Collage of the life of the Little Brothers of Francis
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Why Eremophila?

 

One of the beautiful flowering shrubs of Australia's arid areas is eremophila. It has many diverse forms - some are small tree-like shrubs, others are quite small (under 30 cm); some have almost needle-like leaves; some have short stubby leaves; and yet others have long, hanging strappy leaves.

The flowers are small and trumpet-like and may be white, pink, yellow, mauve or orange. When they are in flower, they can be especially showy, like E Sturtii that is common in western New South Wales and south-western Queensland.

This diversity within one plant family is seen as symbolic of the personalities, gifts and skills to be found and honoured among the Brothers, yet belonging and committed to their vocation within the community of Brothers.

The plant is called eremophila because it is a shrub of the arid zone. The name eremophila comes from two Greek words: eremos - solitude, desert, wilderness, lonely place; phileo - to love. Eremophila is a lover of the desert or wilderness.

Eremophila flower
Flower of the Eremophila gilesii
Flower of the Eremophila maculata aurea
Flower of the Eremophila latrobi

We have chosen Eremophila as the name of our place. Although this is not a desert, it is somewhat isolated, as our visitors often remark! For us, however, it is a reminder of the place of solitude in the religious life. The early monks made their homes in the desert and places of solitude were important in the life of Francis and the early Franciscan movement, as they were in the life of Christ Himself. To call our place Eremophila is a way of acknowledging this tradition in our Australian context and also of recognising one of the great beauties of the Australian desert.

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