Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I hope this finds you well and blessed. My name is Br. Austin. I am a perpetually professed Capuchin Franciscan friar. I began Postulancy on August 22, 2016. I then entered Novitiate in the next year and Professed First Vows on July 14, 2018. I then professed Final Vows on October 28, 2023.

As a Capuchin Franciscan friar, I have dedicated to a consecrated life to following the footprints of Christ through the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi. There are 3 main banches of the Franciscans, the OFMs, the OFM Capuchins, and the OFM Conventuals. The Capuchin Franciscans is a branch of the Franciscans, a religious group in the Catholic Church founded by St. Francis of Assisi in the early 1200s. Some may have heard of St. Francis of Assisi as loving the animals and all of God's creation. For those of you who know the history of California, the Franciscan missionaries established the 21 California missions in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The word "friar" comes from the Latin word "frater," which means "brother." Francis sought to be a brother to all by serving the poor, which he exemplified by embracing a leper, which used to disgust him. 

With that being said, "brotherhood" is part of our spirituality. There are 4 pillars of our faith: prayer, fraternity, minority, and ministry. We are called to be brothers to everyone and see that everyone is made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27). St. Francis also contemplated the poor and crucified Christ. Humility is a huge part of our spirituality as well, which leads to the other part of our name. Not only are we called to be friars, but FRIARS MINOR (or "lesser brothers"). Evangelical Poverty was crucial for St. Francis to recognize that nothing is ours and everything belongs to God. In being lesser, we seek to be humble in our daily lives.

I was an active chess player before I became a friar. Even though I am currently not playing in any USCF tournaments, I still play online and would like to connect with people as a brother and do so through the game of chess. It is a wonderful game and life is very much like a game of chess. We make decisions every day, and each of our choices has consequences. I am also willing to share the game of chess with others. If any of you want a match, feel free to ask.

Other than striving to follow the footprints of Christ and be in Heaven, my hope is that in any situation, I can be a companion to anyone I encounter, so that I can be seen as a brother to each person I encounter. We are made in the image and likeness of God and I see everyone as a brother or sister in Christ. With that being said, I am definitely interested in building relationships with people. If any of you wish to be a friend (even though uses "friend," I still consider you my brother/sister), feel free to send me a request. However, I will send you a message asking you to tell me about yourself. I would like to accept the friend request, but at the same time, I am also interested in knowing about you, so we can build relationships. Obviously, it won't be the same since it is virtual. I hope to meet you in person one day either on this earth or in Heaven, if we both make it by the mercy of God.

I also want to be open for conversations, so feel free to message me, and I am open to pretty much any conversation, including religion and politics. I understand those are very sensitive topics to a lot of people, but in my honest opinion, I think we do each other a disservice by never talking about them. I am willing to have conversations (either through messages or private chats or in person, if possible) about those sensitive topics. However, when we do, I ask that the situation be approached with respect, charity, and humility. I also ask that if debating on those topics, we address/attack ideas, not people.

Additionally, as a religious brother, I am also called to pray for people, so if any of you need any prayers, feel free to ask. Regardless of what your beliefs are, you are all my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am thankful to share a common interest with all of you, which is the game of chess.

Thank you and may the Holy Spirit be with you in all your endeavors.

Pax et Bonum,

Br. Austin Cambon, O.F.M. Cap.

P.S.: In case anyone is wondering, I am a consecrated Capuchin Franciscan lay brother. What that means is that I participate in the Franciscan life, but I do not administer sacraments. I do participate in mass and in the prayer life just like any Franciscan or consecrated religious, but I have no priestly obligations (celebrating mass, hearing sacramental confessions, etc.) So, please do not ask me for a priestly blessing because as of now, that is not my calling.