Mar 29, 2023
The Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University has published the first in a new series of books on Franciscan mission and leadership.
Titled “Integrating Missions: Organizational Identities and Founding Stories in Multi-Partnered Hospital Systems,” the book investigates the understanding of mission and identity when hospital networks merge hospitals and clinics from diverse Catholic, Franciscan and secular histories.
The book is the result of work that the author, Fr. David B. Couturier, O.F.M. Cap., has done with various hospital networks around the country on their Franciscan mission and strategic planning operations.
Recognizing that mission is critical for organizational identity and purpose, Couturier explores the dilemma that hospitals face today when they come together from diverse legacies. While some networks have decided to strategize for one new “super mission,” Couturier argues for a different strategy.
“Rather than removing the differences, I ask participants in new missional networks to develop a deep empathy for the founding stories of respective hospitals and to hear them in their distinct language and culture,” he writes. “I ask administrators and staff to enjoy the original stories that created excitement and energy, courage, and commitment at their founding.”
Couturier presents three different “missional voices” at work in many hospital networks today: (1) a Catholic sense of mission; (2) a congregational sense of mission, e.g., Franciscan, Jesuit, Mercy, Salesian; or (3) a secular sense of mission. He explores how leaders, administrators and staff can communicate in all three voices. He also provides examples of how they can make use of these different missional voices and strengthen the bonds between institutions with different or even competing mission interests and concerns.
This book is part of the educational mission of the Franciscan Institute, which provides research in the medieval intellectual tradition of the Franciscan movement as well as contemporary applications of that tradition.
The Franciscan Institute also offers The Padua Program, a 10-month program of training in Franciscan mission-based leadership. It is offered to mission officers or leaders of Franciscan institutions who want to learn more about Franciscan history, spirituality and theology and how to integrate that understanding of mission into the practical complexities of Franciscan institutions today.
The program’s next cohort begins on the campus of St. Bonaventure University July 12-15 and continues with monthly virtual conferences from September 2023 through May 2024. For more information, contact Heidi Strauss at (716) 375-2602 or HStrauss@sbu.edu or visit the website www.sbu.edu/franciscaninstitute. The book “Integrating Missions” can be purchased at www.franciscanpublications.com.
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. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.