Certificate in Franciscan Studies


This four course certificate program is designed to:

  • Provide a unified understanding of the Franciscan tradition
  • Prepare students to form Franciscan experiences in their personal and professional lives.
  • Strengthen students’ relationship with Franciscan history
  • Discover applications to everyday life situations in today's world

Recommended Participants
This course is highly recommended for faculty and staff at any of the AFCU partners who wish to feel more at home in the Franciscan lived expression of Gospel spirituality and the Franciscan intellectual tradition. Because of the experience of the instructors, it is also applicable for those who are leading Formation Programs for Franciscan religious institutes, especially for candidates new to the Franciscan tradition. This course would also be useful for formation of those in the Franciscan Secular Order or in preparation for a life commitment to associates of religious institutes.

mimler@stfrancis.edu or 815-740-2622

2017-2018 schedule
Although the courses are somewhat related and follow a sequence, they may be taken separately as well. Thus, if it suits your schedule better, you may enter any one of the courses following the schedule provided below. The detailed syllabus is provided at the beginning of the course.

Course One:
Understanding Franciscan Origins & Values I              September 17 - October 15

Course Two:
Understanding Franciscan Origins & Values II             October 22 - November 18

Course Three:
Franciscan Spirituality and Evangelical Life                  January 7- February 4

Course Four:
Franciscan Tradition in Art and Literature                     February 11 - March 4

Course Descriptions

Course I: Understanding Franciscan Origins & Values I
This course presents the story of the early Franciscan movement. It begins with the conversion of Francis of Assisi and the origin of the Fraternity of Lesser Brothers that gathered around him. The conversion of Clare and the beginnings of her community of Poor Sisters is then considered, followed by the attraction of both lay men and women to the Gospel charism as preached by the Lesser Brothers in the towns of medieval Italy.

Course II: Understanding Franciscan Origins & Values II
This course aims to present some of the essential values emerging from the early history of the Franciscan movement, when Francis, Clare and their companions were developing their way of life according to the Gospel.

Course III:   Franciscan Spirituality and Evangelical Life
This course in Franciscan Spirituality and the Evangelical Life is designed to enable you to understand and reflect upon the basis of Franciscan spirituality and the evangelical life in terms of each person’s relationship to God, Jesus Christ, the world and the human person through the following topics: conversion, poverty, the Canticle of the Creatures, and the aspects of fraternity and mutuality.

Course IV: Franciscan Tradition in Art and Literature
This course in the Franciscan Tradition in Art and Literature is designed to acquaint you with the influence Francis and Clare had on artists from the Renaissance period to the present day. Also included in the course will be a module relative to the literature of Francis through a pictorial presentation of his Canticle of the Creatures and how Francis is represented in poetry and literature. This is the fourth and last course in the AFCU Franciscan certificate program.

These courses constitute the whole of the online certificate in Franciscan studies. Each course runs for four weeks. Each week constitutes a module that includes an overview, assigned readings from various hyperlinks to related articles, and/or activities from document sharing, online discussions and a reflection writing assignment. Due dates and evaluation for each element of the module will be clearly spelled out. Due dates for assignments are staggered throughout the week to give you time to read, reflect, interact and complete each assignment.


Barb Vano, OSF, MA/Franciscan Studies, St. Bonaventure University
Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF, MA/Franciscan Studies, St. Bonaventure University

Costs: $1,000 fee for the full certificate program or $250 per course. Group rates negotiable.

* Course availability subject to change.

Louis IX & Francis                     Clare & Elizabeth

Double portraits of St. Louis IX and St. Francis of Assisi aligned with St. Clare of Assisi and St. Elizabeth of Hungary in the Basilica of St. Francis, Assisi, Italy. They are located on the left side of the entrance to the chapel of St. Martin of Tours by artist Simone Martini (1317-1319).