Comprehensive Course in Franciscanism
Themes in the following list are those,which seem to be essential
to gain an overall view of Franciscanism in its special characteristics.
each of these themes could easily be the subject of an in-depth treatment, it is necessary
to select from such a rich historic and spiritual patrimony according to a sound pedagogy
and to impart the material gradually.
use of images will be a precious help in teaching (slides, document,films, visits to
the material is to be used for a course of permanent formation over a three year period
then it would be well for a team of lecturers to decide how the material should be
division of the hours of lectures and directed reading should be made by the presenter of
each theme, keeping in mind the number of days and hours available.
there must be a certain logic to the presentation since some foundation is necessary for
understanding some themes. Other themes can be presented wherever it seems convenient.
following arrangement seems to work very well:
hours of presentation in the morning (with breaks).
the afternoon, can alternate between small study groups with opportunity for dialogue.
- time set aside for
learning traditional and new Franciscan songs.
- composition of paraliturgical services of scriptural,
penitential, franciscan character.
Reading List should be drawn up by each lecturer. He has the freedom to choose those texts
which deal with the theme presented. The criteria for his selection should be that the
texts explain the story and life of the Franciscan movement according to a fundamental
idea without distortions, particularism or partisanship. There are examples listed for
each theme -texts to examine and interprete in the light of history and the perspective of
bibliography is vast, whether on a general level or in a particular area. It takes a
careful discernment to avoid being conditioned by one-sided viewpoints or the presumption
of an historical postivism which misconstrues or ignores the reality of charism and the
work of the Spirit.
helpful materials are available, even if all are not completely up to date. Each lecturer
should know where to turn and which filter to use to achieve the goal of offering an
objective, and well documented support.
- Introduction to
- Scholarly Historical
Study and the "Annales" of Wadding.
- The "Acta
Sanctorum" of the Bollandists.
- Franciscan Historical
Study at the close of the 1800s.
- The "Franciscan
Question" from Sabatier to Today.
- Some Gaps and
Expectations for a Complete Picture.
ReadingSabatier, Paul. The Life of St. Francis of Assisi. 1893 and many editions
PERIOD OF ST. FRANCIS AND FRANCISCAN ROOTS
- General Overview of
the Historical-Social Environment.
- Ecclesiastical and
Phenomenon of Challenge: Patarines, the Cathari or Albigensians, the Waldensians or the
Poor of Lyons, the Joachimites, the Humiliati, the Beghards and Beguines, etc.
and positive values, many of which were embraced by Franciscanism.
Rule of the Humiliati (1202)
of the numerous studies available regarding the religious movements, both ortliodox and
heretical, in the middle ages.
FRANCIS OF ASSISI
The Uniqueness of an Exceptional Charism
and Chronological Data.
- The Family of
- Assisi in the
time of Francis: the rise of the Commune (I 198) and the war with Perugia.
Dreams and failures of the young Francis.
- Francis and
the lepers. The Leper in Medieval Europe.
- From his
conversion to his evangelical mission.
- The Crusades
and the revolutionary method of Francis: not in battle but in meeting and dialogue.
preaching and the enthusiasm of the Christian people.
bibilical and social themes of St. Francis.
- The prophetic
repercussions of a message.
- The conversion
of St. Francis as presented in the First and Second Life of St. Francis. The reasons
behind the two viewpoints.
Historical and Informational Data
- The First
Order and its branches, from its origins through the 1500s.
- The Second
Order, the more important reforms and divisions.
- The Secular
Franciscan Order in its sources and institutions.
- The Third
Order Regular and its development. The ancient Order and modern Congregations of men and
- The Secular or
- Our shared
heritage and characteristics.
- Legenda Major:
FF 1051-1064 (First Order)
- Legenda of St.
Clare, virgin: FF 3162-3178 (Conversion of St. Clare)
- Themes from
" Testi e Documenti sui TOF. " (Rome. 1991)
WRITINGS OF SAINT FRANCIS
to the manuscripts.
- Types and
arrangements ( rules, letters, prayers)
ideas and charateristics.
- Letter to a
General Chapter (1220)
(Unofficial), chap. 23 (1221)
- Testament of
Siena (May, 1226)
- Paraphrase of
the "Our Father"
- Praises for
the hours or "Laudes Dei"
WRITINGS OF ST. CLARE AND ABOUT ST. CLARE
- The striking
phenomenon of St. Clare. Information and evaluation.
"Little Plant" of St. Francis and the instructor of countless disciples.
- The writings
of St. Clare. Authenticity and a literary analysis.
- The Process of
her canonization. (1253)
"Legend of St. Clare, virgin" (1255-1256)
- Women in
society and Church in the time of Clare.
of important works
- The First Life
by Celano: FF 351-353.
- The Testament
of St. Clare (1247?)
depositions from the Process of Canonization.
LEGENDS AND CHRONICLES
- Examples of
Hagiography of that era.
analysis of the sources.
edition of the Franciscan Sources in latin and modern languages.
"Bullarium Franciscanum" and the diplomatic sources.
- Writings of
non-Franciscan origins. (cf. FF 2200-2319)
important examples of Hagiography.
"Passions" and the "Acts of the Martyrs."
- Famous Lives
of the Saints from the 3rd to 6th centuries.
- Letter of
Jacques de Vitry (Genoa, 1216)
CONCERNING THE FRANCISCAN THIRD ORDER.
facere": an ancient, yet ever new, charism.
- Penance and
the penitentials in the middle ages.
penitential movement and ecclesiastical movements.
biblical-social connotation of "metanoia. "
counterparts: conversion and works of charity.
- The chronology
and interpretation of the historical sources (cf. "Testi e Documenti sui TOF")
- The support of
historical data. (cf. Acts of the five Historical Congresses)
- The Little
Flowers of St. Francis, Chapt. 16
(Founding of the Franciscan Third Order)
- The Ancient
Rule or "Memoriale propositi" (1221)
- "Liber de
La-adibus" of Bernard de Besse (1280-1285)
- The Rule of
Nicholas IV. (1289)
- Rule of the
First Order: the "non-official" (non-bullata) of 1221 and the
"official" Rule of 1223.
- The Rule of
the Franciscan Order of Penance: ILF (1215) and the 2LF (1221) to all the-faithul
penitents. The "Memoriale propositi" of 1221.
- The Rule of
Nicholas IV (1289). The new revisions for the SFO and the TOR in the course of the
- Rule of St.
Clare: Innocent IV (1253) and Urban IV (1263). A comparison with that of the First Order.
- Compare the
"unofficial" Rule (Rnb) with the approved Rule (Rb.)
- Compare the
First Letter to the Faithful with the Second Letter to the Faithful.
- Compare the
two Rules for the Poor Clares.
THEOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY
- Look up texts
on the Blessed Virign Mary in the writings of Francis.
- Read and
comment on the "Salute to the Virgin" of St. Francis.
in general and spirituality of the different "schools."
- Elements which
are more or less common to the entire Franciscan Family:
The "forma vitae" according to the Gospel;
The following of Christ and conformity to Him;
The revelation in Christ of God as the Highest Good and Infinite Love;
The Eucharist, God as the living bread of life;
The "fragrant words of the Lord";
Missionary and Evangelizing spirit;
The "Virgin made Church," which "has brought us our Brother, the
Lord of the Harvest.
The Church, as guardian of the depository of Faith and teacher;
Prayer, the voice of all creation.
The life-style of the fraternity, something more than community;
Creatures, as "signs" of the Most High;
Perfect joy; etc.
- Elements which
are characteristic of each branch of the Franciscan Family without claiming any monopoly
The First Order: minority and "highest poverty";
Second Order: contemplation, poverty, minority;
Third Order: penance or conversion (metanoia) and the works of mercy.
for Recommended Reading
- First Letter
to all the Faithful (1215);
- Letter to all
- Testament of
St. Francis (1226);
- Second Life by
Thomas of Celano: FF 681-686;
- First Letter
of St. Clare to S. Agnes of Prague (1235).
FRANCISCAN ASCETICISM AND MYSTICISM
A Directed Approach to the Works
- St. Francis
and St. Clare (treated elsewhere)
- Bl. Giles of
- Rizzerio della
- David da
Bonaventure and his works on mysticism
pauperis in solitudine"
- Gilbert of
- Jacapone da
- Bl. Raymond
Lullm, Bl. Angela of Foligno, Ubertino da Casale
Ugo Panziera Giovanni da Calvoli
- Angelo da
Chiarino or Clareno
To this list
can be added hundreds of spiritual writers down to modern times. The ascetics and mystics
who were not authors are treated in the section "Franciscan Sanctity."
many works, for example:
Sayings of Blessed Giles";
- any mystical
work of St. Bonaventure;
of the Lover and the Beloved" by Raymond Lull;
of Bl. Angela of Foligno;
- Letters of
Angelo Clareno. etc.
- Example of
Blesseds and Venerables of the Franciscan Family.
- Servants of
God and devout persons.
- The Catalogue
of the Saints.
- "Index ac
Status Causarum" (VI Edition)
- Motives and
profile of this phenomenon.
- Pier di
- Urbertino da
- Background and
- Sample Texts
from the "Chronicon" of Angelo of Clareno, from the "Arbor Vitae" of
Ubertino, or from the works of Olivi.
OBSERVANT MOVEMENT (from 1334).
HORIZONS OF THE FRANCISCAN MISSIONS
- The phenomenal
expansion throughout Europe in the foundation era.
toward Islam: St. Francis, the Proto-martyrs, progress and setbacks.
- Ventures in
the middle and far East. The protagonists: courage and faith.
- The New World:
area, statistics and types of evangelization in the modern period,
- The service of
the Gospel in the last centuries.
- Passages from
"The Story of the Mongols" by Fra John of Carpino.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO SCIENCE
Grossatesta, student of nature (cosmology, astronomy,physics, optics, etc.)
- Raymond Lull
and his intuition about the future mathematical logic.
- John Peckham
and numerical symbolism.
- Richard of
Middletown, precursor of modern physics. Roger Bacon, pioneer of modern experimental
science. William of Ockham and the political-social sciences.
- A survey of
- The "Ars
Magna" of Raymond Lull (selected passages).
| Top of Page |