“There is a new monasticism that has been set loose in the world. It is not confined to literal cloisters of wood and stone but has developed and returned to the inner cloister of the heart. The walls of this new monastery encompass the whole world.” ~ Francis Bennett.

Memorial Gathering 

Celebrating the Life and Work of Francis ‘fran’ Bennett

An Online Memorial Gathering for Fran was held on Saturday 26th March 2022
5pm UK time/1pm Eastern time/10am Pacific Time. 

The Recording of that Zoom Presntation/Gathering is available to view here: 


or click the button below


The Life and Work of Francis ‘fran’ Bennett

Mike Jenkins, January 2022

This website will serve as a memorial to Francis and her Spiritual Teachings, which were shared with many hundreds of people through her book I am That I Am, as well as in her talks at conferences and events such as SAND (Science and Nonduality Conference in the US), panel discussions with teachers such as Adyashanti, Father Thomas Keating among many others and in her workshops, silent retreats, weekend intensives, online classes and courses, one to one coaching and spiritual mentoring and of course through her prolific writing on social media.

Fran’s own personal life was as much a teaching as her organised talks and retreats. It is my aim, as her friend, colleague and student to collate, present, preserve and continue to share her message and teaching of Full Circle Awakening.

Fran and I had been working gradually on this website as a replacement of her original website ‘Finding Grace at the Center’, which I managed, re-designed and administered between 2015 – 2019. It was at this time that Fran’s personal health challenges became too disruptive for her to continue teaching.

Preserving Fran’s Legacy, Sharing Her Teaching and Remembering Our Friend 

Over the coming months, I will build and grow this website and share some of the written, audio and video material I have of Fran’s teaching. We worked closely together on many projects, one of which was the text of her book (which was never completed). That book first had the working title ‘Fully Human, Fully Divine’ and then latterly, ‘Full Circle Awakening’.

Fran and I were also building an online portal for courses and teaching, titled ‘The School of Contemplative Living’ and some of that material may be suitable for inclusion here. We were also writing a 12 week email correspondence course by way of an introduction to her work and the practices she taught. As time and resources allow, I will continue to build and maintain this website for those who wish to draw upon the teaching that Fran offered.

In the meantime, I invite you to share YOUR memories of Fran in the comments section below.

Fran had that rare ability to make each person she spoke with privately to feel like they were the most important person to her. My sense is, because in that moment, you were. Conversely, (and being genuinely and unapologetically human!) she could be unselfconsciously vulnerable and childlike, so much so that many of her friends and students felt the powerful impact of her cry for help and her yearning for community and friendship in a world that can all too often meet an open and innocent heart with cruelty and derision.

On the one hand, Fran was a powerful force of nature with a deep and transformative message for us all. On the other, she was a simple and kind soul who longed to be loved for who she was. She might well say to us now: both hands belonged to the same person.

My own memories of Fran are many and varied. She could make me laugh like a loon, stop me dead in my tracks with a blunt, searing and challenging question, drive me insane with frustration and she drew out from me a protective, tender and nurturing quality that I didn’t really know was there.

We had the most spectacular time together in Barcelona, at the The Basílica de la Sagrada Família – Guadi’s Catherdral – when her eyes were ablaze with a most stunning light as she looked around that holy place and we shrieked with laughter on trips in my car, on trains, planes and in travel accommodation as we spontaneously improvised characters together with ludicrous voices. Her stiff upper class Brit was hilarious. She was insanely messy and left something behind everywhere she went; a phone charger, an earring, make-up… and chief among it all, the fragrance of Pure Spirit and Christ Consciousness that she invoked so many times with her recitation of Cardinal Newman’s ‘Fragrance Prayer’. She was my friend and my teacher.

Thank you my dear. I miss you and will speak with you and listen to your guidance often. God bless.


Mike Jenkins 

Sharing Memories of Fran 

I have added a comments section here for friends, former students, supporters, followers and others to share memories and stories of Fran and the impact she had on us. Please keep comments respectful. (All comments are moderated. Any content that is deemed to be disrespectful or abusive will not be published).


  1. Ron Brown-Gray

    “Dale” and I go way back in time and fellowship. I want to say it was the early 70’s in a little charismatic church in Ohio. The church had a young adults fellowship and that’s where we met. We bonded through music and often lead music together. He was a soft spoken brother and I loved him dearly for his easiness, his determination and the love he had for Jesus. Back then, you could see he was making a transition to the Catholic community. He was moved by the spirituality of the adoration of Jesus. We even made a trip to Gethsemanee. It could have been his first trip of many as the brothers drew him in. Our ways parted due to college. But even after college we made contact as he was living with our dear friends Will and Bette. We had some kind of falling out during that time. I don’t even remember what it was now. Just two years ago another mutual friend who made the trip to Gethsemane with us told me of her transition. I looked up Frans information and found her FB posts. I never did contact her. I’m heartily sorry for not doing it. I will remember that young fellow with intense love in my heart. Our hearts belonged to Jesus and now she has the fortunate privilege of singing along and sitting at our Lord’s side. Blessings, and blessings in your perfect peace.

  2. Morgan

    What a beautiful soul. I’ve known of Fran since about 2020, and followed her awakening journey sporadically. It helped me with mine. The Christ-like love that poured from her seemed effortless, and it was so easy to want to learn from and absorb all of the wisdom and compassion she had accumulated over the years.

    I would like to post a powerful prayer that she shared on Youtube once. It inspired me deeply and I prayed it regularly at one point in time.

    “Dear Christ light, my true nature, help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Yours. Shine through me so that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see not only me but the Christ. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. Let me praise You in the way You love best: by shining on those around me. Let me preach You without preaching, not by words, but by my example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You. Amen”

    My prayers for Fran’s family and friends.

  3. Bengt Lundborg

    I took part in Fran’s retreats in the UK in 2016 and 2017 and they were truly overwhelming experiences. Then I took part in some courses and satsangs over zoom, but in 2019 I lost sight of Fran. The website vanished. I checked now and then but no new information appeared. In the meantime I had to change my e-mail, so I guess Fran or Jane or Mike could not reach me, had they wanted to. At last, just now, I was reached by the news that Fran had passed away, that the website had reappeared and that there was a memorial gathering for Fran to be viewed on youtube. Watching it all, the memories came back and I felt again the strong impact Fran had had on me. In Fran I met a remarkable being who was indeed fully human but who had no ego. Back then I had an experience where I tried to sense her nature – and I saw just infinite space. Infinite. I miss her. And I miss the friends I met at the retreats although we hardly spoke to each other. It is a huge loss. I feel grief.

    • Mike Jenkins

      Thank you so much for your comment and memories Bengt. I miss fran too and think of her often. Fran would say she most definitely did have an ego and that all humans needed a sense of an individual self .. but that was not ALL we are. Her Full Circle Awakening teaching described the integration of an awakening to Spirit as our primal identity being infinite space and open-hearted awareness and that the ego is decentralised and utilised by Spirit in a more skilful, less harmful and more compassionate way.

      My sense is that fran was teaching that each individual is a beautiful, unique expression of that infinite space and silence you speak of .. which she looked at you from and you looked at her from. In that sense, the infinite space in you was looking at the infinite space in her, through the eyes of two beautifully unique beings.

  4. Kevin Dieter

    I just learned of Frans death this week, as I wondered why she hadn’t posted for awhile. I went to her FB page and read through the comments. I sent her money periodically when she asked. She was very helpful to me when my 32 yo son came out as trans…I will not forget the phone call I had with her. Lastly, she was one of the most Christ-like people I have met. Thank you Fran.

  5. Bev Silvester-Clark

    I’m here, not to share my memories of Fran, but to share how she is speaking to me now. Before i start that I must thank you Mike for hosting, with Jane, the memorial gathering for Fran and for keeping this web site live. Much gratitude to you.
    I read I am That I Am way about 10 years ago. It spoke to me deeply but I didn’t follow Fran’s evolving life and teaching until I became aware of her transition and then of her death. Since then I’ve found myself puzzling over how could all this be? How could such an awakened being die in poverty, so apparently rejected? A stream of synchronisities meant I was blessed to attend the online memorial gathering a week or so ago. I was deeply moved to meet Fran through the beautiful sharing.
    That took me to rereading I Am That I Am and was transfixed by the story of Mary on page 13, and especially of the koan within ‘the lineage of pain and suffering’. Fran’s story doesn’t make sense to my mind, but it came to me that her life and death is a koan I’m to sit deeply with. I then ‘heard’ the phrase “He was despised, a man of sorrows” and have sat listening to the whole of the Messiah, and especially that aria, repeatedly. Then I found myself dusting off my bible and reading Isaiah 53. Thank you Fran – you are very present to me now and teaching me so much from wherever you are.

  6. Jonathan Jelfs

    The sad events of Frans’ passing and the beautiful memorial service of remembrance have drawn my attention to her work once more. It was in 2016 that I met Francis, having invited Francis to speak at the ‘Wake up in Liverpool – a festival of spirituality’. Francis stayed with myself and my wife and shared most wonderfully at the festival. I am now re-reading the book ‘I Am That I Am’ and re-listening to the ‘Full Circle Awakening’ course and finding these to be most profound. Much of what I have been learning and experiencing in the years since 2016 are expressed here in the most clear and perceptive way; it has felt like a wonderful pure transmission of truth and Spirit once more. Thank you Fran, bless you!

  7. Marshall Davis


    I want to thank you for hosting the Memorial Service for Fran today on Zoom. Bob Kasarda happened to mention her death to me today in an email. So I did a search and found the service and tuned in. It was a joy and a blessing.

    I saw Francis in the interview on Buddha at the Gas Pump in 2012. Shortly after that Fran was the first person I talked to by phone after my spiritual awakening. It was very helpful to have someone from a Christian background to share with. At the time I did not have the nondual vocabulary or concepts to describe unitive awareness. So she was influential in my ministry of Christian nonduality today.

    I have not kept in touch with her since that call in 2012, which means I did not follow her transitioning to a woman. It was so good to hear family and friends share in the memorial service today and be part of the celebration of her life. Bless you for keeping her teachings online.

  8. Linda

    Thank you Mike (and jane) for a beautiful remembrance and celebration of fran’s life. ?

  9. Lynn Fuentes

    Fran spent several months with us over the years, living in our home and giving talks and workshops here in Sedona. I recall that she decorated our Christmas tree one year, beautifully, and with such joy. She was in the process of developing her Full Circle Awakening teaching while she was here, so we got to help with details and learn a lot about it. In fact, she and I had plans to teach a course interweaving it with the Integral Stages of Development. (Mike, maybe there are parts of that we can share.)

    My best memory may be the hilarious journey we made from Sedona to Santa Fe in a blinding snowstorm. And then the talk that she gave at the Unity church there brought me to my knees – it was so powerful, uplifting, and true. The weekend captured her multi-faceted self, much as Mike described it in his letter – childlike and somewhat helpless, a frustrating person to support, a delightful friend, a beautiful writer, and a profound channel for truth.

    • José Fuentes

      Yes, as my wife says we hosted Fran at our home several times and she was a great teacher for me. I put together the graph to illustrate the concept of Full circle awakening. That concept was in my estimation a great contribution she made to spirituality.

    • José Fuentes

      You can see the Full circle awakening map here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/lml00y54bn7gvmy/SpiritualPractices-final%202.pdf?dl=0

  10. Frank

    I just want to share what Fran wrote in my copy of “I Am That I Am”:

    May you come to believe the truth about yourself, no matter how beautiful.
    You are loved!

  11. Tracy Peng

    Sitting in the heartbreak of what it is to watch Fran have the immense courage to follow her inner truth and violate the social norms of the dominant culture, and to pay the price of ridicule, poverty, and early death that so many trans women do. And which Jesus also paid in the final chapter of his life. Her teaching of “there’s a place in my heart that embraces this” is something I will be digesting deeply for a lifetime, embracing this total heartbreak. I met her once, gave her a ride from the airport to the SAND conference in 2018 and was touched by her connectivity, gentleness, and vulnerability. Since then I wanted her (and Opal) to be safe and warm, healthy and well fed. I didn’t always get my wish with them, but there are other trans women who can benefit even though I can no longer help Fran.

  12. Bob kasarda

    Thanks. Please consider offering her teachings for free and leaving it up to us to decide on an offering. That is how she handled her spiritual direction.

    • Mike Jenkins

      Hi Bob. Thanks for your comment. It’s not entirely how Fran handled all of her Spiritual direction. For a year Fran ran a 12 week mentoring program (actually listed on this site in 2019) that was charged at $1,200 for 12 weeks ($100 per session) and before that, for 5 years, her retreats and other offerings carried a cost. Fran always adjusted her fees for people in financial distress and all retreats and events had scholarship places available for those in need. And during the last months of her life, Fran was keen to begin supporting herself with paid teachings once more. Fran had much to say about Spiritual work, payment for that work and how the Buddhist concept of Dana was not something that many people in Western Cultures understood or felt comfortable with.

      However, I will be offering many of her teachings to be freely available and on a donation basis where possible. There are costs involved in keeping the site online and obviously, I have to take time out of my schedule and self employed work to maintain and build the site. If those who use the website help to adequately support it financially, there’s no reason that all of the offerings can’t be shared freely for all. Thanks for your comment Bob and for you support of Fran in recent times.

      • Jack

        For most of my life I was atheist and had little knowledge of or interest in spirituality. I had a sudden awakening in 2013 and connected with Fran not long after. I remember being so anxious to connect with her and fumbled for words to describe what I was experiencing. She held me so tenderly and when I sheepishly asked if I could be her student she laughed like I’d said the funniest thing in the world and said “yes, I thought that was obvious”. Not long after this my kundalini awakened and I disconnected from Fran as I was confused by the way she was supporting me. I’d wanted more validation around my experience, which she only tentatively gave. I realise now she was trying to protect me from the pride and insecurity she saw in me, as I wasn’t ready for the intense awakening I was experiencing.

        It took about a year for me to reach out to her again and despite my previous rejection of her she was willing to support me ground and integrate my awakening.

        Or time together was usually spent talking about very ordinary things, everyday life and how we felt. I always felt better after talking to her and could feel the light shining from her and feel her presence heal me.

        As Mike has rightly pointed out, her life was her greatest teaching. She truly lived spiritual awakening and walked in the footsteps of famous saints who lived by the idea “preach the gospel wherever you go, if absolutely necessary, use words”.

        I was shocked that so few in the spiritual community could see her gender transition was a direct teaching on authentically living as the Self, not to mention a deep lesson on the nature, unity and flow of divine masculinity and femininity energy.

        It was so painful to watch her being disrespected by transphobic people who claimed to be living spirituality and to see her career and access to funds reduce as a result of this ignorance and projection of their own self-hatred and lack of understanding of their own sexual and gender natures.

        Though I loved Fran in the end the pain of seeing her health deteriorate while my efforts to help failed, along with changes in my own life, meant I drifted apart from her.

        I found out she’d died a few weeks after her death. I was heartbroken, and still am, though I’m not surprised. At times when we had sessions together she would fall asleep because her blood sugar was so poorly regulated due to her diabetes and lack of medical support. I’m so angry at the medical community of the US who put profits before people and toward the transphobic ‘spiritual’ people who shut down her access to a financially independent life. As I see it, they killed my friend.

        I can still feel Fran with me. I feel our connection in my heart and speak with her. Before I knew she’d died I started having visions of her teacher Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche offering me blessings. After I found out about Fran’s death I started having similar visions of Fran. It warms my heart to feel her presence from the other side and I know my teacher and friend is still here. She must be so happy now she’s back with her celestial family. She certainly feels that way to me and I look forward to joining her there once my time carrying the light she gave me is done here. As I see it, Fran and her teachers in the higher realms and us here embodied in the physical are part of a family of light dedicated to doing the necessary and challenging work of transmitting our modern world. I wish us all the best of luck and I thank Fran for playing her role so beautifully and contributing to us fulfilling ours.


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