Special Issue "Franciscan Spirituality and Its Impact for Today’s World"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 August 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Thomas Dienberg

IUNCTUS–Competence Centre for Christian Spirituality, Kapuzinerstr. 2748149 Münster, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 0049 162 13 29 411
Interests: spirituality and religion; schools of mysticism and asceticism; spirituality and management; theology and the arts; spirituality/religion and post-modernity

Special Issue Information

The Franciscan movement is one of the biggest spiritual movements among religions. Since more than 800 years, people try to imitate Francis and Clare of Assisi. They live a life in brotherhood, in evangelical poverty and care for the world and its challenges. The Franciscan Spirituality, not only as lived exemplary by the Jesuit Pope Francis, is still an answer for many issues and challenges the world of today has to face. This special issue of Religions focuses on this school of spirituality and tries to exemplify the actuality of the Franciscan Spirituality, but also the questions this old and vivid tradition of spirituality is asking the world of today. Topics will include, among others, the following aspects: community/individualism, ecology, health care, management and leadership, hospice work, poverty urban ministry, interreligious dialogue, feminism, counseling, prayer and contemplation, anthropology.

Dear Colleagues,

There are many books and volumes on Franciscan Spirituality, but there is also a lack of one volume that shows the diversity and actuality of the Franciscan Spirituality for the postmodern society and the globalized world.

The aim of this volume is to bring together some of the most challenging and important aspects of the Franciscan Spirituality with challenging and demanding issues of the post-modern world. A good background for the articles could be the volumes of the two series, edited by the Franciscan Institute St. Bonaventure/USA: The Franciscan Heritages Series and The Washington Union Symposium Papers with the focus on different Franciscan topics.

The difference of this special issue on Franciscan Spirituality will be a compact and summarized perspective on the most actual aspects within one volume, based on an intellectual debate and at the same time with practical inputs for the postmodern society.

Essays on single figures, on special initiatives in different cultural contexts or on texts from the Franciscan sources are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Dienberg
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • poverty
  • brotherhood
  • creation
  • secularisation
  • gender issues
  • interreligious dialogue
  • minoritas
  • incarnation

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Franciscan Tradition in Management and Leadership Thinking Today
Religions 2018, 9(12), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9120376
Received: 17 September 2018 / Revised: 9 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 22 November 2018
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Abstract
What can we learn from the Franciscan Tradition for the management world today? This research question has lead the research at the Philosophical-Theological College of the German Capuchins for many years. In this paper we focus on the 800-year history of the Franciscan [...] Read more.
What can we learn from the Franciscan Tradition for the management world today? This research question has lead the research at the Philosophical-Theological College of the German Capuchins for many years. In this paper we focus on the 800-year history of the Franciscan family as a learning organization in order to explore the question of transformation as a key concept of Franciscan life resp. Franciscan leadership. To do so we look at the founder of the Order, Francis of Assisi (1181–1226) first. Francis himself stands for a personal, continuous process of transformation in which he chooses the Gospel as a basic orientation for his life. He completely changed his life goals and defines the identity of the entire Franciscan organization. In this context, the core values of the Franciscans, such as evangelical poverty, serving character, and the aspect of brotherhood will be discussed. The Franciscan Community serves as a perfect field of practice for bringing together attitude and action. Finally, practical experiences from the Franciscan tradition, like developing of structural elements (e.g., the annual chapters) are related to the management context. By focusing on the practice and the focus on transformation, the Franciscan example can inspire modern organizations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Franciscan Spirituality and Its Impact for Today’s World)
Open AccessArticle How Saint Clare of Assisi Guided Her Sisters. Impulses for the Today’s Leadership Context
Religions 2018, 9(11), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110347
Received: 6 September 2018 / Revised: 31 October 2018 / Accepted: 31 October 2018 / Published: 6 November 2018
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Abstract
Saint Clare and leadership? A lot of research on her person has been done in recent years. However, her importance for today’s management has not been taken into account. In this article, we will look more closely at her understanding of leadership and [...] Read more.
Saint Clare and leadership? A lot of research on her person has been done in recent years. However, her importance for today’s management has not been taken into account. In this article, we will look more closely at her understanding of leadership and how the medieval saint led the community of her sisters. To do this, we first look at biographical reports and written testimonies (about and written by her) that characterize her leadership actions and behavior. First and foremost, it was her endeavor to lead a life according to Jesus Christ under the privilege of poverty. In this presentation, the excerpts from the canonization process and passages of her order rule are of central importance. These testimonies provide valuable information on her understanding and her leadership style. Her biography, her leadership, and the values that shape her actions provide valuable insights into today’s leadership challenges. Through her example, St. Clare can help us to train ourselves as authentic leaders and to reflect on our own leadership and values. She can sensitize people to cultivate an appreciative inner attitude in dealing with others and thus develop our own effect as (leadership) personalities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Franciscan Spirituality and Its Impact for Today’s World)
Open AccessArticle Attitudes and Behaviors Related to Franciscan-Inspired Spirituality and Their Associations with Compassion and Altruism in Franciscan Brothers and Sisters
Religions 2018, 9(10), 324; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100324
Received: 6 September 2018 / Revised: 15 October 2018 / Accepted: 19 October 2018 / Published: 22 October 2018
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Abstract
In Christian tradition there are many different ‘schools’ of spirituality which address an ‘inner transformation’ referring to an individual experience of the Sacred. The focus of this study was to examine the ‘core’ component of Franciscan spirituality (life according to the Gospel) and [...] Read more.
In Christian tradition there are many different ‘schools’ of spirituality which address an ‘inner transformation’ referring to an individual experience of the Sacred. The focus of this study was to examine the ‘core’ component of Franciscan spirituality (life according to the Gospel) and the ‘transformative’ components (living with and for others in need and respectful commitment to the creation) in a group of brothers and sisters of the Franciscan family. In particular, the reflection on how this spirituality is connected with the perception of the divine in daily life, with feelings of awe and subsequent gratitude on the one hand and compassion and altruistic behavior on the other, was an essential aspect of the present work. Data from a cross-sectional study with standardized instruments among 388 Franciscan brothers and sisters (mean age 61 ± 25 years) showed that “Living from the Faith” and “Seeking God in Silence and Prayer” scored highest, followed by “Commitment to the Creation” and interpersonal factors such as “Peaceful Attitude/Respectful Treatment” and “Commitment to the Disadvantaged”. In all cases, women achieved significantly higher scores than men (with values of F between 5.3 and 23.5, p < 0.05). These dimensions were moderately to strongly associated with experiential aspects of spirituality (i.e., Perception of the Divine, Gratitude/Awe), particularly “Living from the Faith” (r > 5.0, p < 0.0001). With regard to the prosocial ‘outcomes’ (e.g., Compassion and Altruism), stepwise regression analyses showed that Compassion was best predicted by “Peaceful Attitude/Respectful Treatment” and Gratitude/Awe (both explain 27% of variance), and Altruism was best predicted by “Commitment to the Disadvantaged” and Gratitude/Awe (both explain 21% of variance). Mediator analyses with the standardized z-factor values showed that Gratitude/Awe is also a significant mediator of the effects of the Perception of the Divine (as a further significant predictor of prosocial behaviors) on Compassion (beta = 0.05 ± 0.02, p < 0.01) and Altruism (beta = 0.03 ± 0.02, p = 0.04). Surprisingly, “Commitment to the Disadvantaged” was only weakly linked to “Living from the Faith”. It could be shown that “Living from the Faith” was much more connected to Compassion as an intention rather than to Altruism as an action. “Living from the Faith”, as the fundamental aspect of Franciscan spirituality, mediated the effect of the Perception of the Divine on Compassion (beta = 0.08 ± 0.03, p < 0.01) and Altruism (beta = 0.06 ± 0.03, p = 0.04), as well as mediating the effect of Gratitude/Awe on Compassion (beta = 0.07 ± 0.02, p < 0.01) and Altruism (beta = 0.06 ± 0.02, p < 0.01). However, there are significant differences between more contemplative and charitably engaged Franciscans; “Living from the Faith” scored highest in contemplative brothers and sisters within the different branches of Franciscan orders when compared to more charitably engaged persons, while their “Commitment to the Disadvantaged” was significantly lower. These differences could also be ascribed to the different charisms and missions of the Franciscan branches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Franciscan Spirituality and Its Impact for Today’s World)
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Open AccessArticle “Do Not Extinguish the Spirit of Prayer” The Act of Prayer According to Francis of Assisi
Religions 2018, 9(10), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100318
Received: 4 September 2018 / Accepted: 27 September 2018 / Published: 18 October 2018
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Abstract
Francis of Assisi did not shape a systematic tractate about prayer and contemplation. He was first of all a Man of Prayer and secondly a Master of Prayer. This article tries to work out some mainlines of St. Francis’ practice of prayer based [...] Read more.
Francis of Assisi did not shape a systematic tractate about prayer and contemplation. He was first of all a Man of Prayer and secondly a Master of Prayer. This article tries to work out some mainlines of St. Francis’ practice of prayer based on a small selection of his writings. Despite an incomparable situation of spirituality, society, and lifestyle between the 13th century and today, it is possible to figure out some persistent elements of what it means “to pray”: acclamation to and dialogue with the ineffable God; the logic of donation and restitution; the relevance of identity and universal solidarity in prayer; the relation between prayer and action or the meaning of “unceasing prayer”. The spiritual practice of Francis of Assisi may help us to approach and to understand the human act of prayer, which is no longer self-evident—and probably never was. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Franciscan Spirituality and Its Impact for Today’s World)
Open AccessArticle “[…] from Our Own Comfort Zone […] to […] All the ‘Peripheries’” (EG 20). A Franciscan Keyword of Pope Francis and its Significance for Christian Worship
Religions 2018, 9(10), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100290
Received: 16 August 2018 / Revised: 19 September 2018 / Accepted: 20 September 2018 / Published: 25 September 2018
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Abstract
In Evangelii gaudium (No. 20), Pope Francis writes: “In our day Jesus’ command to ‘go and make disciples’ echoes in the changing scenarios and ever new challenges to the Church’s mission of evangelization […]. Each Christian and every community must discern the path [...] Read more.
In Evangelii gaudium (No. 20), Pope Francis writes: “In our day Jesus’ command to ‘go and make disciples’ echoes in the changing scenarios and ever new challenges to the Church’s mission of evangelization […]. Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel.” Here and in other passages the Pope makes clear that he understands the Church and its mission in a very Franciscan way. Consider how St. Francis of Assisi kept company with the poor, and bear in mind texts like his “Instructions for brothers who want to go on the missions”. Celebration in worship is an important element of such an evangelization: it opens a way to the experience of the One who really sends the Good News to all believers! This article argues that Francis prefers two options to promote a Franciscan worship practice in that sense: for him it is “imperative to evangelize cultures in order to inculturate the Gospel” (EG 69). Firstly, worshipping should be connected with “authentic ‘popular piety” as the “starting point” of Evangelization (ibid. and EG 70), and secondly the translation of official liturgical texts should follow a threefold fidelity: to the Bible, to the Church’s tradition, and to any given people’s own language (cf. Motu Proprio Magnum Principium). The Pope’s strategy here follows de facto ideas of St. Francis, such as when the Poverello enlivened the mystery of the Incarnation by arranging a manger in Greccio (1223). One conclusion from this is that the Church has to develop ideas “in restoring a mystical adherence to the faith in a pluralistic religious landscape” (EG 70). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Franciscan Spirituality and Its Impact for Today’s World)
Open AccessArticle Franciscan Spirituality and Economics
Religions 2018, 9(10), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100288
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 18 September 2018 / Accepted: 20 September 2018 / Published: 21 September 2018
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Abstract
St. Francis was hostile to money and material wealth. He was also against exploitation or misuse of natural creatures and promoted voluntary poverty, sharing, and universal brotherhood. This paper examines the implications of St. Francis’s views for economics. It is argued that St. [...] Read more.
St. Francis was hostile to money and material wealth. He was also against exploitation or misuse of natural creatures and promoted voluntary poverty, sharing, and universal brotherhood. This paper examines the implications of St. Francis’s views for economics. It is argued that St. Francis’s views imply the substantive notion of the term “economic” and favor material sufficiency instead of financial efficiency. Pope Francis’s encyclical letter “Laudato si’” is consistent with and supports St. Francis’s views, which emphasize the frugality of consumption and acknowledging the intrinsic value of nature. The overall vision of St. Francis can be characterized as “The Commonwealth of Life” based on a God-centered, spiritual way of living and acting. The paper suggests that the models of a sufficiency-oriented community economy are relevant for realizing St. Francis’s legacy in today’s reality of climate change described by climate scientists as the “Hothouse Earth” pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Franciscan Spirituality and Its Impact for Today’s World)
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