What A Franciscan Education Means
160+ Years of Service in Brooklyn
Around the year 1224, St. Francis of Assisi gave permission to a young and learned Brother, St. Anthony of Padua, to teach theology to the Brothers “as long as such study did not extinguish the spirit of prayer and devotion.” In the century that followed, a “Franciscan School” of scholars developed a Christ-centered theology and philosophy based on the life and teachings of St. Francis.
The outstanding Franciscan scholars of that period are St. Bonaventure and Blessed John Duns Scotus. They followed the intentions of St. Francis that learning be placed at the service of living as Christ did; in other words, the quest for knowledge was not to be an end in itself, but a quest to live more authentically within oneself and morally within the world community.
In the early nineteenth century, Franciscan Brothers in Ireland began schools for poor and ordinary people. Following that spirit, Brothers came to Brooklyn in 1858 to educate the large numbers of immigrants arriving in America. Those Brothers opened St. Francis Academy in 1859. The institution officially became St. Francis College in 1884 when New York State granted the school a charter. Since opening its doors, the College has been committed to the Franciscan tradition of service and development of the whole person. Study of the liberal arts, combined with career preparation in specific fields of study, remains a means of following the quest for truth and personal authenticity. This is the Franciscan Spirit that leads our students to take their place in the world as ethical persons committed to nurturing the Divine goodness within every human being and all that God has created.
The Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn have been serving the Church in New York for more than 160 years. Learn more about the life and work of the Franciscan Brothers.