Franciscan Life and Spirituality

We adore you, most holy Lord Jesus Christ, here, and in all your churches throughout the world; and we bless you because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world. (This is the prayer St.Francis said when entering any church.)

The Hilfield Community has Jesus Christ at its heart and, following the example of St Francis, the ‘little poor man’ of Assisi, who saw the love of God in those he met and in the world around him, we seek to:

  • Live in simplicity, humility and peace with each other
  • Welcome others who come to visit us, especially the marginal and the stranger
  • Have care for and delight in our environment
  • Work for justice and peace in our world
  • Witness to the abundant generosity of God in our life together
  • Share the vision of living peacefully and sustainably in our world
  • Join in the song of all creation in praise and thanksgiving


The spirituality of St Francis which inspires our life in community is centred around devotion to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who ‘though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.’ (Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians). If this is what God, the source and giver of all, is like, then true richness of life is to be found in an ‘economy of gift’, in forgiveness and non-possessiveness, and in simple hospitality towards each other and the stranger. Community life is a ‘school’ for learning this wisdom. As with all ‘beginners’ we often learn through getting it wrong!


At the Friary we try to value the mundane, ordinary things of life, and find a balance between manual work, social engagement, rest and recreation. Everyone plays some part in the daily tasks of the Community – work in the garden or on the land, cleaning and maintaining the buildings, baking bread and preparing meals, sharing in the administration and offering hospitality to guests and visitors. All these things are related to the rhythm of daily prayer and worship in the Chapel, through which we are renewed in the life of Gospel, making for an integrated ecology which is spiritual, social and environmental.


The Society of St Francis, of which the Friary at Hilfield is a part, is an Anglican religious order and as such is grounded in the spirituality, practice and prayer of the Church of England. However, the members of the Hilfield Community come from a number of different Christian communions and we value their particular contributions – there is a deeply ecumenical spirit about the life – and, while we remain clearly within the Christian family, we are glad to engage with and learn from those of other religious, or non religious, traditions who come to visit us.

Sermon from Br Samuel on St.Francis day
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Canon Patrick Woodhouse sermon on sunday 23/8/2015
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Laudato si’, Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, or letter, to the peoples of the earth on care for our common home.
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Prayer and worship are offered daily in the chapel; visitors are welcome to share in the services though there is no pressure on them to do so.

Times of Services

Tuesday to Saturday

07.00 Silent Prayer in Chapel

07.30 Morning Prayer

12.00 Midday Prayer and Eucharist

17.15 Evening Prayer, followed by prayer time

21.00 Night prayer (20.15 on Thursday, 20.45 on Saturday)


07.30 Morning Prayer followed by silent prayer

08.30 Sung Eucharist

12.30 Midday Prayer

17.15 Evening Prayer, followed by prayer time

Night Prayer arranged at supper

Canon Patrick Woodhouse’s Sermon Preached at the Friary – Lent 2105
(Please click on the picture below to open a PDF of the sermon)


The Absorbeat
May the power of your love, Lord Christ,
fiery and sweet as honey,
so absorb our hearts as to withdraw them from all that is under heaven.
Grant that we may be ready to die for love of your love,
as you died for love of our love. Amen

all-about-9Francis’ Prayer before the San Damiano Crucifix
Most High and glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart.
Give me true faith, certain hope,
and a perfect love.
Give us a sense of the divine
and knowledge, knowledge of yourself,
so that we may do everything in fulfilment of your holy will
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

The Canticle of the Creatures
Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honour, and all blessing,
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no human is worthy to mention Your name.

Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
who is the day and through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour;
and bears the likeness of You, Most High One.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather,
through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night,
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains and governs us,
and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs.

Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, shall they be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living can escape.
woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.

Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility


A prayer for peace in the spirit of Francis of Assisi

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master,
grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen