Norwich Franciscans say farewell to a lively brother

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Norwich Franciscans say farewell to a lively brother

The Norwich Pax et Bonum Franciscan Fraternity held a farewell celebration this week for Brother Robert Hardie.

Robert is emigrating to New Zealand with his wife Clare and spaniel Holly. He originally served the Franciscan community in the south-west Region. Since his profession 30 years ago he has held positions not only at local level in Norwich, but also at regional and national levels.

Robert has been involved in many charitable works, including setting up a feeding programme for Norwich street dwellers on Wednesday evenings. They have come to look forward to the homemade goodies and social interaction. Br Rob’s lively and knowledgeable personality will be greatly missed by us all. 

The Mass and celebration meal took place on April 25. “It proved a great success, with many of the street people attending as well as secular Franciscans from across the East Anglia region,” writes Anne Murrin, a member of the Secular Franciscans based in Norwich. “Fr Sean celebrated Mass for the intentions of Rob and Clare, and he blessed our new banner which had been recently created by Debbie Bool.”

“It really was one of the loveliest Masses I can remember,” wrote Robert afterwards.

The Franciscans, who are based at St George’s Catholic parish, give out food and vouchers to people living on the streets. Frances Taylor, a member of group, said: “We try and work in the footsteps of St Francis and what he did – to help those in poverty and the homeless. You build a rapport with people which really helps them.”

Pictured above is an earlier meeting of the Norwich Secular Franciscans, with Robert Hardie on the far left and Br Donal OFM centre.