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Thank you for a Successful AFC!

Our Annual Federation Conference was held in St. Louis, Missouri, June 9-12, 2023.

Conference Resources

In keeping with our commitment to provide our members with timely resources, the Federation is providing access to prayer resources used throughout the AFC experience. In addition, Sr. Ilia Delio has graciously provided us with the slides from her presentation for your review and use. The resources can be accessed through the resource page, but are also linked below.

Stations of the Creche

Lessons and Carols for Greccio

Sr. Ilia Delio’s Keynote Slide Deck

Creches of the World Video

Last year’s theme, Hearts on Fire: Journeying Together has prepared us to move outward to welcome many more into the Franciscan Federation fold. This year we will focus on the inclusivity we seek to realize with the theme, Awaken Joy: There’s Room for You in the Crib. Leaning on the importance of the Franciscan Tradition’s foundation in incarnational spirituality, we will collectively explore the concept of inclusivity. Specifically, how the Federation can become a more inclusive and welcoming space for all who identify as Franciscan, with a particular focus on racial diversity. This will all be within the context of celebrating the 800th anniversary of Greccio, where Francis was credited with creating the first living nativity in 1223.

Keynote Presentations

Ilia Delio, OSF, PhD

Gloria Purvis

Breakout Sessions

Each participant will have the opportunity to attend three breakout sessions.

Re-Membering Laity in the Franciscan Tradition

The stories we use to engage in the Franciscan tradition shape us in our own lived experience of faith. While the stories of Francis and Clare predominate our narratives, this interactive session explores key lay leaders of the early decades of the Franciscan movement and challenges participants to consider laity as co-creators of this tradition we embrace as practitioners. Wives and widows; husbands and widowers; business partners and caregivers; preachers and peace mediators are among the people who forged the Franciscan tradition as lay practitioners. Come find your authentic place in the tradition through these stories.

Presenter: Darleen Pryds, PhD

Dr. Darleen Pryds is a professor of history and spirituality at the Franciscan School of Theology. She has written several books and articles on Franciscan laity including Women of the Streets. Early Franciscan Women and their Mendicant Vocation (2010) and Enduring Presence: Diversity and Authenticity Among the First Generations of Franciscan Laity (2018). She is presently working on a book entitled, Laity as Co-Creators of the Franciscan Tradition. In her spare time, she volunteers as a caregiver in hospice, finding her inspiration in Franciscan figures such as Lady Jacoba and Pietro Pettinaio.  

Franciscan Retreat Ministry

Franciscans have a long Retreat ministry history.  As times and needs change, we intentionally focus on ways to nurture and challenge the spiritual journeys of people with a Franciscan spirituality. Bring your experiences, hopes and dreams as we share ways we can “renew hearts, awaken the desire to build a future of greater solidarity, and bring joy and hope to everyone.”(Pope Francis)  We will consider potential ways to form new collaborative partnerships to sustain and expand our Franciscan Retreat Houses and Centers.

Presenter: Sara Dwyer, ASC

Sister Sara has been a member of the Sisters, Adorer of the Blood of Christ, an International Congregation, for 52 years.  Sr Sara has served in various adult faith formation positions during those years; on the  ASC, U.S. Leadership Team, and as the coordinator for the Region’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation advocacy and education efforts.  Currently, she serves as the Director of the Washington Retreat House, owned by the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement, in D.C.. 

FOCUS on Initial Formation in the Secular Franciscan Order

All those who profess with the Secular Franciscan Order engage in an extensive formation process. This breakout session will focus on how to recognize a vocation, layout the pathway to profession, explore the themes touched upon in initial formation, and what is expected of someone in the initial formation process.

Presenter: Diane Menditto, OFS

Diane Menditto was Professed in 1979 and presently serves the Order as National Vice Minister of OFS USA. She is a present member of OFS International Formation Secretariat, former OFS USA National Formation Commission chair, former regional and local Formation Director and former Regional Minister, and former World Languages educator (35 years) specializing in Spanish education.

Franciscan Contemplative Engagement: Invigorating Organizational Culture & Community Life

Encounter the practices that have been transforming nonprofit boards, organizational culture among leaders and staff, and Franciscan communities across the nation! Participants in this workshop have shared the following: “I’m grateful for the tools to have difficult conversations with my community… this has had such a positive impact on the ways to relate with one another.”  – Franciscan Sister. “My ministry with people is so much deeper now, I wish I had this formation 30 years ago!” – Hospital Minister. “A refreshing alternative ‘way of being’ to the hyper-polarization in our society.” – Lay Leader. “The contemplative prayer experiences were life changing.” – Secular Franciscan

Presenter: Brent Anderson, M.Div., BCC

As a healthcare mission integration executive and dialogue facilitator, Brent has led seminars on leadership development, ethics, employee engagement, and resilience training for thousands of educators and healthcare staff. His background as a spiritual director, chaplain, community organizer, nonprofit public health consultant, Fulbright scholar, and ethics consultant prepared him for his leadership role with Cultivating Unity. When he is not facilitating contemplative retreats, dialogue workshops, community discernments, and organizational culture & planning processes, he enjoys rope swinging in the Allegany River with his 10, 8, & 6 year-old children. 

And God Gave us Associates . . . Now What?

Come and hear about the progress of our six active Federation Associate workgroups. Participants are invited to join in our interactive conversations around possible models, identified by our workgroup, regarding the potential thriving future of Associates.

Presenters: Geri & Rick Dietz

Geri and Rick Dietz are co-chairs of the Federation’s subcommittee on Associates. They recently retired from serving with the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota community. Geri was their Minister of Associates for thirteen years and Rick was their Franciscan Life Center Director.  Both hold a MA in Pastoral Ministry from St. Mary’s University, Winona MN. They have been married for 43 years and have one grown son who is also married.

Welcoming the LGBTQ+ Community

The original breakout session Enlarge the Place of Your Tent: Welcoming the LGBTQ Community, has unfortunately had to be canceled due to a conflict in the presenter’s schedule. Believing that this topic is very important to the future of the Franciscan Federation, Ilia Delio, OSF has graciously agreed to step in to facilitate a conversation that expands her keynote address specifically on the topic of LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Presenter: Ilia Delio, OSF

Ilia Delio, OSF is a Franciscan Sister of Washington DC and holds the Josephine C. Connelly Chair in Christian Theology at Villanova Universe. She is the author of over twenty-three books including The Hours of the Universe: Reflections on God, Science and the Human Journey which won a 2022 Gold Nautilus Book Award, Making All Things New: Catholicity, Cosmology and Consciousness, a finalist for the 2019 Michael Ramsey Prize and The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution and the Power of Love, for which she won the 2014 Silver Nautilus Book Award and a 2014 Catholic Press Association Book Award in Faith and Science. She is founder of the Center for Christogenesis, an online educational resource for promoting the vision of Teilhard de Chardin and, more broadly, the integration of science and religion in the21 st century.

Celebrating the Centenary: Creatively Planning and Implementing Celebrations

Beginning this year, 2023, the Franciscan world began a four-year centenary celebration of pivotal moments in our Franciscan story. The Rule and Greccio (2023), The Stigmata (2024), The Canticle of Creatures (2025), and The Easter of St. Francis (2026). This practical workshop will provide a template for creatively planning and implementing celebrations within the context of your congregation, community, organization, or other Franciscan Association.

Presenter: Sara P. Marks, MA

Sara is the Executive Director of the Franciscan Federation and founder & CEO of Fina Catalysts, LLC, a leadership and organizational development consuting firm. She holds a Master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry from the University of Dayton, and a certificate of advanced graduate studies in Organizational Leadership from Eastern University where she is a PhD Candidate working on her dissertation entitled, Why do Gen Zers Choose to Work for Catholic Nonprofit Organizations: A Phenomenological Study of the Confluence of Mission and Values.

Young Adult and Intergenerational Franciscan Justice Circles

Are you looking for ways to bring people together for constructive action based on Franciscan values? Consider forming a Franciscan Justice Circle, in which individuals who identify with the Franciscan charism come together to pray, learn, and take action for justice and peace. Come learn more about how Franciscan Action Network can help you establish and nurture a circle on your campus or in your community.  

Presenter: Michele Dunne, OFS, PhD

Michele Dunne is the executive director of Franciscan Action Network and a professed Secular Franciscan. 

Networking Events

There will be multiple networking opportunities for individuals and organizations to share ideas on projects and various topics. Individuals can request networking topics in the registration process.

Sponsorship Opportunities

The Federation is incredibly grateful to our dedicated congregational members, partners, and collaborators who support our mission by way of sponsoring AFC. This year we seek to continue to expand our relationships to create an inclusive, welcoming organization where all who identify as Franciscan may feel they belong. Your generosity will help us to create that environment for all who participate in AFC 2023!