Keynote – “The Incarnation Matters! Franciscan Education for Ecological Conversion”
St. Francis is commonly known as “the patron saint of ecology,” but the title “patron saint of ecological consciousness” is more faithful both to John Paul II’s ecological teaching and to recent scholarship of Francis’ spirituality. This presentation will synthesize traditional Franciscan approaches to the creation and organization of knowledge with the cultivation of ecological consciousness and ecological conversion. Following David Orr, all education is environmental education, whether explicit or not. Most higher education fails to teach about the essential dependence of human society upon the Earth, or its impacts on Earth’s ecosystems. The fragmentary structure at most higher learning institutions conveys to students a universe that consists of a disaggregated collection of objects, rather than a communion of creatures. Drawing from the wisdom of the Franciscan tradition – especially Roger Bacon – this presentation will propose a more holistic approach to higher education so as to foster ecological consciousness and ecological conversion.
Brother Keith Warner, O.F.M.
PhD Environmental Studies – Assistant Director for Education, Center for Science, Technology & Society;
Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies – Santa Clara University, CA.
Plenary 1 – "Sharing the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition"
The Franciscan Intellectual Tradition is especially relevant today, not only spiritually but politically, economically and environmentally. How can faculty and others who work in Franciscan institutions become familiar with this tradition so that they can integrate it in the courses they teach and in the services they provide? Pat Smith, OSF and Kathleen Moffatt, OSF will respond to these questions in a creative session that explores the Franciscan world view with its core truths of Creation – the Goodness of God, Love and the Primacy of Christ, and the Dignity of the Human Person. The Franciscan perspective has something to say about being brother and sister and bringing healing and right relationships to our fragile world. Since 2007 over 2100 people globally have participated in a program on the retrieval of the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, Aston PA. Sr. Pat and Sr. Kathleen's session taps this enthusiasm and concern.
Sister Pat Smith, O.S.F.
PhD Canon Law – Assistant Professor: Theology – Neumann University, Aston, PA
Sister Kathleen Moffatt, O.S.F.
MA Franciscan Studies – Program Developer of “God’s Extravagant Love” – Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, Aston, PA
General Assembly – Breaking Open Our Franciscan Intellectual and Spiritual Tradition: A Conversation with Brother Bill Short, O.F.M.
Building on the keynote and plenary speakers’ presentations, Brother Bill will introduce three broad areas in our Franciscan Tradition to provide a framework for a large-group discussion:
- Creation is good.
- The importance of matter.
- The human person in relationship to the world.
Dialogue and will center on applications of these Franciscan principles in the college/university setting. Groundwork will be laid for the afternoon’s small-group interdisciplinary discussions which Brother Bill will recap in a late-afternoon general assembly.
Brother Bill Short, O.F.M.
Most recently Professor of Spirituality at Franciscan School of Theology at Berkley; CFIT scholar
Sister Pat Hutchison, OSF
Director of Neumann Institute for Franciscan Studies at Neumann University
Plenary 2 – "Franciscan Reflections on Created Beauty"
"Saint Francis and Creation: A Lesson for the 21st Century"
No Catholic saint is as universally known as St. Francis, whose gentle love for creation has earned him pride of place in many a garden. His profound love inspired his lyrical Canticle of the Creatures, a poem all the more poignant when one realizes that its author was nearly blind when he composed it. What a remarkable appreciation St. Francis had for God’s created world, an appreciation so deep that he was still able to praise it despite his own physical suffering. This delight in creation, and particularly in creation as an expression of God’s divine, creative love, led Pope John Paul II to name St. Francis the patron saint of ecology in 1979, thus presenting him as a model to contemporary society of how to treat the natural environment. This paper will reflect upon what St. Francis’s attitude toward the beauty of creation has to teach the 21st century. It will focus on what he has to teach us about God, nature, and our unique relationship to both.
Esperanca Camara, PhD
Associate Professor – Art History – University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, IN
"The Influence of St. Francis on Pictorial Art"
Over 100 years ago Heinrich Thode theorized that St. Francis of Assisi marks the beginning of the Renaissance in art. However, there were many art works known today that were unknown to Thode, and because of this, he made many errors in dating and attribution.
In the development of Italian painting during the century after Francis' death, extraordinarily dramatic changes can be noted, from Bonaventura Berlinghieri, who painted the first surviving narrative of the life of Francis in 1235, to the works of Giotto and the Lorenzetti brothers a century later. Today, we can catalog the influences on those latter artists and their reasons for the development of new styles of painting. In the end, I hope to demonstrate that we should still take seriously Thode's thesis.
William R. Cook, PhD
Distinguished Professor of History – State University of New York, Geneseo, NY