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Sacred Heart Province

info_sacredheartprovinceThe Franciscans of the Province of the Sacred Heart trace their roots from the Province of the Holy Cross in Germany. In 1858, at the invitation of the bishop of Alton, Illinois, the German Friars assumed the care of the German speaking immigrants in the Midwest. Their first ministry was to the German speaking parish of St. Francis in Teutopolis, Illinois. Additional ministries were accepted in Quincy and St. Louis, Missouri. More Friars arrived in Illinois due to Bismark’s Kulturkampf and the suppression of all religious communities. By 1879, there were 202 friars that made up the Province of the Sacred Heart.

The friars ministered not only in Illinois, but soon began to minister in Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Tennessee and Minnesota. Their ministries included parishes and schools (a seminary in Teutopolis and an academy in Quincy, Illinois) and preaching (retreat houses). Because of the quick growth of the Sacred Heart Province, the superiors of the Order gave the care of the California missions to the province in 1885. This venture eventually led to the formation of what is today called the St. Barbara Province.

Since its beginnings, with the move out of Germany, the Sacred Heart Province has had a missionary heart. In 1915, the friars established a mission in China. This missionary spirit expanded to friars serving in Brazil (1943) and Zaire, Africa (1975).

Other ministries over these many years included outreach to the Native Americans (Wisconsin, Michigan and Alaska), and chaplaincies (military, prisons, hospitals, convents). While the friars are no longer characterized by the German language or ministry to German immigrants, they remain open to diverse ministries today: to the homeless and those afflicted with AIDS, to peace initiatives and to Hispanic and African American peoples. A large number of friars from the province can be found in a wide variety of ministries: the arts, community organizations and social agencies. The friars are teachers, lawyers, sculptors and artists, bricklayers, doctors and editors.

Because of the impetus of the Second Vatican Council, the friars have grown in their awareness of who they are as followers of St. Francis of Assisi: men living in a communal and simple life in solidarity with all, especially the poor.

St. Francis Solano

info_francissolanusSt. Francis Solano was born at Montilla in Andalusia in 1549, did his studies in the school of the Jesuits, and in 1569, joined the Franciscan Observance at his birthplace. He was duly professed and in 1576 ordained priest. Full of zeal and charity and an ardent desire for the salvation of souls, he divided his time between silent retirement and the ministry of preaching. Francis exercised his ministry in southern Spain for many years, and during the plague of 1583 at Granada, he was struck down but made a quick recovery.

After the epidemic had passed, Francis was selected to go with Father Balthazar Navarro to Peru. The missionaries to Panama crossed the Isthmus, and again took ship on the other side. But approaching Peru, they ran into a bad storm and were driven aground on a sand bank. The ship looked as if she were going to pieces and the master ordered that she be abandoned, leaving aboard a number of negro slaves for whom there was no room in the single lifeboat. Francis had these men under instruction and refused to leave them, so he remained behind on the ship, which was breaking up. He gathered them around him, encouraged them to trust in the mercy of God and the merits of Jesus Christ, and then baptized them. This he had scarcely done when the vessel parted amidship and some of the negroes were drowned. The remainder were on the part of the hull that was firmly aground and there they remained for three days, Francis keeping up their courage and rigging signals of distress.

When the weather broke, the ship’s boat returned and took them off to join the others in a place of safety, from which they eventually were transported to Lima, Peru. Now began twenty years of untiring ministry among the Indians and Spanish colonists.

It is said that St. Francis had the “gift of tongues,” and for his miracles he was called the “wonder-worker of the New World.” In his funeral sermon, Father Sabastiani, S.J., said that God had chosen him to be “the hope and edification of all Peru, the example and glory of Lima, the splendor of the Seraphic order.” A habit of his, very reminiscent of his religious father and namesake, was to take a lute and sing to Our Lady before her altar. He died on July 14, 1610, while his brethren were singing the conventual Mass, at the moment of consecration, saying with his last breath, “Glory be to God.” His whole life, says Alvarez de Paz, was a holy uninterrupted course of zealous action, yet at the same time, a continued prayer. St. Francis Solano was canonized in 1726. His feast day is July 13th.

Francis & Clare

info_francis_clareFrancis’ parents, Pica and Pietro Bernardone, living in the early part of the 13th century, were members of Assisi’s prosperous merchant class. A born leader, Francis instigated many revels among the young men of Assisi. Shaken by a year’s imprisonment as prisoner of war and by a long illness, Francis decided to abandon his knightly ambitions and dedicate himself to God’s service. He would eventually describe himself as “the herald of the great king.”

One day, while praying before the crucifix at San Damiano, a dilapidated wayside chapel near Assisi, Francis heard these words, “Rebuild my house, for it is nearly falling down.” He then repaired San Damiano and two other nearby churches. That required begging stones for Assisi; nevertheless, Francis survived the occasional mocking which greeted him there.

Francis’ life took a new direction when he met a man suffering from leprosy. Tempted to ride on, Francis dismounted, kissed the leper and gave him some money. Later, Francis and his followers would work among people suffering from leprosy.

Francis quickly attracted followers and in 1209 went to Rome to get approval from Pope Innocent III for this new group called the “Penitents from Assisi.” They dedicated themselves to prayer, manual labor, and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Their voluntary poverty lent credibility to their way of life. In time, Francis called his followers Friars Minor (Lesser Brothers).

Francis had a missionary heart. He traveled to Egypt and the Holy Land, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When he returned to Assisi in 1220, he had become ill, and he realized that his fast growing group of followers needed more capable leadership. He resigned as leader. In the next two years, Francis devoted much time to formulating a Rule, a way of life, to be submitted to the Pope for approval. The final Rule was approved in 1223.

In September of 1224, while Francis was praying on Mount LaVerna, he received the stigmata, the marks of Christ’s passion on his hands, feet and side. Growing blind and progressively weaker, he composed his famous Canticle of Brother Sun, a hymn of praise to his Creator. Francis died on the evening of October 3, 1226. He was proclaimed a saint two years after his death.

One of the followers of St. Francis was Clare, daughter of Favorone and Ortolana Offreduccio, a noble family of Assisi. Clare was fascinated by Francis’ preaching and felt called to live the Gospel as a nun in what was becoming the Franciscan way of life. Clare, with her sister Agnes, moved to San Damiano, the birthplace of the “Poor Ladies of San Damiano,” later known as the Poor Clare Sisters. At San Damiano the sisters lived poorly and dedicated themselves to a life of prayer. Clare died in 1253 and was proclaimed a saint two years later.

Franciscan Heritage

info franciscan tradition

What does it mean for Quincy University to describe itself as a Catholic, Franciscan and liberal arts university?

As a university rooted in the liberal arts tradition, Quincy University provides its students:

  • with a broad world view in order to understand and appreciate the interdependence and interconnectedness of all of life; with skills to communicate effectively orally and in writing;
  • with the ability to think critically, as well as to analyze and critique knowledge and experience;
  • with the knowledge and vocabulary appropriate to an educated person and a competent professional;
  • with the means to free oneself from provincialism, narrow, insular, intolerant and/or restricted thinking;
  • with the skills to make sound ethical and moral decisions.

As a university rooted in the Catholic tradition, Quincy University:

  • follows in the footsteps of Jesus Christ;
  • lives by the values and imperatives of the Gospels;
  • observes the beliefs and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and uses them as a guide for living;
  • adheres to the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church;
  • seeks to become a Eucharistic community;
  • celebrates life – life’s events and transitions – in the traditions, customs, and rituals of the Catholic Church;
  • promotes and implements the social teachings of the Catholic Church;
  • actively works for justice in the world;
  • makes a commitment to life;
  • believes in the goodness and value of all persons;
  • promotes ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, especially an understanding for and appreciation of each other’s history, traditions, beliefs, values, and rituals;
  • works for unity and peace.

As a Franciscan university, Quincy University:

  • is inspired by the lives of Francis and Clare of Assisi;
  • views humankind as a family in which we are all sisters and brothers;
  • respects and values every person;
  • appreciates the integrity of creation, the interconnectedness and interdependence of all of life;
  • fosters an attitude of respect and care for the earth and everything on it;
  • becomes an instrument of peace by bringing about healing and reconciliation;
  • works for social justice; speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves;
  • generously shares knowledge, skills, talents, expertise, and time in volunteer service.

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