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The Contemplative Franciscan Leader

Francis and Clare of Assisi’s quest for the living God included a life dedicated to contemplative practice. Their deepest desire, in fact, was to emulate Jesus Christ. They knew from Scripture that Jesus encouraged us to “go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees you in secret will repay you” (Mt 6:6). It was through quiet prayer that they came to know what God was asking of them, and their deep relationship with God gave them the courage to leave their lives of privilege and embrace simplicity.

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Climate Change in Franciscan Ministry: Danger or Opportunity?

Not all climate changes apply to the weather. Some are societal.The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University reports that in the US there were about half as many religious priests (those in Orders such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, and Jesuits) in 2017 as in 1970. The shrinking number of religious sisters is more dramatic. Roughly 80% of current religious women are 70 years old or older, 45% are 80 years or older, and by 2024 it is predicted that there will only be 6900 sisters under 70.

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Leading in Franciscan Ministry Today: It’s about Relationships

One of the legacies of Francis and Clare of Assisi are the many ministries they have inspired. In the United States alone, there are 23 Franciscan colleges and universities, numerous hospitals founded by Franciscan religious, countless social service organizations, and Franciscan parishes. 

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The Padua Program: Leading a Franciscan Ministry Today

To say that there is a Franciscan approach to economics, to business practice, appears to many an organizational leader as a pious exaggeration or a delusion. How can an order founded by a man dedicated to absolute poverty claim to have wisdom to offer in a market-driven society? What do I mean by Franciscan economics? Often, the American capitalistic economic worldview is a zero sum game based on scarcity. If you win, I lose, and vice versa. Franciscan economics sees a world of abundance and what I like to call “Just enough.”

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The Padua Program: Called to Serve

Francis and Clare of Assisi were reluctant leaders. I have spent a lot of time wondering why people followed them. Initially, Francis’ charismatic personality attracted people. Clare was attracted by Francis’ preaching, and they quietly began a conversation perhaps about what is important and what is unimportant for living a Christ-like life. 

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