Br Micael Christoffer SSF

God was making plans for me, later it became even more obvious when I understood that a year earlier someone had done my work for just a week and then given up, I was meant to be there.

Br Micael Christoffer SSF

Who are the Society of St Francis (SSF)?

Br Micael Christoffer SSF  is the Brother-in-Charge at Alnmouth Friary in Northumberland. He is a member of the Society of St Francis is an community of men seeking to follow Jesus Christ in the way of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi.

My Faith and Childhood

I was born into Church of Sweden, and baptized as a child on the 3rd of October, I did not know about the Franciscan connection then, that is the evening when we celebrate the Transitus, passing of Saint Francis of Assisi in preparation of the main celebration 4th of October. It was natural for me to be part of the parish activities for children. I felt at home in the parish and grew in spirit and responsibility. As a teenager I began to lead the younger school children in our after-school club. More responsibility was given when I became a part of Church of Sweden Youth board of trustees, first in the parish and then in the diocese, and in a national committee responsible for the organization’s educational material about outdoor activities like what scouts do. I also became a member of the PCC when I got 18. Before that I had been a Church warden which in a Church of Sweden context means someone like a Sacristan and help to the priest with other liturgical things in a Church service or Eucharist. 

I grew up in the countryside and always lived close to nature. My big hero growing up was my grandfather, a dairy farmer, and I wanted to follow in his footstep, until I realised that the work is hard and much more than feeding calves and driving a tractor. But it certainly has given me a love for the nature, and I always enjoyed when we as a church were away on camp or did other things outdoors. 

Travelling and Teaching

Several in the parish saw training for ordination as next step for me, I never did. I explored how to do it, but it sounded boring and instead I trained to be a Parish pedagogue which became my passion after I found it difficult to get a permanent job using my first passion, cooking. My training in teaching took me to new parts of Sweden where I met other expressions of Christianity. It became even more so when I began my parish work and met a lot of Christians from the Middle East. I felt called to this place and God made it possible for me with the parish connections to get a flat within weeks. People who lived in Greater Stockholm were amazed that it worked out so quick. I had no other connections to Södertälje, so I certainly needed the help. God was making plans for me, later it became even more obvious when I understood that a year earlier someone had done my work for just a week and then given up, I was meant to be there. 

My calling to be a Franciscan Brother

With newfound friends I joined a weekly prayer group. One evening I asked for where my love for saying the office and my thoughts that I might be called to celibacy instead of starting a family of my own, like my friends, could take me. Even if I loved my worked with families and children and young adults, I felt it less and less being my calling to start a family even if I was told how great a dad I would be. During the prayer one of the women saw an image of a tree surrounded by birds. I saw that as Francis of Assisi. I started to explore more about him because I did not know much at all. I wanted to find him in Church of Sweden and found FTO, the local area of TSSF, The Third Order of The Society of Saint Francis. I contacted them and slowly I became more and more part of this dispersed community. I felt at home as a Franciscan but realised that I wanted more of living together as a community, than meet up irregular and pray for each other daily. That this was possible I heard about at one of our Area Chapters when I met brother Giles SSF. He was a guest and talking about the brothers life. He came back to Sweden for another reason six months later and then helped me to organise to visit the brothers in England. After that, I stayed in touch with the Novice Guardian, and we exchanged emails now and then. I got an invitation to an Enquires weekend but the following year but did not feel I had the time for it. A similar invitation came next spring and I felt just as busy but decided to go. It was the right time, God led me to be there at the right time because the group of men who were invited to join the community in September that year were all non-British. I moved to our Friary in Alnmouth and still eleven year later I am part of the community and now as a Life Professed brother.

 

Video of Alnmouth Friary

Society of St Francis
open book, library, education-1428428.jpg
Read More Vocation Stories