Franciscan Colleges and Universities Care for Creation

Faculty and staff from five Franciscan colleges and universities gathered at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, IN for a workshop on “Deepening Franciscan Identity: Teaching Care for Creation.” The January 17-19 gathering was the first of three such occasions for member institutions of the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities (AFCU). Brother Keith Douglass Warner, OFM of Santa Clara University facilitated the workshop sessions, with assistance from Christine Elliott, Franciscan Action Network (FAN) Director of Care for Creation. Sister Anita Holzmer, OSF, Director of the Center for Franciscan Spirit and Life at USF, provided on-campus support in organizing the workshop.

The workshop began on Thursday evening with a public lecture from Br. Keith on the subject of “Franciscan Spirituality and Wisdom for our Ecological Crises.” On Friday, workshop participants explored foundational themes in the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition and the application of these themes to multiple disciplines. Selected participants presented examples for their work to integrate care for creation and Franciscan values into their classroom and community-based learning activities. USF students provided a campus tour highlighting care for creation efforts, and Sr. Anita presented “A Canticle Experience” in the campus’ planetarium.

Following a presentation from Christine on the role of liturgy and prayer in care for creation, the work continued on Saturday as faculty and staff collaborated to develop ideas for implementation at their respective institutions. The AFCU website will feature these learning activities as “works in process” to inspire and assist faculty and staff throughout the network. Thanks to Franciscan Institute Publications, workshop participants received complimentary copies of four relevant books from the Franciscan Heritage Series. They also recommended various resources and strategies for integrating care for creation content and Franciscan themes across disciplines and programs and learned about opportunities to connect students with FAN.

As one workshop participant reported, “The sharing of ideas, the interaction with colleagues from different institutions, and the time available to converse, brainstorm and develop ideas was most beneficial. The resources provided will be very helpful.” The experience of this first workshop will enhance ongoing planning for the next sessions at Neumann University in Aston, PA (March 14-16) and Silver Lake College of the Holy Family in Manitowoc, WI (May 9-11). Prospective participants can learn more about and register for the workshop on the FAN website.

Some of the AFCU workshop participants with facilitators.

Published in: on January 31, 2013 at 10:24 am  Leave a Comment  

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