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What We Offer

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Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood

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Accommodation Types

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Guest Rooms Apartments

Individuals

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Facilities

Groups

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Retreats

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The following helps give us an idea of the spirit behind Francis and Clare’s passionate and singlehearted following of Christ:

“Francis and Clare’s founding charism was characterised by: their deep relationship with God-Creator, with the crucified Christ, and with the Spirit; a relationship in freedom and equality, with all the brothers and sisters, without distinction. Clare’s Rule and writings are a powerful witness to her sisterly love and concern for all her sisters, and ‘to build up a bond of unity among them’. Francis’ relationship with creation was truly one of brotherhood and sisterhood, and has marked history.”

“Francis and Clare’s founding charism was characterised by their option for ‘Lady Poverty’ which was expressed in their identification with the poor Christ, and for Francis, with the poor: the marginalised, the outcast in his society, especially the lepers. Their minority stance had social implications, for they moved away from the ‘centre’ to the periphery. Francis, by being inserted among the poor, challenged openly the political, social and economic power structures.

Francis and Clare’s founding charism was characterised by non-violence and peace, which for them was a way of life, and expressed in their relationships. They were peace-givers and peace-makers. Francis’ greeting to all peoples was: “Pace e Bene.” This greeting of peace and goodness was a wish and an invitation. He sincerely wanted all those whom he met to have peace in their hearts and to experience only goodness….It is said of Clare that she reflected peace through all that she said and did in her community at San Damiano.”

(Excerpts from ‘Living Justice – As Artisans of Peace’ Franciscans International publication)

St Francis of Assisi

St Francis was born in Assisi in about 1182. The son of a wealthy cloth merchant, it seemed that Francis had everything going for him. He was the popular ‘leader’ of the youth of Assisi and led a life of privilege, wealth, parties, dance and song. His dream was to become a ‘Knight’ – off to the crusades to win a war and perhaps a lady’s heart! However, while fighting against the neighbouring town of Perugia Francis was taken prisoner and a year in a horrific prison gave him time to reflect on his life. After trying again to become a knight, Francis had a profound spiritual experience. In the small church of San Damiano in Assisi, as he prayed for guidance in front of an image of the crucified Christ, Francis heard the Lord asking him to ‘Rebuild my Church.’ This was the beginning of an amazing journey for Francis

After much searching and praying Francis knew he was called to something radically different and he embraced with passion and joy the call of the Crucified Jesus to leave all and follow Him.

As a young man Francis had an abhorrence of lepers but after encountering, and embracing a leper on a road outside Assisi, Francis knew with a deep certainty he was to embrace the Gospel life and serve Christ in the most vulnerable and poor. Towards the end of his life he wrote;

“When I was in my sins, it seemed a thing too bitter to look on lepers, and the Lord himself led me among them and I showed them mercy. And when I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was changed into sweetness of mind and body.”

Eventually, others joined Francis, both men and women wanting to live his radical form of Gospel life, some as brothers and others within the context of their married or single lives. At the heart of Francis’ spirituality is right relationships – with God, with all our brothers and sisters, especially the most vulnerable and poor, and with all of creation. It was written of Francis that: “In beautiful things St Francis saw Beauty itself, and through God’s vestiges imprinted on creation, he followed his Beloved everywhere, making from all things a ladder by which he could climb up and embrace Him who is utterly desirable.” Francis is the patron saint of ecology and the environment.

In 1223, while praying on the mountain of La Verna, Francis prayed the following:

“My Lord Jesus Christ, I pray you grant me two graces before I die: the first is that during my life I may feel in my soul and in my body as much as is possible the pain which you, dear Jesus, sustained in the hour of your most bitter passion. The second is that I may feel in my heart, as much as possible, the excessive love with which you, O Son of God, were inflamed with for us.”

God’s response to this prayer was to physically mark Francis with the image of Christ crucified – his hands, feet and side were pierced and bled. We call this the Stigmata. These wounds remained with Francis for the rest of his life.

In his Letter to the Whole Order Francis had written:

“Hold back nothing of yourself for yourself, so that He who gives Himself totally to you, may receive you totally.”

On the mountain of La Verna Francis did indeed hold back nothing of himself, and he became totally one with Christ – his Beloved.

Our Next Events

May
10
2024
May 10 @ 4:00 pm to May 12 @ 2:00 pm

Learning to Speak from a Franciscan Heart:  A 21st-Century Language

A time of retreat and reflection lead by Franciscan Friar, William Short OFM

The Franciscan spiritual tradition approaches major questions of life and meaning from a unique angle.  Who is God?  Who am I in relation to God and others?  Does this world have value for a Christian?  What does it mean to be “saved”? Franciscan language focuses on God as Love, and a creation proclaimed as “good” by its Creator.  The fundamental relationship uniting all creatures is that of being brothers and sisters to each other.  This religious language has become familiar today through the words of Pope Francis in recent encyclicals like Laudato Si’ and Fratelli Tutti.  Share a time of rest and reflection learning more about this Franciscan language and how easy it is to speak in our times.

May
19
2024
May 19 @ 4:00 pm to May 26 @ 11:00 am

Individually Guided Retreat

Event Category:

Step away from the noise and haste of your everyday life and into the quiet beauty of the Franciscan Centre Ladywell in the heart of Surrey.

Each day you will be accompanied by a trained spiritual director.

Jun
14
2024
June 14 @ 4:00 pm to June 16 @ 2:00 pm

Reflections in the Mirror – Clare’s letters to Agnes of Prague

Reflections in the Mirror – Clare’s letters to Agnes of Prague
A time of reflection and retreat led by Brian Purfield.
How can the fidelity of Clare and Agnes to their particular vocation inspire us today? We shall explore the four letters Clare writes to Agnes in their ecclesial and political context. By weaving together history and spirituality, participants will be invited into the God-centred world of Clare. By sifting out the key elements of Clare’s spirituality through her letters to Agnes, we shall explore her legacy for us today.

Jun
20
2024
June 20 @ 4:00 pm to June 23 @ 4:00 pm

Ecofluency Experience at the Franciscan Centre

Ecofluency Experience: Rediscover your ability to communicate with Nature

Rekindle your ability to commune and communicate with all of Nature, in this residential experience and workshop held in the exquisite, tranquil setting of the Ladywell Convent.

The Franciscan Centre is delighted to invite Dr Saskia von Diest to offer an Ecofluency experience within the tranquil setting of the Ladywell Convent, a space that is ideal for deep contemplation and welcoming of all faiths, belief systems and spiritual traditions, with the only proviso being an open mind and open heart. This experience is for anybody interested in communing and communicating with Nature, including those who practice it already, though no previous experience is required.

Throughout the experience, we will gently immerse ourselves in the fundamentals of how to practice ecofluency – the science, art, and magic of two-way communication with the rest of Nature.

Saint Francis & Saint Clare

Here at The Franciscan Centre, Ladywell we believe that Francis and Clare’s passionate and radical living and expression of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a treasure worth sharing with the wider world…

Read more

Saint Francis & Saint Clare

Here at The Franciscan Centre, Ladywell we believe that Francis and Clare’s passionate and radical living and expression of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a treasure worth sharing with the wider world…

read more

Saint Francis & Saint Clare

Here at The Franciscan Centre, Ladywell we believe that Francis and Clare’s passionate and radical living and expression of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a treasure worth sharing with the wider world…

Read more

Saint Francis & Saint Clare

Here at The Franciscan Centre, Ladywell we believe that Francis and Clare’s passionate and radical living and expression of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a treasure worth sharing with the wider world…

read more