I am the Vine, you are the branches


De La Mennais Brothers' Founder's Day - Nov. 26th 2019 - from Bulletin 25th Nov.

Founder’s Day - Father Jean-Marie De La Mennais (1780-1860)

Nov. 26th is the day when we, the Brothers, and the members of our worldwide network of Brothers’ communities, schools, youth movements, educational projects and friends commemorate the life of Jean-Marie De La Mennais, a dynamic, charismatic Breton priest who helped reignite the Catholic faith in post-Revolution France, especially Brittany. The actual date of his death was Dec. 26th 1780, but traditionally we commemorate him a month earlier due to the proximity to Christmas.

Pupils at our secondary school in Bunia, DR Congo.

Our Brothers in Tahiti/Polynesia.

Pupils in Derval, Brittany.

Our trainee/Novice Brothers in Dapaong, Togo

Brothers and lay people from Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia.

Pupils in Portugalete, Spain.

This year, being our Bicentenary year as a religious congregation, the children, laypeople a

Kermode + Mayo's BBC Radio 5 Live Film Review radio show/podcast (aka Wittertainment)

My life is now complete...

A few weeks ago, I had a message read out on Kermode + Mayo's BBC Radio 5 Live Film Review radio show/podcast (aka Wittertainment), the country's flagship film show. Click on the below image and scroll to 44m45s.

By the way, what I wrote has absolutely nothing to do with film šŸ˜†. It makes reference to some of the in-jokes and language that the presenters and fans have come to use over the years in a spiritual context (yes, really!) especially the word "birdsong". It is a reference to the fact that in the podcast version of the show the producer replaces any questionable language and anything politically controversial with actual birdsong. It's also become a euphemistic, humorous alternative to swear words, e.g. "Oh, what the birdsong!?"  My signing off comments are also a running joke  "Love the show, Steve... Tinkety tonk... And down with the...".

Colin Hay - roving troubadour

I've recently rediscovered the songs/albums of the wonderful Scottish/Australian singer-songwriter, Colin Hay, former lead of Men At Work (yes, the guys who sang "Down Under", but more importantly "Overkill" - IMHO one of the greatest, most underrated 1980s songs). Once Men At Work split up in the mid-80s he became a roving troubadour, playing in pokey bars and clubs in middle America, basically starting from the bottom once again. In the early 2000s the production team and lead actor (Zach Braff) of the US comedy show Scrubs saw him playing live in LA, just him and his guitar and were spellbound. They invited him to appear in the show on a few occasions, introducing him to a whole new audience. Braff also used one of his songs at a key moment in his directorial debut film, "Garden State".

Our former students, Simon Barber and Brian O'Connor, interviewed him for their "Sodajerker On Songwriting" podcast a couple of years ago: and an excel…

Holiness - Bulletin 18/11/19

Holiness is a favourite topic of Pope Francis. In 2018, he published a document entitled “Gaudate et Exultate: Apostolic Encyclical on the call to holiness in today’s world” which builds on the Second Vatican Council document, Lumen Gentium (1964), and its “universal call to holiness”. This is not reserved for a select few. It is something that we should all aspire to, with Jesus as our model.

In “Gaudate et Exultate”, Pope Francis says:
“7. I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people: in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile. In their daily perseverance, I see the holiness of the Church militant. Very often it is a holiness found in our next-door neighbours, those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence.”
Being holy doesn’t mean being perfect. It means striving to live for God, taking daily steps …

Thomas Merton and a Twitter conversation

Here's a Twitter thread conversation between me and my Twitter friend "Bodmin Hermit" (@The Carceri) taking Thomas Merton as our starting point.

Bod = MERTON: No writing on the solitary, meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees... But what can the wind say where there is no hearer? That deeper silence must be heard before one can speak truly of solitude.

Me = Merton was my first encounter with spiritual writing as a teenager during a retreat at Downside Abbey: "Contemplative Prayer". I still have that copy. Later, "No Man Is An Island", "Seven Storey Mountain", which had a big impact, and others. Time to see what he says to me today.

Bod = His approach & record of his life, 7SM, and his hermit experiences are very head-on, without frills... Yet other writings & poetry, deeply mystical... Our spiritual journey with God is often about paradoxes! Dipping into this ag…

Hallelujah Here Below by Elevation Worship ("Paradoxology" version)

#HallelujahHereBelow by #ElevationWorship is currently the worship song that is most regularly nourishing my daily prayer (in its alternative version from the "Paradoxology" album).

We are an altar of broken stones But You delight in the offering You have the heavens to call Your home But You abide in the song we sing
Ten thousand angels surround Your throne To bring You praise that will never cease But hallelujah from here below Is still Your favourite melody
We sing Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah
And should the fire that once burned bright Become an ember my eyes can't see I will remember Your sacrifice I will abide in Your love for me
Oh, we sing Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah
Jesus Christ our King enthroned All the praise is Yours forevermore Hallelujah here below All the praise is Yours forevermore
Jesus Christ our King enthroned All the praise is Yours forevermore Hallelujah here below All the praise is Yours forevermore
Oh, what a wonderful day to come When every knee bows before Your na…

Give thanks for his love endures forever.


His steadfast love endures forever.


Sing to God with gratitude in your heart.