Fr Paul Hanbridge was born in 1952, professed his First Vows in 1974 and was ordained a priest in 1979. He has lived in various fraternities over the years, Leichhardt, Wynnum, Plumpton, the Hermitage in Murrurundi (since closed), and in the General Curia in Rome. He has carried out a variety of ministries, such as parish priest, itinerant presbyter with the Neocatechumenate, postulant director, prayer as hermit, and archivist and vicar in the General Curia in Rome. He is currently in the fraternity of Leichhardt engaged in uniting himself more fully with the Cross of Christ as he lives out his experience of terminal prostrate cancer. The interview below took place in the late 1990's.
I was born in Annandale (Sydney) 21 August 1952, the youngest of three. Our family lived in Leichhardt (inner western suburb of Sydney), quite a different place then to what it is nowadays. Lower primary at St. Columba’s (North Leichhardt) and the Josephite Sisters. The rest of my schooling was with the Christian Brothers - first Balmain, then St. Mary’s Cathedral. All my teenage life I definitely wanted nothing else than to be a geologist. So much for that (It’s a long story).
Off to the Capuchin Seminary 20 February 1972, second year after leaving High School. Going to bed before midnight took took a lot of adjustment.
Why join the Capuchins? The friars were in the parish next door . . . and I liked the "Peace Prayer of St. Francis."
Looking back now I really do believe that God has had to lead me along - patiently and gradually - to replace my original good intentions with His own reasons for my becoming a friar. I am very glad about this.
I have come to see a little of where He has been working in my past – and very often despite myself. What sometimes looked like mud at the time, is truly beginning to appear like gold, because He has always been faithful.
My little experience has shown that where the Lord has called me He has always provided.