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SBU’s Franciscan Institute to take over sole sponsorship of Padua Program

May 04, 2020

The Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University will this summer become the sole sponsor of the Padua Program, a unique initiative that trains mission leaders of Franciscan institutions.

The Franciscan Institute has been a co-sponsor of the program with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities for the past three years. The Institute will begin sole sponsorship on Aug. 1.

“The Padua Program provides the most comprehensive mission-based leadership training for Franciscan institutions in North America,” said Fr. David B. Couturier, O.F.M. Cap., Ph.D., D.Min., executive director of the Institute.

“The Franciscan Institute has been providing the best education in the Franciscan intellectual tradition for the past 80 years. Now, with the help of our Schools of Business, Communication and Health Professions, and Office of Mission Integration, we can offer the integrated leadership training that Franciscan institutions need to fulfill their mission today.”

Founded by St. Bonaventure President Fr. Thomas Plassmann, O.F.M., in 1940, the Institute engages in two principal areas of scholarly concern: research and publication.

The Padua Program was the brainchild of Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., president of St. Bonaventure from 2004 to 2016.

As a result of working with Partners in Franciscan Ministry of Syracuse, New York, and other Franciscan groups, Sr. Margaret saw a need for in-depth training for individuals charged with integrating Franciscan teachings into their places of work.

With the support from the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, Sr. Margaret assembled a team of lay and religious experts to develop a program that would provide solid professional development for people in executive-level positions within Franciscan organizations.

Sr. Margaret reached out to the Franciscan Institute in 2017 to co-sponsor the program; the first cohort began in 2018.

“The past three years has shown that an academic host is better able to provide the type of support that this program needs if it is to grow,” said Sr. Barbara Jean Donovan, O.S.F., general minister of the Sisters of St. Francis. “Fr. David presented us with a proposal that made it clear that St. Bonaventure has the capacity to serve as the program’s sole sponsor.”

Since its inception, the curriculum for the Padua Program has expanded to include topics such as Franciscan approach to finance; Franciscan ethical and moral tradition; the elements of an effective mission program; dealing with diversity in mission integration; and best practices of mission integration. 



About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2019, St. Bonaventure was named the #1 regional university value in New York and #2 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.