Sr. Denise Szabo, OFH says, "I was born in Flint, Michigan where my childhood parish was St Francis of Assisi. I lived in Michigan until I graduated from college and then moved to San Francisco which is where I met my husband Tom in 1976. I have been truly blessed with a very happy marriage and a loving family. In 1983 Tom and I moved from California to Jersey City, New Jersey where we currently live. We have a beautiful daughter Molly and wonderful son-in-law Josiah. I retired after working 30 years in the Development Office of The New York Public Library.
I am grateful for the time and freedom retirement allows for prayer. I strive to follow our Lord and am especially drawn to the example of St Francis. I draw much inspiration and guidance from my Spiritual Director, Sister Mary Petrosky, OFM, my Cursillo friends, my sisters and brothers at OFH, reading scripture and spiritual books, as well as meditation while sitting, walking and swimming.
I currently correspond with seven friends who are prisoners and also attempt to help out the homeless by giving them bags of food and toiletries. I pray for an increase in my love, service, patience and humility and thank our Lord for his countless blessings in my life."
Br. Pedro Oliveira Pinto, OFH lives in Portugal and says, "I was born into a wonderful family that taught me to love life, family and all living things, respect others, be honest, have fun, laugh, learn from everyone, appreciate all, be interested in all things, enjoy nature, explore the world, and treat others as you would enjoy being treated. It has also taught me to share my gifts with others and to have a kind heart. Those factors have all played a part in how I live my life . I believe in balance, honesty, respect, compassion, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and enjoying life to the fullest. I do not laugh much as I cry, but both have a place in my life. Experiencing pain and suffering builds character , teaches lessons, and enhances the feelings of joy. I'm patient and like to teach and share what I've learned and my past experiences.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes."
Br. Charles Allen, OFH says, "I write on various Biblical and theological topics, including social issues. I am active with my local Catholic parish and with the Rosary Confraternity. Daily prayer and living the Gospel is of the utmost importance to me. I try to embody Pope Saint John Paul II's words, "Your ability to communicate the gospel will depend on your adherence to the faith of the Apostles." In addition to a Catholic educational outreach, I operate a Sacred Heart group which promotes daily prayer, Sacred Heart chaplet, prayers for others and their intentions, praying for the local pastor’s intentions, promoting respect for life and defense of the unborn, promoting respect and reverence for the blessed presence of Christ in the Host, a renewed commitment to Catholic tradition, personal study and devotions."
Sr. Elizabeth Collins, OFH says, "My name is Elizabeth Collins I attend Saint Gabriela Catholic Church here in Charlotte...North Carolina. I graduated from a Benedictine university Belmont Abbey College and majored in Educational Studies. I love animals... I have one dog named Francis and a cat name Kitty and a Pet raccoon named Luigi who has 3 babies right now I am raising. I feed all kinds of birds and animals on my property... God bless you!!!"
Sr. Jeanne McKillop, OFH says, "I am a widow. I was married 38 years when my husband passed away from cancer. I enjoy the company of my three daughters, two great son-in-laws, my grandson and my cat - they keep me busy. I live in a beach community and enjoy the ocean. I have a BA degree in American Cultural Studies and another in History. I love to read and listen to music. I look forward to spending my days with friends in conversation and laughing myself silly. I thoroughly enjoy the slower pace of old age that allows me time to appreciate Gods handiwork. "
Br. Robert Brown, OFH says, "I was born and brought up in Scotland but I have now lived forty years happily with my family in England. Recently, I completed over twenty years as an Honorary Chaplain in a Psychiatric Hospital as a lay-volunteer. Though I was born and brought up as a Presbyterian but I have been an Anglo-Catholic since living in England. St Francis came into my life thirty years ago through the influence some Irish Franciscan Sisters who befriended our family. I have followed the poor little man of Assisi ever since being inspired by his spirituality. Assisi drew me as a pilgrim several times and I consider it very special and a very blessed experience. Professionally, I am a Chartered Engineer, however, when I retired I read for a degree in Theology. Ten years ago I considered myself as a Contemplative Franciscan and have converted my garage into a ‘sacred-space’ where I pray, write and spend time in the presence of God. After Theology, I studied Latin and New Testament Greek, but lately, I realised that languages have become increasingly difficult for me now that the ageing process has blessed me further to travel light-footed into extra time. So I spend more time each day, weather permitting, in the garden among God’s wonderful creation. Prayer, Study and Work are the three principal ways I share my devotion to our Lord and are an integral part of my rule-of-life, which I adhere to on a daily basis after saying the Office. I subscribe to the Liberal Democrats politically and keep a healthy interest in world politics. For this reason, I follow the activities of ‘Pace e Bene’, who are likewise non-violent people. I am blessed with many friends who, likewise, treasure solitude as a means of advancing the spiritual life. Saint Francis has been for me a continual source of joy in the Holy Spirit. My vocation is enhanced by being a member of the Order of Franciscan Hermits, which has encouraged me to reach out to my other brothers and sisters, sharing with them the Franciscan love, fraternity, and spirituality we have in common, as we journey together, as solitary pilgrims along the pathway of life."
Pax. ….. Robert <°))><.
Sr. Susie Smith, OFH says she was, "Born in England, by the age of 6, I had developed a love for the reading the Bible and talking with Jesus, who even then had won my heart. I also loved the countryside and the natural world, and came to learn of St Francis; there were Capuchin Friars nearby….
By 15, I had a SD, and a vocation to be a nun, but parental pressure insisted on University, so I went to Kings College and read Theology… After several years of study, I took time out to travel widely, discovered the Orthodox Church, and Icons which spoke to my soul, finally ending up in London working in broadcasting. Later, I branched out into the business world and became CEO of a London PLC, with the lifestyle to go with it!
It was then that things changed again, just when I was drifting into Buddhism, I met an amazing Priest in the City, who became my SD, who taught about contemplative prayer and to understand myself….
From then on I never looked back, I trained at a London Clinical Institute for 4 years in Psychodynamic Counselling, and worked in that field for several years, moving out to the country for more time for solitude, and iconography. Then I decided to do a “dangerous” thing and fulfil a lifelong ambition to visit Rome and Assisi…..
Alone in San Damiano, I felt God was calling me, and I could no longer distract myself from this call. I walked back up that hill filled with joy, throwing my expensive designer jacket into the olive trees…. So many things happened in Assisi, it could fill a book…. Within 3 months of returning I had found my way to the Franciscan International Study Centre, converted to Catholicism, studied all things Franciscan, and Catholic Theology, and eventually ended up on the staff there. I also met a very special Friar, who had lived the hermit life who suggested it might appeal to me……
I left the UK, having joyfully given up all my possessions bound for a Poor Clare Monastery in Ireland, but alas, after a year or so, found it really did not provide the time for contemplative prayer and solitude that my soul sought. So for the past 12 years I having been living as a Hermit in the wild West of Ireland, hoping that someday there would be a way of connecting with others with a similar calling. OFH has fulfilled that dream of fraternity, compassion and love; for each other, and the world. I am grateful to be part OFH."
Br. Rick Mathis, OFH says, "I was born in a small farming community in south Florida where I attended the local Methodist church and attended the local Baptist run high school. I have had a rather eclectic work life over the years, from a radio announcer to a crime scene investigator to a facilities manager. I began questioning my Protestant faith while still in high school in the 70’s after being introduced to the lives of the saints, especially St. Francis of Assisi and St. John of the Cross (whose name I took upon joining the Catholic Church). I credit them, along with our Holy Mother, with leading me on my faith journey. It was not a quick trek as I was not received into the church until 1995. However, since that time I have attempted to study the faith, especially the writings of the saints. I have also recently moved to the Santa Fe area in New Mexico, yet I am not sure if this is the final landing spot that God has in store for me. Although there have certainly been the ups and downs in my walk with Christ, in the last few years I have been drawn to a lifestyle which includes long segments of solitude,prayer and study, while still allowing for my social justice work. I am still seeking God’s direction in how this will ultimately play out. In the meantime, I continue to pray for guidance."
Br. Robert Wheeler, OFH says he "is a retired licensed minister and a Board Certified Biblical Counselor. He works with alcoholics and drug addicts, the sick, imprisoned, and all those who suffer, as Our Lord places them in his path. If you feel that you need assistance in your walk with Christ, or life issues, please contact Br. Robert at: firstname.lastname@example.org. He will be happy to assist you or refer you to the proper resource.
Robert Wheeler also works with indigenous ministers around the world. We provide prayer, encouragement, native language Bibles......both written and audio, and other items as requested...as the Lord provides for us to do so."
Br. Colin Morais, OFH says, "I was born in Malaysia but have lived in England and Australia before coming to New Zealand. My interests in the past have included singing and playing the jazz saxophone and trumpet at intermediate level. I have done Elvis Presley and to a lesser extent as Frank Sinatra impersonations at corporate functions and parties. Although my mother wanted me to get married she used to occasionally wish that I was a religious. I "hated" it whenever she said that because it used to throw me off balance for months at a time whenever she expressed such aspirations for me. I loved the music circuit I was into. After struggling with her lofty spiritual ambitions for me and what I perceived to be God's support for her , I came to the conclusion that her heartfelt desire, was also God's "highest plan" for me. So I embarked on my spiritual quest about 7 years ago. When my family passed away over the next few years, I felt lonely but avoided looking for the company of friends and clubs because I wanted to grieve and pray for their souls. Surprisingly, I found the solitary life enticing and peaceful. I began to feel the increasing presence of the Holy Spirit in my daily life and began to feel a growing sense of belonging and love that transcended even the love of family. It was purer and sweeter than the possessive and sometimes insecure love I used to feel when I was in love with a member of the opposite sex. I did not realize that I was living the life of a hermit! Friends feel concerned for me.but I feel concerned and sorry for them! I was in love with God! Then I discovered OFH! I have a 'Post Graduate Diploma' in Commerce, a Diploma in 'Business Studies', and another 'Higher Diploma' in Accounting. I am self employed now. "