Skip to content Exit mobile menu

Rediscovering the Roots of Franciscan Spirituality

Events article section heading

Rediscovering the Roots of Franciscan Spirituality

SHARE TwitterFacebookLinkedin

The InSpiRe Centre for Initiatives in Spirituality and Reconciliation based at St Mary’s University, Twickenham

The conference celebrates the arrival at St Mary’s of the world-renowned Franciscan Studies Collection from the Franciscan Study Centre in Canterbury. The collection is believed to be the largest collection related to Franciscanism in Northern Europe, combined with a Holy Land collection, and including over 5,000 volumes, plus 50 runs of periodicals and smaller magazines.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Prof Sarah Jane Boss
  • Dr Chris Dyczek
  • Dr Tom Herbst
  • Sr Patricia Rumsey

Price and booking

Cost: £35 including sandwich lunch and refreshments. A student rate of £25 is also available.

Book your place now


    9.30am: Arrivals, Registration and Coffee

    Directions to the University are available on our website.

    10am: Keynote - Tending the Roots of Compassion
    Speaker: Dr Chris Dyczek

    “The Lord made a short word on the earth.”

    In this statement, Francis of Assisi encouraged his followers to consider the fragility of communication, and the importance of capturing the deeper hope of the resurrection in a few phrases. What Christians share in their gatherings had to have spiritual vitality, and make use of imaginative resources. That vitality was, for him, a community gift from God. It might focus on the Son of God as Incarnate, on Jesus’ Passion, or on the mission set in motion at Pentecost.

    In every case, its core will consist of forgiveness, active love, and peace in the heart. Francis’s followers have appreciated that this core can remain life-affirming, so long as their engagement with neighbours is open to the grace of God, and permeated with the energies of that grace. A language of patient and concerned interaction has to combine with a language of prayer and praise. This combination will probe the deeper layers of each person’s interior life, and also of their self-giving in relationship to others.

    Within Francis’s life-time he was aware of people joining his communities who came from Portugal and Germany, England and France, as well as fellow Italians. The mutual self-giving to which they were called would have to transcend narrow cultural outlooks. It succeeded in creating a vision of all created beings, as well as all humanity, as brothers and sisters in a new planting of the Gospel.

    11am: Break
    11.15am: Profligate Generosity in the Christology of Francis, Clare and Bonaventure
    Speaker: Dr Tom Herbst

    A dominant biblical view of the person and role of Christ is one of profound self-emptying, motivated by the kenotic characteristic of love. This would also function as a foundational perception for early Franciscans and, indeed, would provide the rationale for the radical practice of evangelical poverty. Perceived, in its profoundest sense, as the truest form of imitatio Christi, the Franciscans perceived God as fundamentally ‘generous’ and based both an interior spirituality and its exterior observance on that principle.

    12pm: Third lecture
    Speaker: Sr Patricia Rumsey

    Abstract coming soon.

    12.45pm: Questions for speakers

    All speakers will take questions at this point.

    1pm: Lunch

    A sandwich lunch and refreshments will be available.

    2pm: Short Papers

    Papers are 30 minutes in total. If you are interested in speaking please refer to our call for papers.

    3pm: Break

    Refreshments will be available.

    3.15pm: Final Address (Sarah Boss)

    Abstract coming soon.

    4pm: Concluding remarks and finish
    5pm: Franciscan Vespers in the College Chapel

    Download event flyer

    Call for papers

    Paper submissions are welcome for a day conference examining the roots of Franciscan spirituality in the medieval and early modern period and their relationship to contemporary pastoral, spiritual and theological concerns.

    Short papers are invited on the roots of Franciscan spirituality particularly areas relating to the contents of the Collection which includes:

    • The life and writings of Ss Francis and Clare of Assisi, Angela of Foligno, St Anthony of Padua, St Bonaventure, Bl. John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham
    • Other medieval writers including Thomas of Celano, Agnes of Prague, Guibert of Tournai, Thomas of Eccleston, Roger Bacon, Adam of Salimbene, Peter John Olivi, John Peckham, Richard Middleton, Adam Marsh, William of Rubruck, Angelo Clareno, Bernardine of Siena, Ramon Llull and Lawrence of Brindisi
    • Franciscan interactions with other faiths, especially Islam and Judaism
    • Franciscan spirituality and environmental renewal. Especially in relation to Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato’Si
    • Franciscan spirituality, art and aesthetics
    • Franciscan spirituality in contemporary pastoral application

    As well as listening to keynote addresses from leading practitioners and theorists in the field the conference will be an opportunity for participants to exchange ideas and information in a variety of formal and informal settings. It is particularly aimed at academic researchers, contemplatives, theologians, pastoral workers and clergy either working in the field or wanting to develop an interest in the area.

    Papers are expected to be 20-minutes in length with 10-minutes for questions afterwards.

    Please send a 200-word abstract to by 1st April 2018.

    Although we will try to accommodate all requests to deliver papers we cannot guarantee this will be possible.

    Book your place now

    For more information about this event please contact

    Subscribe to our news and events mailing list for information about upcoming events at St Mary's.