WHO is Brother Francis?
My full name is Francois d’Assise, but you can call me Francis. I am from Madagascar which is a beautiful island 425 km off the east coast of Africa in the
Indian Ocean. Its capital is Antananarivo. Madagascar is a home for 25 million people and thousands of animal species such as lemurs which are found nowhere else in the world.
I have four brothers and three sisters and I am the sixth born in the family. My parents and my brothers and sisters are all in Madagascar. My families on both the paternal and maternal side are all Christian. The fruit of my faith was nourished by my family, the cultural practices of my community and the teachings of the Catholic Church. I value all of my experiences that have shaped and made me who I am… a combination of spirit, mind, and body.
Music and sports are my hobbies. I like singing and playing some musical instruments. I also enjoy playing basketball, soccer and volleyball.
My desire to become a priest started in my late childhood. I remember that I wanted to be a good man like our Parish Priest at that time. My mother convinced me that to be priest and gain wisdom I should often read the Holy Bible along with prayer. The Bible has become the source of my inspiration and is nourishing and strengthening my desire to become priest.
In fact, I want not only to become a priest but a good missionary priest who can work humbly and effectively with different nationalities. I realize that the differences between two cultures or two nationalities are no longer stumbling blocks for people to relate but can become a source of wealth and attraction.
How wonderful it is to see different faces live together in one community or in one parish. This attracted me to join the Divine Word Missionaries. The precious wealth of different cultures living together in harmony is a source of happiness.
I joined the Divine Word in Madagascar after having completed senior high school in 2010. I spent one year in pastoral training. From 2011 -2014 I completed studies in philosophy. In 2014 I went to Ghana where I did my novitiate. This was a special year to ponder on the SVD spirituality and to learn the SVD constitution.
This was the time when I came to know that love is what I was made for and love is who I am. My Being, the True Self, the Life in me is Love. When I live outside of Love, I am not living from my True Self. I am called to listen consciously to my inner being. The inner spirit helps me to live, to love, to serve and to understand myself and others wherever I am called to be.
After my first profession of vows in Ghana in July 2016, I was appointed to Australia to continue my formation training. I arrived in Melbourne on the 5th November 2016. After my arrival, I spent six months studying English for academic purposes and then, I started theological studies at the University of Divinity (UTY). I have just finish my first semester in theology and I still have 7 semesters to go before I will be ordained as a priest.
I have come to St Mark Parish not only to observe but also to learn and experience how the parish works. I arrived at St Mark’s Parish on the 30th November and I will be leaving on the 18th February to continue my studies in Melbourne. I am more than happy to be with you here in this lively, vibrant and multicultural Parish. When I was in Melbourne, I heard that the people in this parish are known as warm welcoming and friendly people. Now I do not rely on hearing anymore but on my experience and I honestly confirm what I have heard…that you are warm welcoming and friendly people. Thank you very much, I deeply appreciate your welcome. In your kindness, I would like to ask you to pray for me in my journey as I do pray for you.