Online Certificate in Franciscan Studies

This four-course online certificate program, offered In partnership with the AFCU (Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities), 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

Saint Francis iconThe Franciscan Studies courses are 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 of associates to religious institutes.  

Course Information and Registration

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 as scheduled. A detailed syllabus is provided at the beginning of each course. *Course availability subject to change.

Fall registration for the following courses will open June 1, 2024.

Course One: 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 One: Understanding Franciscan Origins & Values I

Course Two: 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 Three: 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 Four: Franciscan Tradition in Art and Literature
This course in the Franciscan Tradition in Art and Literature is designed to acquaint you with the influence that 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.

Certificate Design

The courses outlined constitute the whole of the online certificate program in Franciscan studies.  Each course runs for four weeks and 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 reflective 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 students time to read, reflect, interact and complete each assignment.

Additional Information

Mary Ann Dosen, OSF
M.A. Franciscan Spirituality, Catholic Theological Union
Understanding Franciscan Origins & Values II

Michael Jennrich, OFM
M.Div. Theology, Catholic Theological Union
Franciscan Spirituality and Evangelical Life

Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
M.A. Franciscan Studies, St. Bonaventure University
Franciscan Tradition in Art and Literature

Gayle Rusbasan, OSF
M.A. Theology, University of Saint Francis (IN)
Understanding Franciscan Origins & Values I

  • $1,000 for the full certificate program or $250.00 per course
  • Group rates negotiable

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