally and worship at the church. Each of the dispersed members commit to a personal rule of life, and the residential members commit to a shared rule of life which is centred around love, joy and humility.
Who was St Francis and what does it mean to be Franciscan?
St Francis of Assisi was an Italian friar who lived in the 11th and 12th centuries, and who founded the Order of the Friars Minor. After experiencing God, Francis was inspired to give up all that he owned to live a life of prayer and action, living as a poor man, preaching and living the gospel of Christ in community. He lived with the poor, cared for the sick, made peace between factions, and cared for creation. He was a travelling preacher who also spent a lot of time in solitude – often in rugged hermitages, up mountains, in small towns and in caves – to contemplate the Divine.
As Young Franciscans, we model ourselves on the life of St Francis, aiming to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have an emphasis on caring for creation, living simply, preaching and sharing the gospel, taking time to pray contemplatively and striving to be peacemakers in our daily lives. Overall, we aim to live an active and contemplative life together.
What is community life like?
Community life is both deeply challenging and deeply rewarding. It’s a chance to relate to each other on a deeper level with greater sincerity. Through community life we gain a greater self-awareness, knowing our strengths and weaknesses better as we commit to each other in a way which means we are around each other at our best and at our worst. We discover God’s mercy and grace as we learn to be more merciful with ourselves for our weakness, and merciful towards each other. We learn to be sensitive to joy and to the needs of other people, caring for each other as brothers and sisters.
How do we take part in the life of St Saviour’s?
As Young Franciscans, we pray for and on behalf of the church and the local area, rising each weekday morning for prayer at 7.15am. Our life in relation to the church focuses on loving service. We take part in various teams at church, including the worship team, Mums and Tots, and the prayer ministry team.
We aim to be a missional community too, open to sharing our faith with the local community, assisting with local projects such as the Upper Room and the Wendell Park Gardening Friends. We are also a house of hospitality, aiming to invite people from the community to share a meal and prayer with us, to build deeper relationships.