Meet the Brothers
St. Francis Friary, Los Angeles, CA
Brother Ambrose Cristobal SSF is the Guardian of Saint Francis Friary and has also recently joined the chaplaincy ministry at LAC USC Hospital. He is planning to take the third unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program at Good Samaritan Hospital in this autumn. He visits the cathedral center twice a week for bookkeeping work under the supervision of Ms. Clare Zabala, diocesan Missions Coordinator. He is also engaged in the ministry of St. Mary’s, Mariposa which is Japanese-American origin congregation.
Brother Antonio SSF, a priest from the diocese of Tokyo, took his first profession in 1975 with the European Province and was transferred to the Province of the Americas in 1981. After he lived at San Damiano Friary in San Francisco for twenty four years, he responded to a call from Brazil in 2005. He worked at the parish of St. John's Church in Sao Paulo for two years, then he returned to Little Portion Friary on Long Island and worked there for six and a half years. He moved to St. Francis Friary in Los Angeles in September 2013. He attends the Sunday service at All Saints' Church, Highland Park and during the week he engages in the inner city community works with “Little Tokyo Service Center - Helping People, Building Community” and “Keiro Senior Health Care - Keiro Retirement Home and Keiro Nursing Home.”
Brother Ivanildo SSF comes to the United States from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has lived at the former Little Portion Friary, at San Damiano, and at St. Francis Friary in Los Angeles. He was very active in Brazil and in L.A. as a priest working within the Spanish-speaking community. He has enjoyed visiting parishes in the diocese to celebrate and preach at the Eucharist from time to time, as well as offer Quiet Days and Retreats. Fluent in Portuguese and Spanish, he continues to study English as a Second Language, and enjoys “surfing the net.” Ivanildo is currently on a Leave of Absence from the Community, discerning the next steps in his vocation.
San Damiano Friary, San Francisco, CA
Brother Clark Berge SSF is currently on a sabbatical period following his service as Minister General of the Society of St. Francis worldwide. He was professed in 1993. While San Damiano is "officially" his home, he is spending his sabbatical in Portland, OR, and has recently been asked to move temporarily to the European Province to serve as the Guardian of Hillfield Friary. He has written a very helpful book on the Vows and is working on completing his next book on Spirituality and running. He ran his first marathon in 2016. To find out where he might be at any given moment or to get an idea about his adventures with the brothers, visit his blog: www.brclarkberge.blogspot.com
Brother Damien Joseph SSF came to the Society in 2015. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, he has worked in counseling most of his life, including psychiatric crisis, additions, and youth work in both church and community settings. Most recently he was a counselor in the Pennsylvania state prison system. He is father to two adult sons, and is "PopPop" to a gorgeous young granddaughter. His ministeries include work with the unsheltered populations of the city, serving at St. Anthony's Dining Room, and advocacy around poverty issues. He is an Emergency Medical Technician and is particularly interested in Disaster Chaplaincy. Damien currently serves as Provincial Secretary for the American Province.
Brother Desmond Alban SSF is Minister Provincial for the Americas. He joined SSF in the European Province in 1993. Prior to being elected Minister Provincial, he came to America to serve as Novice Guardian. He previously served as Novice Guardian and as Provincial Secretary for the European Province. Before joining the brothers Desmond was a High School science teacher, specialising in Physics and also some Astronomy teaching, during which time he first came to SSF through the Third Order. He has lived in a variety of Friaries in the UK, including Alnmouth, a picturesque house on the English coast with an extensive guest ministry, and Birminghham, on a run-down social housing estate near the edge of the city, where he was much involved in youth work and in schools. He was a member of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York’s College of Evangelists. He enjoys music, particularly liturgical singing, and occasionally writes hymns or poems.
Brother James Nathaniel SSF is our newest Brother, and was clothed a novice on November 1, 2017. He is originally from Indiana and taught high school Social Studies there for almost five years before moving to San Francisco. He has quickly become involved in ministry including St. Anthony's Dining Room, adult tutoring at Epicopal Community Services (homeless shelter), and is already an active participant at the Church of the Advent of Christ the King. He is a liturgy afficionado, and has taken up duties as the Sacristan at San Damiano.
Brother Jude SSF is currently the Minister Provincial of the Province and lives at San Damiano Friary in San Franciso, where he has been since he transferred from the European Province. He trained in Zurich and London as a Jungian Analyst and has a small private practice working with people who do not have resources to afford this work. He is a spiritual director, facilitates groups and training for people in the ordination process. He is a consultant for the San Francisco Night Ministry. He is associate priest at the Church of the Advent of Christ the King in San Francisco. In his "spare time" repairs and restores old clocks, and operates "Pax et Bonum Press" on the Friaries 100+ year-old letter presses.
Brother Leo Anthony SSF is a Canadian from St. John, New Brunswick who joined the Society of Saint Francis in 1972 in Brisbane, Australia at Brookfield Friary. While at Brookfield Brother Leo was director for Morris House, a halfway house for juvenile offenders. He served on missions to the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and Tonga. He has lived as a Brother in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and America. He has been a Guardian, Novice Guardian, tutor, parish administrator and a chaplain. Leo came to the Province of the Americas in 2005 and lived at our former houses in Port Jefferson, NY and Berkeley, CA prior to coming to his present home in San Francisco.
Brother Robert Hugh SSF was born in England and ordained in the Church of England, where he served for ten years as a parish priest in the industrial northeast before becoming a friar of SSF in 1964. In 1967 he came to the US on a 'short-term exchange visit of a year or so', and is still here, based at San Damiano Friary. Having served over the years as Novice Guardian, Guardian, and Provincial Minister, his ministry has since then been primarily in preaching, retreats, teaching, and workshops. He has ministered in all 50 States, most of the Provinces of Canada, seven Caribbean countries, and across Australia and New Zealand. He has recently celebrated 50 years in Profession with SSF and 60 years as a priest.
Brother Thomas SSF came to San Damiano Friary in 2016, having already lived in San Francisco for several years and having become a good friend of the Brothers. A native Californian, he has lived in various places in the state, as well as in Portland, OR. He is a writer and artist, and is currently learning iconography. Prior to coming to the Brothers, Thomas participated in a variety of international missions and worked youth ministry and post-secondary student services. He is our resident coffee expert, having been a professional barista for many years. He volunteers at St. Anthony's Dining Room and tutors students in writing through the 826 Valencia program.
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