By: Shannon West
St. Bonaventure hosted a week of events in dedication to St. Francis, a recurring tradition that has been experienced by many. St. Bonaventure is known for its Franciscan traditions in the following of St. Francis, showing the impact of St. Francis’s beliefs and moral qualities. However, the week became a success as undergraduate and graduate students took part in the events, learning more about what it means to be a part of a diverse and welcoming community.
“We always go back to Francis Week to celebrate the charismatic founder and leader who basically set the tone of what we are about; of how we interpret God, of how we interpret humanity and how we relate to one another, and ecologically how we interpret the world”, said Fr. Francis DiSpigno, O.F.M., executive.
Being the first Franciscan University since its establishment in 1858, St. Bonaventure University aims to promote the idea of a Catholic-Franciscan education. St. Bonaventure, a follower of St. Francis and professor of the University of Paris, helped the founders, Nicholas and Mary Devereux, combine the ideas of intellectual discovery and dedication to service to create what is now known as St. Bonaventure University. However, the dedication to St. Francis is made because of how he inspired people like St. Bonaventure and changed the way the church believed in faith.
“If we are to capture Franciscanism in one word, it would be about ‘relationships,’” said Fr. Francis. “That was Francis’s gift to the church. We find God through one another, and we find God through and in creation. So it is our relationship with the order; with the mountains, with the trees, with the ants, and with you, where we find God in purpose, in meaning and in truth.”
Francis Week is a week-long event dedicated to St. Francis for the commitments he made to the poor and the inspirations he made towards religious faith and love for others. In summary of Francis Week, the kick-starter to the week’s events began with Family Weekend Mass, a religious blessing introducing the life of St. Francis. Afterwards, the week’s events included Franciscan Poetry Slam in collaboration with The Chattertons Slam Poetry Club, which included students reading poetry in connection to St. Francis. Another big event that stood out among the faculty and staff was the Transitus of St. Francis, an event run solely by students in celebration of his passing to a new life through death. Other events highlighted include the Lady Jacoba Cookie and Coffee Break, Thursday Forum with Speaker Jonathan Montaldo, and the St. Francis Daily Mass, which concluded the celebration of St. Francis’s life in blessing and prayer.
“I think it a great opportunity for the campus to learn about St. Francis.” The students come and go, here for four years and then go. For us, Francis Week is an opportunity to continue to brim to the four this impressive person historically and also spiritually to a new generation.”
Francis Week serves as a reminder of St. Bonaventure University’s Franciscan identity, as many students participated in the week’s events, celebrating the life of St. Francis. Francis Week occurs every years around the end of September into early October, all designed to display and rejoice how influential St. Francis is today.