Vocation Programs at Siena College and St. Bonaventure University
Some years ago, the administration and vocation director of Holy Name Province designated two schools of Holy Name Province Franciscans — Siena College, outside Albany, N.Y., and St. Bonaventure University, in the southwest corner of upstate New York — as centers for young men to experience spiritual growth and gain a deeper sense of the Franciscan way of life. This has been accomplished through a number of activities, both on and off campus.
Students of both schools are provided opportunities to meet for prayer and informal discussion. These spirituality groups, which are led by a friar who is the program coordinator, are held on a regular basis in the friary. Discussions center around the life of St. Francis, the spiritual life as a Christian Catholic, the vows of poverty, celibate chastity and obedience, Franciscan community life, ministries in Holy Name Province and the Franciscan charism on campus. Guest speakers have included campus ministers, Secular Franciscans, friar professors and theologians, and Holy Name Province’s Provincial Minister and vocation director. In addition to participating in spirituality groups, students are invited to the friary to join the friars for meals as well as community prayer and Eucharist.
Once a semester, groups of students from both schools go on a weekend retreat. The Siena group has joined with the Benedictines of Weston Priory in Vermont while the group at St. Bonaventure has visited Mt. Irenaeus in West Clarksville, N.Y., and Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, N.Y. Students have also participated in the Vocation Office’s Pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi.
In addition to prayer, reflection and discussion, students are encouraged to engage in some form of ministry in their free time. Some possibilities include tutoring, involvement in liturgy as a lector, Eucharistic minister or choir member, volunteering as a Big Brother, working with Habitat for Humanity, and participating in campus committees and boards. Students have also visited the province’s soup kitchen in Philadelphia during college breaks.
For more information about Siena College, visit Siena.edu or call 888-AT-SIENA.
More information on St. Bonaventure University can be found at SBU.edu or by calling 800-462-5050.
For further information about the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province serving at Siena College and St. Bonaventure University, contact the Franciscan Vocation Ministry at 800-677-7788
The following comments were made by students of both schools who have participated in spirituality groups and other activities:
“I have a feeling that I may have a call to a vocation. Indeed, I know I have a call to this as a Christian, but I think the calling may be to the friars.”
“After being invited to attend, I jumped at the chance because I want to learn more about the Franciscan way of life.”
“I am interested in strengthening my faith.”
“I am interested in the priesthood, and I wish to be involved in any way I can.”
“I would like to know more about the Franciscans and the Franciscan way of life.”
“It’s a great way to be with other students who think they may have a call to religious life and to get a sense of religious community.”