On-campus events utilize the St. Bonaventure Conference Center, which can be set up for various purposes and is equipped with the latest technological offerings.

St. Bonaventure University

Programs & Conferences

Welcome to the Franciscan Institute's Programs and Conferences website. We look forward to welcoming you to the following events. All presentations and programs are being offered in virtual format only, utilizing Zoom or other web conferencing technology.

First Annual Franciscan Connections Virtual Conference

Sponsored by The Franciscan Study Center at Tilburg University and The Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University
Graphic depiction of St. Francis
Lesser Ethics: Retrieving the Good Life in the Franciscan Tradition
Thursday, & Friday
June 24 & 25

This interdisciplinary Zoom virtual conference seeks to tease out a new, more relational methodology for ethics in our time.

It does so by addressing the question how we can make the Franciscan intellectual and spiritual tradition, in particular its articulation of moral goodness and concern for the common good, relevant and fruitful for a present-day ethical practice. 


Secular Franciscan Conference

Ben Johnson
Living Franciscan Values in our Contemporary World
June 28 — July 1
7:30-9 p.m.
Presented by Benjamin Johnson, O.F.M. Cap.

This seminar will offer a chance to reflect on Franciscan virtues within the context of contemporary life. We will begin with an overview of poverty and humility in the life of Francis of Assisi, and how this was subsequently theologized in the thought of Bonaventure of Bagnoregio.

With this foundation, we will then reflect on embodying these virtues within our own lives, especially in consideration of our faith, families, and the care of creation. We will particularly focus on how we can manifest Franciscan virtues in the concrete and material reality in which we find ourselves.

Zoom instructions will be sent to registrants.

Registration fee: $50 (Includes required text)
Registration cut-off date: June 1, 2021



    Master Class

    Luke Togni
    The Spiritual Significance of St. Francis in the Theology of St. Bonaventure
    June 21 — 25
    10-11:30 a.m. EST

    Presented by Dr. Luke Togni

    This course will explore the ways in which St. Bonaventure understood the importance of St. Francis of Assisi as a model for Gospel perfection and the imitation of Christ, and even more, shaped his theology.

    By introducing students to key texts representing Bonaventure's theological use of Francis and his sources for understanding the povorello, they will become familiar with the riches of Franciscan tradition and learn about the theological underpinnings of its commitment to poverty, humility, and charity.

    Zoom instructions will be sent to registrants.

    Registration fee: $300



    Master Class

    Katherine Wrisley Shelby
    From Leprosy to COVID-19: The Problem of Suffering in the Franciscan Theological Tradition
    Tuesdays & Thursdays, July 6 — 15
    4-5 p.m.

    Presented by Dr. Katherine Wrisley Shelby

    In his Testament, St. Francis recounts the story of his conversion by recalling how he “[began] doing penance in this way: for when I was in sin, it seemed too bitter for me to see lepers. And the Lord Himself led me among them and I showed mercy to them. And when I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was turned into sweetness of soul and body. And afterwards I delayed a little and left the world.” 

    Beginning with the Poverello’s ministry to lepers, the Franciscan Tradition has historically responded to what systematic theologians today would call “the Problem of Suffering” in rather unique ways. With an eye toward COVID-19, this course will consider the Franciscan Theological Tradition as a locus of resourcement for thinking about this problem in light of the current global health crisis: How does one follow the path of Francis when considering how to best minister to COVID-19 patients? How might the Franciscan Tradition offer meaningful ways forward for thinking about the Problem of Suffering, both theologically and spiritually?

    This course will turn to certain key figures and texts from the Medieval Franciscan Tradition — including St. Francis himself, The Tree of Life by St. Bonaventure, and a selection of texts pertaining to or written by medieval Franciscan women — in consideration of these questions. 

    Zoom instructions will be sent to registrants.

    Registration fee: $300



    Poor Clare Program

    Dr. Krijn Pansters
    Care as Contemplation/Contemplation as Care in the Franciscan Tradition

    July 19 — 23
    2:30 - 4 p.m. (ET)

    Presented by Dr. Krijn Pansters

    For Francis of Assisi, communal and personal prayer were indispensable elements of mendicancy, which can therefore be called truly active-contemplative. In quite another way, Clare and her enclosed sisters also combined care with contemplation.

    It was not by alternating preaching and praying like the brothers, whose main activity was the provision of cura animarum to people in the world. It would be by living contemplative lives as a form of caring and by experiencing care as a central tenet of a contemplative practice.

    Withdrawn behind walls and with limited caring activities, they strove to share the ideals of minoritas in the same spirit of “fraternal” love, service, and dedication. Like male Franciscan spirituality and mendicant living, female Franciscan spirituality and communal living would be free from “care and anxiety [cura et sollicitudine] about this world,” yet far from uncaring.

    Their care would be toward the Father in heaven, toward the founding mother, toward the self, toward each other, and toward others.

    These categories of Clarissan contemplative care are the subject of this course.

    Zoom instructions will be sent to registrants.

    These sessions are for Poor Clare sisters. Registration will be completed through respective federations.


    The Padua Program

    The Padua Program at St. Bonaventure University helps Franciscan institutions and ministries transmit the values of Saints Francis and Clare to new generations of leaders.
    The Padua Program logo
    Learn from specialists in Franciscan life and spirituality, leadership and management.

    The next Padua Program, Cohort IV, consists of six monthly training sessions on Franciscan mission, offered virtually, to be held in October, November and December of 2021, and January, February and March of 2022.



    Rule of 1221 Conference: POSTPONED TO SUMMER 2022

    Capuchin, Conventual and OFM friars are invited to a special gathering to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Earlier Rule of 1221.

    Jay Hammond and Bishop John Corriveau


    PLEASE NOTE: This conference, scheduled for summer of 2021, has been rescheduled for the summer of 2022.
    July 13 - 15, 2022