Franciscan Institute

Friday marked the end of the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University for everyone this summer. This was my first time as a student at the Institute, but I don’t believe it will be my last. What I encountered was beyond good. I was surrounded by scholarly yet un-pretentious friars, nuns and secular Franciscans and a smattering of others who all came to learn more about what it means to be Franciscan. I took a course called, “Retrieving a Franciscan Philosophy for Social Engagement,” taught by Keith Warner, OFM, Ph.D from Santa Clara University and ┬áthe St. Barbara Province in California. The course was more than I bargained for. Not only did I learn how much I didn’t know, but I came away with a renewed sense of purpose in my life and a future direction. I enrolled at the institute in March of this year. Little did I know that I would form lasting relationships with people I would scarcely meet elsewhere. My experience at the institute confirmed for me that I am truly a Franciscan. I got to attend daily mass which was the first time in a number of years that I had been to Mass with that frequency. The Institute revolves around the liturgy and the liturgy revolves around the Institute. We had class on July 4th followed by Mass and a barbecue at the St. Bonaventure University Friary. We celebrated the Feast of St. Bonaventure on July 15th and in between all of those celebrations I learned about the richness of the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition which up until then was only a phrase.

I learned about Peter Olivi, John Duns Scotus, Bl. Bernard de Feltre, St. Bonaventure, St. Francis, St. Clare, and many more. What it means to have a Franciscan social philosophy and be able to articulate it are not just words anymore. I came away with a renewed commitment to my vocation as a Secular Franciscan and a re-energized sense of purpose. I want to thank everyone who contributed to the experience in any way because it was one of those watershed moments that define a lifetime. Pax et Bonum.

ISTE 2011 First Night

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A picture inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center at the keynote session.

We arrived safe and sound in Philadelphia this afternoon. A decision by Kim when we were 80 miles out proved sage as we drove straight to the convention center and registered. We got our badges, swag and bags and literally followed the crowd to the keynote. Thanks to Twitter we got to see Rob Griffith (@rgriffithjr) and his wife, Jamie Lynn. When we first entered the keynote Kim didn’t believe we’d find seats but Dave managed to find just enough for us to enjoy the show. The room was filled with thousands of conference attendees. We hadn’t eaten all day so the chocolate bar in a Dell wrapper was a welcome treat. Dr. John Medina gave a rousing keynote and then we made our way to our nights lodging And a tasty meal at T.G.I.F.

We’ve agreed to get up early and get back down to the convention center for a full and fun day tomorrow. Hoping to keep a beginners mind so I can learn a lot.