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SBU’s Franciscan Institute sponsors scholars at International Medieval Congress

May 13, 2024

The Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University is sponsoring two of its scholars to attend the International Congress on the Study of the Middle Ages at the University of Leeds in England, July 1-4, as part of the institute’s initiative examining “St. Bonaventure as a Reader of St. Albert the Great.”

Andrew BelfieldDr. Andrew Belfield, assistant professor of Theology and Franciscan Studies and book review editor of SBU’s academic journal, Franciscan Studies, will join Dr. Luke Togni, the 2023-2024 Research Fellow of the Franciscan Institute, who has organized the session. This is the fourth meeting of the initiative sponsored by the institute and organized by Togni since 2023, when Belfield was among its inaugural presenters.

The International Medieval Conference brings together more than 2,000 participants from 60 countries with over 2,100 papers presented. This year’s topic is “crisis” and the goal of the congress of scholars is “to contribute to wider society by presenting cutting-edge research on so many facets of crisis, whether it is the narratives of crisis, records of crisis, perceptions of crisis, responses to crisis, or interactions with crisis throughout the Middle Ages and beyond.”

The session brings together scholars from Europe and North America to continue the discussion not only of Bonaventure’s reading and engagement with Albert the Great, but to also consider how the mendicants at Paris may have formed, as Dr. Boyd Coolman of Boston College suggested, “one textual community.”

Luke TogniThe year’s presenters include Dr. Dennis P. Bray (St. Mary’s College, University of St. Andrews), Dr. William E. Crozier, (Department of Theology & Religion, Durham University), Dr. Matthew Vanderkwaak, (University of King’s College, Nova Scotia), and retired independent scholar Dr. Susan Potters, who studied Bonaventure under the late Dr. Ewert Cousins. Dr. Lezlie Knox of Marquette University, who serves on the Franciscan Institute’s Research Advisory Council, will join the session along with Dr. Michael Hahn of Sarum College in Salisbury, UK.

In presenting these scholarships and sponsoring a special session at the University of Leeds, Fr. David B. Couturier, O.F.M. Cap., director of the Franciscan Institute, noted the lectures’ importance.

“St. Albert the Great, a Dominican friar, was an extraordinary teacher at a time of crisis in the Middle Ages. He was a philosopher and theologian. He lectured on botany, astronomy, metaphysics and ethics. He invented the modern study of minerals. He is the patron saint of the natural sciences. Dominican friars and Franciscan friars studied together at the feet of St. Albert,” he said. “The Franciscan Institute continues that spirit of collaborative education. Our Franciscan scholars are bringing their expertise to Leeds to engage in conversations about how Albert’s genius influenced Bonaventure and Aquinas and how their scholarship can guide us through our crises today.”

The institute will publish papers from the initiative in the Franciscan Studies journal this year, including Togni’s “Bonaventure as a Reader of Albert the Great: A Short Introduction,” Belfield’s article on “Hypostases in Christ and the Work of Scholastic Christology: The Summa Halensis and Albert the Great’s Commentary on the Sentence,” and other papers by Dr. John Kern of Pepperdine University, Samuel Baudinette, Ph.D. (cand.) of the University of Chicago, and Jonathan Gaworski, Ph.D. (cand.), of Catholic University of America.

The Franciscan Institute is an educational unit of St. Bonaventure University that provides research in Franciscan studies, publishes an academic journal, books and research papers, and sponsors courses, workshops and seminars in Franciscan studies. For more information, go to


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