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Franciscan Hermitage
Eremophila
PO Box 162
Tabulam
NSW 2469
Australia

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Community History and Mission

THE VISION

A deep longing for God is central to our way of life, and in Christ we see the perfect expression of God’s longing and love for us. 

We seek to deepen our relationship with God through prayer, manual work, community, and times of being alone in our hermitages. 

As Brothers, we seek in our fragile human condition to live simply the Rule written by Saint Francis for Hermitages. 

Accordingly, we have chosen to live outside a small country town in the rocky foothills of the mountains. This area is described by locals as ‘rubbish country’, which is so poor that even the wallabies have to take their picnic lunch.

THE LIFESTYLE

Prayer

To want to pray is to want God. This desire to pray is also an activity of God within us, drawing us into a more intimate relationship with Him. It is a commitment with its challenges and obstacles, but we need to nurture prayer in all its rich dimensions, and to see it as the most important thing in life. The Liturgy of the Hours, the Gospels, meditation, the wonder of creation, silence, and solitude are the means we use to express this commitment to prayer, which is at the core of our life and witness. It is by example that we mean others to recognise the importance of prayer and encourage them to do the same.

Setting

mapThe lifestyle of the Brothers is reflected in the way the property is set out, with individual hermitages scattered through the bush around a central community building. The hermitages provide each Brother with a place of solitude, while the community area is for times of communal work, worship, meals, etc.

Place

brothers hermitageFrom time to time we may leave to preach, give a lecture, or do work of some kind, but the desire to return to our place is fundamental to our spirituality. Like the monk and his monastery, the hermit and his hermitage, the sense of place and residency has been a strong and essential element in our formation as Little Brothers of Francis.

We try to be as self-supporting as possible with a vegetable garden, orchard, bees, goats, and sheep to supply some of our food needs. 

We have also tried to use alternative energy sources, where possible. Similarly, we have done our own building, especially using stone from our own property.

Manual work

Work by our hands, whether in the garden, around the farm, or in one of our cottage industries, is essential in supporting ourselves and held in high esteem for itself.

constructionsheepjam 

Friendship

An important ingredient of our life is to delight in such things as friends, laughter, and meals together, because we see them in Christ’s life, who came among us rejoicing and delighting in such things.

outside prayer room

Down the Track

Others who are attracted to this vision to follow Christ as members of the Little Brothers of Francis will be involved in creating fraternities of three or four Brothers in other localities. The lifestyle will be similar to that envisaged by Saint Francis in the hermitages he founded, and as lived by the Brothers at Tabulam. These centres will be self-supporting and autonomous, and closely linked as a federation of hermitages bound by love, our common Franciscan ideal and rule of life. Membership of the little brothers of Francis involves sharing in the life of a small group of Brothers, leading to a life commitment.

Guest and Retreat Facilities

There is a hermitage available for one guest at time.

guest hermitage

Community Wares

Honey, jam and marmalade are sold through parishes. Cards and holding crosses are available by post from the brothers (see our webpage).

Friends of the Little Brothers of Francis

“Friends” are those who value and support the witness of the contemplative orders within the church, and share in our spiritual life and journey, and help to support us as a community of Brothers. Friends can be individuals or self organized groups with an informal relationship with the community who value the contemplative life as lived by the Brothers and support them in various ways. The Friends of the Little Brothers of Francis Inc. is a group of supporters of the contemplative life and the life of the Brothers with more “formal” membership requirements (see our webage). 

Please check out our irregular newsletter, the Bush Telegraph, recent issues of which are on our webpage, or contact us for a subscription (by donation)

We are a Recognised Contemplative Religious Order in the Anglican Church.  Bishop Godfrey Fryar: Protector.

Clilck here for a PDF version of this information sheet