Tag Archives: FISC

July 1: A New Beginning

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Walking together

Well, dear readers, this is the start of the post-FISC Agnellus’ Mirror. The Franciscan International Study Centre is no more. Who knows were the future will take us? Although the Centre kindly adopted us, we were separate enough to feel bereaved but neither divorced nor terminally compromised when its closure was announced. There are still Franciscans on God’s earth and we’ll try to be in that number, even if not all of us count ourselves among the first, second or third orders in all the ecumenical cousinage of the Poor Man’s family. For the present we will continue to be based in Canterbury, but we have contributors across the UK and further afield. Please continue to walk with us and pray with us.

Let’s turn our backs on the removal men and take ourselves to Shropshire with Mary Webb, poet of the early 20th Century. Her reflections this week inspire a Franciscan Exclamation: Laudato Si’ !

Will Turnstone

Editor.

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News from Bishop Patrick, former student at FISC, in Mansa, Zambia.

Patrick Chisanga, OFM Conv

 

‘We are all Missionaries’, says Bishop Patrick. That should be true in Kent or Kentucky, just as in Zambia. Follow the link!

WT

 

Mansa Diocese Roundup

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26 December: Christmas Prayers.

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This  battered Madonna and the star come from the cemetery chapel of the former French Jesuit School in Canterbury, whose pupils helped Saint Thomas’s through some lean years in early days. 

When I was writing the history of Saint Thomas’s Catholic Primary School in Canterbury I found in 1970s parish magazines these prayers written by children:

 

Dear Jesus, please help me to go to Mass at Christmas. Give my family a happy day without any fighting or fussing. – EMc

Dear Lord, please make my Christmas joyful and happy. I will try not to be greedy, but I hope I get enough. – JG.

O Lord, thank you for a happy year. I ask for 100 good new ones. – LE.

Surely LE’s childhood was happy: to ask for a hundred good new years implies that the nine or ten she had lived so far were good. Deo Gratias indeed!

JG’s prayer suggests that he knew his attitude could contribute to a joyful and happy Christmas. Perhaps greed had blighted Christmas or other times past?

Greed will never admit to having enough. Let’s pray for an attitude of gratitude! Christmas gifts should be tokens of love, not awards for being good.

I hope EMcC knew only the sibling squabbling and bossiness that drives parents mad but is not deep-dyed animosity.

He clearly valued being at Christmas Mass. When I was little, Midnight Mass was long anticipated. An army of altar servers somehow managed not to trip up each other or the priest, deacon and subdeacon. The MC had to be creative in allocating duties, so that everyone had something to do: all those torchbearers? Well, we had a place to kneel, out of the way, our hands out of mischief; perhaps those flames added a little to the solemnity?

(When Friends of FISC visited the cemetery chapel this summer, we lit candles as we prayed; they certainly added to the solemnity.)

Let’s pray, finally, for something deeper than solemnity: for awe. Awe at the bundle of cells that has become baby Jesus; awe at who Jesus is, and that his coming tells us how ridiculously the Father has loved us. 

MMB.

 

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Evening Lectures at FISC: “What is theology saying?”

“What is theology saying?”

austinTomorrow night is the last of Fr Austin McCormack’s  Thursday evenings this term!  Please feel free to come  even if you have not made it to the previous lectures. An interesting theme as we approach the birthday of our Saviour:
10. 15/12: Is there salvation in other religions?
Start time 19.00. You are asked to make a donation to cover expenses.
WT.

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Statement regarding the future of the Franciscan International Study Centre

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The following is a statement from the Board of Trustees of the Franciscan International Study Centre:

After forty-six years of existence, the Franciscan International Study Centre in Canterbury will close on the 30th of June 2017. Its Board of Trustees passed the following resolution on 1st December 2016:

“The Franciscan International Study Centre in Canterbury shall cease functioning at the end of Trinity Term 2017, and begin the process of closure and the eventual alienation of the property.” 

The Trustees expressed their hope that the Franciscan ethos, with its intellectual and spiritual tradition, would find new ways of expression and growth throughout Great Britain and the English-speaking world.

Many of you are aware that the FISC has been struggling to survive for a number of years.  Academic programmes were redesigned; external validation of programmes was discontinued; teaching and support staff were reduced in number; securing visas for students who needed them remained a challenge; the number of qualified friars from the ranks of the founding Orders to assume staff positions decreased; student enrolment has not been able to offset operational costs.  This current year we have no students enrolled in the Franciscan Studies Certificate or the Training for Franciscan Formation Certificate.  The Ecumenical Training Programme in Spiritual Direction continues to thrive, and we are hopeful that the Resident Training in Spiritual Direction programme to be offered in Trinity Term will succeed in attracting a sufficient number of students to allow the programme to run one last time. 

During the Summer and Autumn several proposals were made by supporters of FISC to restructure the Centre.  The Trustees expressed their gratitude for these initiatives.  In the end, the Trustees judged that the adverse conditions of the past five years have put the FISC in an unrecoverable state.

Despite the sadness we feel today we cannot forget the innumerable blessings that the FISC represents.  So many people have shared life experiences in our chapel, library, classrooms and refectory.  So much learning has taken place as some spoke and others listened.  So many good things have happened here.  We want to celebrate these blessings, and planning has already begun.  We are mindful and grateful for the forty-six years of the FISC’s existence.

Sincerely,

Fr. Thomas Reist OFM Conv
Principal

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Autumn Lectures at FISC: “What is theology saying?”

austinFr Austin McCormack has been speaking on Thursday evenings this term: only three sessions remaining! I recommend these lectures to any Christian, including those from Reformation traditions who may wonder what we Catholics are all about. Please feel free to come to as many of these lectures as interest you.
Start time 19.00. You are asked to make a donation to cover expenses.
WT.
The subject of the course is:

“What is theology saying?”

8. 01/12: What morality did Jesus teach?
9. 08/12: Should we renounce the world or change it?
10. 15/12: Is there salvation in other religions?

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November 27: Jacopone da Todi 1. A Poetic Challenge.

 

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This Wakefield scene shows us a provocative contrast between two ways of imagining the inner life of any person’s soul. Sometimes we feel churned up, or even seething. At other times, a lovely calm clarity runs through our inner world, and reveals our potential for containing tranquillity. On this footing we can show others how the world might appear in that condition.

Perhaps we more often have an opportunity to move from the turbulent to the calm than we realise. Franciscan poet Jacopone da Todi regarded our awareness of these formative moments as the key to a faith-based personality.

“We were a mighty host, encamped on the heights,

But the waters of the flood have risen and covered us,

And taken from us the power to pray,

Which alone could keep us afloat and heal our wounds.”  (Laud 30).

 

The power to pray consists to a remarkable degree in the ability to welcome calm into our lives, to become attuned to the Spirit who provides calm, and to begin to acknowledge those areas of wounded memory within us where healing is needed.

Jacopone had a troubled life, beginning with the sudden death of his young wife in an accident. But God was speaking to others very often through his poetry, bringing hope and sincerity where before there had often been only pomposity, cravings for luxury, and abuses of power. We could try to nurture the moments of poetic calm in the course of a week, to let healing begin.

 

Chris D.

October 2016.

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Autumn Evening Lectures at FISC: “What is theology saying?”

austinFr Austin McCormack will be speaking on Thursday evenings this term. I recommend these lectures to any Christian, including those from Reformation traditions who may wonder what we Catholics are all about. Please feel free to come to as many of these lectures as interest you.
Start time 19.00. You are asked to make a donation to cover expenses.
WT.
The subject of the course is:

“What is theology saying?”

7. 24/11: What about Original Sin?
8. 01/12: What morality did Jesus teach?
9. 08/12: Should we renounce the world or change it?
10. 15/12: Is there salvation in other religions?

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Autumn Lectures at FISC: “What is theology saying?”

austinFr Austin McCormack will be speaking on Thursday evenings this term. I recommend these lectures to any Christian, including those from Reformation traditions who may wonder what we Catholics are all about. Please feel free to come to as many of these lectures as interest you.
Start time 19.00. You are asked to make a donation to cover expenses.
WT.
The subject of the course is:

“What is theology saying?”

4. 03/11:  How should we explain the Eucharist?
5. 10/11:   Who is Jesus Christ?
6. 17/11:  What difference does Grace make?
7. 24/11: What about Original Sin?
8. 01/12: What morality did Jesus teach?
9. 08/12: Should we renounce the world or change it?
10. 15/12: Is there salvation in other religions?

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Are we listening? Open Lectures at FISC.

 

12 October: Tomorrow night at 7.00 is the first of Fr Austin’s talks on

 “What is theology saying?

1.Can the Church’s teaching change?
2. What did God really reveal?
3. How about Papal infallibility?
4. How should we explain the Eucharist?
5.Who is Jesus Christ?
6. What difference does Grace make?
7. What about Original Sin?
8. What morality did Jesus teach?
9. Should we renounce the world or change it?
10. Is there salvation in other religions?
Come and join us for one or more of these sessions.
You are asked to make a donation to help cover expenses.

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