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Goals of Franciscan Higher Education


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    • The Goals of Franciscan Higher Education

      These goals are the latest expression of Franciscan principles embraced by the University community. They reflect subtle, yet powerful, refinements (aggiornamento) of the Goals of Franciscan Higher Education originally drafted in 1991 by Fr. Christian R. Oravac, T.O.R. 

  • Franciscan Character

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    Core idea: Realizing the presence of God in every student; the faculty and staff strive to demonstrate  through word and work the love of God as they facilitate the spiritual and intellectual formation of our student body.



    Franciscan Character 

    Valuing the University's Franciscan heritage and joining the  mission of the Franciscans of the Third Order Regular of Saint  Francis of Penance, the University strives to communicate  the ideals of Saint Francis of Assisi in the modern day  through its mission of education. Saint Francis called all  people to a life of metanoia - a life of constant transformation  of mind and heart in the Lord. The University Community  joins in pursuing the life of grace as we journey together to  our eternal home. Realizing the presence of God in every  student, the faculty and staff strive to demonstrate through  word and work the love of God as they facilitate the spiritual  and intellectual formation of our student body.

    Humble and Generous Attitude Towards Learning

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    Core idea: Realizing the presence of God in every student; the faculty and staff strive to demonstrate through word and work the love of God as they facilitate the spiritual and intellectual formation of our student body.



    Humble and Generous Attitude Towards Learning 

    Living with an awareness that God, the source of all good, gifts us with talents of mind and heart, we as members of the Saint Francis University Community, receive and share these gifts humbly. We recognize that the gift of learning calls us not to self-advancement but to a generous gift of self for the benefit of others. We strive for excellence without  arrogance and generosity in sharing our intellectual gifts, rejecting the power and prestige of knowledge as we seek to serve our brothers and sisters. As a community of learners, we encourage a free and open exchange of ideas as we seek truth together. We wish to follow the encouragement of Saint Francis that in the exercise of learning we should never extinguish the spirit of prayer and devotion which such learning should foster.

    Community of Faith and Prayer

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    Core idea: Following Saint Francis, who did what God had given him to do, the University invites all of its members to spiritual growth, regardless of their background.




    Community of Faith and Prayer

    Seeking God, the fulfillment of all desire, the Saint Francis University Community  most fully expresses its identity as a Catholic and Franciscan University when it  follows the Lord Jesus Christ and lives out this relationship as a Community of Faith and Prayer. Following Saint Francis, who did what God had given him to do, the  University invites all of its members to spiritual growth, regardless of their  background. As a community of learners, we particularly seek to foster the spirit of  prayer and devotion through our studies. At its heart, the University holds the  celebration of the Eucharist and the Sacramental life of the Church as the  animating principle of all it does.

    Respect for the Uniqueness of Individual Persons

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    Core idea: Imitating Francis of Assisi, we recognize that the image and likeness of God dwells in every human person and is expressed in a particular way through their unique giftedness. 




    Respect for the Uniqueness of Individual Persons

    Imitating Francis of Assisi, we recognize that the image and  likeness of God dwells in every human person and is  expressed in a particular way through their unique  giftedness. Inspired by Saint Francis, for whom even lepers  became a source of consolation and joy, the University  affirms the goodness of all human life. While no one is free  of the reality of sin and suffering, the University’s members learn to receive and practice mercy through one another. Therefore, the University commits itself to fostering the  spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical health of the  entire University Community.

    Service to the Poor and Needy

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    Core idea: ...we strive to love Christ who is particularly present in the least of our brothers and sisters, especially the poor and the disenfranchised.




    Service to the Poor and Needy 

    Seeing Saint Francis, who loved the poor, crucified Christ and  served him in his members, we strive to love Christ who is  particularly present in the least of our brothers and sisters,  especially the poor and the disenfranchised. Refusing to see  people as objects to be used and controlled, the University  Community exercises its many gifts and talents in serving the  poor and needy both at home and abroad. It is by doing so  that the University realizes the joy of fulfilling its opportunity  and obligation to relieve the suffering of Jesus, present in our  brothers and sisters.

    Solidarity and Reconciliation

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    Core idea: Living as brothers and sisters to one another and all creation, we form, by God’s design, a Community that transcends particular nations and cultures.




    Solidarity and Reconciliation

    Full text: iving as brothers and sisters to one another and all creation, we form, by God’s  design, a Community that transcends particular nations and cultures. In the many  communities across the world in which they will serve, the University forms its  students to take up the ministry of reconciling the world to God both through their  professional work and the example of their lives.

    Reverence for All Life and Care for Creation

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    Core idea: Flowing from the abundant Goodness of God and our identity as sons and daughters of God, we live as brother and sister to one another and all creation. 




    Reverence for All Life and Care for Creation 

    Flowing from the abundant Goodness of God and our identity as sons and daughters of God, we live as  brother and sister to one another and all creation. This  shared life leads us to reverence for all human life, to  treat all persons in accord with their inherent dignity,  to work together for the common good, and to care for our common home. In imitation of Francis, humble  imitator of Christ the Servant, our faith moves us to  action, helping to bind the wounds of those who suffer  and bearing one another's burdens

    Spirit of Simplicity and Joy

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    Core idea: Joyfully imitating St. Francis, we affirm that God draws close to us in whatever state and circumstances we have been given. 




    Spirit of Simplicity and Joy

    Recognizing that Jesus, the Son of God, did not regard equality with God as something to  be grasped at but, instead, emptied himself and was born in the likeness of people, Saint  Francis considered nothing and no one beneath him as he sought to live in solidarity with his Savior. Saint Francis celebrated the love of God present to him at all times and  in all situations. Joyfully imitating him, we affirm that God draws close to us in whatever  state and circumstances we have been given. In gratitude, we affirm that all that we  have is a gift, and seek to conform our lives to that of our Creator.

  • The Path of Aggiornamento

    subtle, yet powerful, refinements to the Goals of Franciscan Higher Education to celebrate 30 years of spiritual transformation 

    Origins of the Goals of Franciscan Higher Education

    The path to aggiornamento - gardensSaint Francis University is a vibrant, growing community of learners grounded in the Catholic faith thanks in no small part to the guiding themes espoused in the Goals of Franciscan Higher Education. Since 1991 these goals, drafted by then Saint Francis College President Fr. Christian R. Oravac, T.O.R., have permeated every aspect of University life.

    In 2021, to honor the 30th anniversary of these goals, and to recognize the transformative journey they have inspired, the Franciscans of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis of Penance unveiled subtle, yet powerful, refinements (aggiornamento) to ensure that these goals remain relevant for generations to come.

    Strengthening Legacy through Aggiornamento

    Older generations may know the word “aggiornamento” (opening the windows, letting in some fresh air) in the context of the Second Vatican Council which brought spiritual renewal for the Church under Pope John XXIII in the early 1960s. In many ways, “aggiornamento” aptly describes the process the Friars took in honoring, yet refreshing the 30-year-old goals.

    University President, Fr. Malachi Van Tassell, T.O.R., Ph.D., shared a close spiritual and mentoring bond with Fr. Christian; and had witnessed the tremendous impact the goals have had on the University community in the classroom and beyond.  His goal in the “aggiornamento” process was to honor the timeless nature of the original goals which themselves were built on Franciscan values dating back 800 years; yet freshen them somewhat to resonate a little bit better with this generation of students and the ones soon to follow. To achieve the task, he appointed a small committee of friars to draft the 2021 revisions. 

    A special acknowledgement goes to the “aggiornamento” authors:

    • Fr. Jonathan St. Andre, T.O.R.
    • Fr. Stephen M. Waruszewski. T.O.R.
    • Fr. James Puglis, T.O.R. 
    • Br. Marius Strom, T.O.R.