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The Third Order of the Society of St Francis, NSW B/ACT Region, held its Annual Retreat recently from the 10th to the 12th October at The Gathering Place in Canberra. The theme of the retreat was ‘Open to God moment by moment’.

The Gathering Place has been a Brigidine Convent in the past and about 30 years ago it was transformed into the Retreat and Christian Conference Centre that it is today.

Our region has now held its Annual Retreat at The Gathering Place for the past 15 years. As one walks through the doors of this place there is an intense feeling of calm, peace and God’s presence in all we do and share in our time there.

We were so fortunate on our first evening to have our Provincial Minister Godfrey Fryar and Bronwyn with us as we shared a meal together. Godfrey and Bronwyn then shared about their recent trips to the U.S for the Ministers Provincial Meeting, Sri Lanka, South Korea, and Hong Kong with us. We were given a wonderful insight into how The Third Order is growing overseas.

The following day was devoted to the theme, led by Anthony Frost and Tim Narraway, allowing us all to ponder on and closely examine our encounters with God as we journey with Jesus in the company of Saint Francis on the road of life. We all were re-awakened by those experiences which initially led us to an awareness of Saint Francis and a desire to be a part of The Third Order.

It was a wonderful time of refreshment and reconnection with those experiences that we maybe had forgotten.

Our final worship together was the Eucharist in the Chapel at which our dear sister Kay Pendlebury was Professed as a Tertiary of The Third Order. It was a wonderful celebration as Kay was officially welcomed into the great Franciscan family.

Following the Eucharist Anthony Frost was farewelled by the group as he and wife Kim prepare to leave us to take up a position as Priest-in-Charge of East Burwood in Melbourne.

We wish Anthony well as God leads him on the next phase of his journey in the faith.

In all it was an excellent retreat at which 16 of us from many diverse locations (the South Coast, Cooma, Carcoar, Goulburn and Canberra) came together and shared together as one, on our faith journey.

by Graeme and Kathy Dunn
Area Convenors