St. Bonaventure University

The Padua Program

The Franciscan Institute's training program in Franciscan mission-based leadership.

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.

Infusing this mission into the daily operations of Franciscan schools, hospitals, retreat centers, and social service programs requires competent leaders. Individuals completing the Padua Program will increase expertise in preservation and promotion of the Franciscan legacy. 

The Padua Program was designed and directed four years ago by Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., former president of St. Bonaventure University; Fr. David B. Couturier, O.F.M. Cap., executive director of the Franciscan Institute; and Dr. Pauline Albert, a writer, researcher, teacher, and organizational specialist. It has educated five cohorts of participants from the fields of education, health care, social services and retreats.

Padua is a program of the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure. The institute engages in three principal areas of scholarly concern: research, publication and workshops, and seminars and academic conferences on the Franciscan intellectual tradition.

The Padua Program hosts its workshops in the University Conference Center in Doyle Hall on the SBU campus.

Cohort VI: July 17-20, 2024

The  Padua Program: An Overview

The Padua Program is an educational program in Franciscan mission-based leadership for directors, managers and leaders of Franciscan institutions. It includes an on-campus workshop at St. Bonaventure University (Part One), as well as nine monthly seminars on Zoom.

The first part of the program is held on the campus of St. Bonaventure University over three days in July. All accommodations (an air-conditioned townhouse apartment and all meals) are included in the registration fee. Participants will have an opportunity to meet one another in person and begin the study of Franciscan spirituality and apply it to the latest research on leadership in both profit and not-for-profit enterprises.

This workshop will be an introduction to the Franciscan movement, its meaning and values. These sessions, with appropriate readings, will guide participants through an understanding of the meaning of the Franciscan tradition, as proposed in the life stories of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi.

Directed by some of the country’s best scholars in Franciscan studies, participants will study the unique features of Franciscan leadership as proposed by these two founders of the Franciscan movement. We will explore what it means to have a Franciscan mission and a Franciscan institutional vocation in the 21st century.

This next section of the course is devoted to monthly seminars that address the tasks and challenges of Franciscan mission-based leadership in various kinds of institutions (education, hospital, social services, etc.) Participants will also investigate special topics such as:

  • What is Franciscan mission-based leadership?
  • Franciscan Mission and Margins
  • Franciscan Mission and Organizational Ethics
  • The Role of the Mission Officer and relations through the Institution
  • Strategic Planning as a Mission Leader
  • Franciscan Decision-Making Models
  • Mission Assessment in your organization

2024 Cohort VI cost and registration

Cohort VI: July 17-20, St. Bonaventure University.
Cost: $3,000



A welcoming environment for all

Our scenic campus welcomes diversity and scholarship, and our University Conference Center is newly renovated for comfortable adult learning.

Nestled in the valley of Western New York’s Enchanted Mountains, the campus of St. Bonaventure University provides a relaxing venue for community building and interactive learning about Franciscanism and leadership.

Our Padua Team will bring to the table years of scholarship and practical experiences in mission development and integration, organizational and leadership studies, ethics, and business consulting. This interdisciplinary approach will enhance personal skills and institutional integrity.  
For information contact Fr. David Couturier, executive director of the Franciscan Institute, at (716) 375-2160, or Heidi Strauss, at (716) 375-2062. To send us an email, click here.

The Padua Team

We have assembled a great team of specialists in Franciscan life and spirituality, leadership and management across the various ministries and institutions that Franciscans run and sponsor today.