Br. Tim Stones, OFH says, "[I'm] from South Africa. I am deafblind – deaf and partially sighted. I became deaf due to oxygen deprivation at birth and, over the years my sight has deteriorated. There have been many challenges in my life yet, through it all, I have been acutely aware of how God has manifested Himself to show to me that His grace is, truly, sufficient. When my firstborn son became ill, with a rare brain disease, and suffered several strokes, I prayed only that God's will be done. We may never understand the ways of God, but we do not need to. We only need to trust Him, and love Him, because He is God.
At university I had the opportunity to complete a Masters degree in theology/ religious studies, where I focused on human rights, and the Christian response to social justice, based on the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I further compared the modes of ministry between the Anglican and Roman Catholic priesthood. I am an Anglo-Catholic. Over the years I have served in ministry, as a preacher and pastoral visitor to the sick and the dying. There was a time in my life where I seriously considered taking vows to join the monastic life, within the Catholic Church, but felt a greater calling to marriage, and to raise my own family.
This sense of calling to monasticism has never left me, and a few years ago I came across the Third Order, and started to explore the different expressions of secular monasticism. Throughout I have kept being drawn back to the Franciscan path, and much of my own ministry journey as a lay person has tried to model itself, or at least incorporate aspects of the Franciscan life into my own life journey.
I consider myself a spiritual, more than religious person, and the core Franciscan values of quiet contemplation and prayerful reflection, witnessed through a servant heart, led by the love and grace of Jesus Christ, evidenced through reaching out to the poor, the vulnerable, the outcast ultimately draws me now to commit my life to living out my faith as a Franciscan, and as a follower of Christ within the Order of Franciscan Hermits.
Sr. Tams Nicholson, OFH has been involved in professional non-profit servant leadership work since leaving the corporate world in 2000. She resides in the Atlanta, Ga area where, outside of work, she has an animal ministry to help others understand the need for compassion for all life and is a board member of all-creatures.org. She eventually chose the Franciscan path and spent three intensive years in Lay Franciscan discernment before work logistics prevented her from continuing in her local fraternity and being professed. She grew up as an atheist/agnostic and explored a variety of religions in her 20s after coming to know Christ. Her education is in psychology and theology.
Br. Joseph-Bernard Synder, OFH says, "My name is Joseph-Bernard Snyder, I am a retired Registered Nurse, living in the Fort Lauderdale area of Florida, born and raised in Philadelphia. I was blessed to have been born into a very devout Catholic family in 1950. I cherish and value the love of my spouse, family and friends and I live a balanced life between being retired and activities, fun times shared with family and friends.
My daily life begins with my mornings devoted mostly to my prayer. Spiritual reading, Lectio-
Divina and journaling and a morning walk. Throughout my day I do take time for other prayer.
My favorite past times are reading, journaling, moderate exercise, the beach, listening to music,
(Easy Listening, Country, Showtunes, Soundscapes; and Classical). Things I enjoy and share
with family and friends are nice dinners, stage shows, movies, etc. Retirement (Oct. 2016) has allowed me to more deeply and intently embrace the contemplative life that I by nature crave and have always longed for and been drawn towards.
I have learned over the years of my spiritual journey and walking every day with God that the
closer we walk with Him the more He draws us to greater intimacy with Him. In His great grace
and unconditional love He has filled me with a love for the Interior Life and the grace to live that
life. I have learned that He calls and draws us to "Be still...." and in that stillness He speaks to us in the Silence of our hearts, minds and souls."
Br. Joseph Kibunjah, OFH says, "I was born in a remote rural village on 24th June 1974 (the feast of St. John the Baptist), where I stayed for a few years before my parents relocated to another rural settlement scheme called Banita inNakuru county Rift valley region of Kenya.
I enrolled for elementary school both primary and secondary. Later I enrolled for advanced studies by correspondence from United Kingdom for both A level and Diploma in Freelance Journalism and Authorship. Later I sat for a Diploma course in Counselling in Youth and Behavioral Development.
I have been a Catholic throughout my life as I was born and raised in Catholic family and nursed by little sisters of St. Francis. My closest companions to date.
For years I have been in direct mission as Knight of Immaculate (Militia Immaculata) and in charitable associations having professed the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the Spirit of St. Maximilian Kolbe.
My living style is simplicity and humble sublimity owning nothing for myself as I cherish the poor life of the Poverello.
Am blessed with fruits of my apostolate through my life as a single and desired the life of Gospel and now more at inner joy and peace as a hermit; through my life, mission, apostolate and catechesis, I have witnessed what it means. “Taste and see how good is the Lord” as per my motto- “What can I do to glorify the Lord. I will take the chalice of salvation and magnify the Lord”.
Am currently involved in liturgy, catechesis, lector, pastoral and corporal apostolate in my parish and militia immaculate- East- Africa and promotion of love and peace through social media with daily reflections.
I also dedicated in erecting the Grottos for Our Lady and saints; and my joy is that my requests have been granted through prayers and meditation in Franciscan Spirit.
Every 14th of August and 4th October, I do organize for Holy mass to glorify God for the gifts of St. Maximillian and St. Francis.
In the order of Franciscan hermit, I have found a home for contemplation, reflection, meditations and prayer life per the call of our Seraphic father of Francis. “Lord make me an instrument of peace.”
Much inspiration from Franciscan friars and my fellow brothers and sisters in the Order of Franciscan Hermits. My spiritual director and my beloved shepherd Bishop Morris Makuba."
Br. Albert Cioffoletti, OFH passed away on September 30, 2018 - May He Rest in Peace +
From his Obituary... "My life has been complete… I have enjoyed the company of loving family members and good friends throughout the years. I ask that you not be saddened by my passing, but that you rejoice and enjoy the fond memories we have shared. Until we meet again, I pray that God will bless you with good health, long life, and peace.”~ Albert Cioffoletti
CLICK HERE to read his Profile
Br. Roberto Espina, OFH says, "I was born June 7, 1958 in Gubat, Sorsogon, Philippines. My father is Benjamin San Luis Espina and my mother is Florentina Datur Ramirez-Espina. I came from a religious family who are active in church service and apostolates. We never fail to attend mass on Sundays. I finished my elementary schooling in Gubat North Central School. I attended high school at St. Anthony Academy, a catholic school run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. I was supposed to enter the seminary after high school but my grandmother who promised to financed my schooling, died. To be able to go to college, I worked in Hospicio de San Jose, an orphanage, taking care of children with special needs (deaf, blind, mute, mentally and physically handicapped) and go to school in the evening. I finished my Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Adamson University in Manila and passed the board a few months later. I left the orphanage to work in Arms Corporation of the Philippines, the only company I was in, until my retirement this July 1, 2018 at 60 years old which is mandatory as per company policy. At present I am still involved in the company because they give special projects. In most of my time, I am involved in religious activities. At present I serve as a lay minister in our parish (San Jose ang Tagapagtanggol) which is under the OFM priests. I am active in the Parish Renewal Experience (PREx) secretariat conducting seminars. I am also involved in the Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) in our parish and in the Loved Flock Catholic Charismatic Community. Though hectic and exhausting, I enjoyed serving for free, I feel fulfilled and I felt this as my vocation. I did not become a priest which was my chidhood dream but I am very much attracted to religious life. When my wife died two years ago I tried to apply in the seminary but I was turned down because of my age and my two children who are still minors (I have three children, the eldest has finished college and already working). Same with a fraternity of brothers, my age passed except my minor children. As a discipline, I religiously follow my prayer schedules: morning prayer, midday prayer, evening prayer and night prayer using the liturgy of the hours.
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!!!"