Having its roots in the great medieval universities of the 14th and 15th centuries, the Franciscan intellectual tradition seeks to understand the broad implications of the religious experience of Francis of Assisi as the foundation for the intellectual study of arts, sciences, and all other academic disciplines, including other spiritual traditions as well as modern and current philosophical thought. Its fundamental task is to engage with the religious dimension of human experience, place this experience in the context of human life, and explore the meaning of this life through the lens of varying academic disciplines. It values diversity and includes ecumenical outreach that goes beyond intra-Christian dialogue by embracing other religions and traditions.
Franciscan scholarship emphasizes integration of learning to better understand and appreciate the goodness and wholeness of all knowledge, and to discover the unity of thought and knowledge that all disciplines are challenged to discover. Franciscan higher education encourages curiosity and creativity in bringing together science and religion, human freedom and spiritual development, generosity and service to encourage the exploration of new avenues of learning. It is an inspiring tradition that searches for truth, encouraging students to embrace “knowledge joined with love” in the spirit of the great Franciscan scholar St. Bonaventure.Essential Elements of the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition
- A Trinitarian view of God as overflowing goodness, with emphasis on Jesus Christ as the true revelation of God in human history
- Respect for the human dignity and diversity of all persons, the sacredness of human relationships, and the all embracing love of God for the human race and all of creation
- Academic learning as an integration of natural and applied sciences and the arts, with a communal search for wisdom and truth
- Emphasis on the goodness and wholeness of all creation, the earth, and the environment as a gift from the Creator
- Gospel values – the standard for living an authentic life