Franciscan School of Theology
The Franciscan School of Theology (FST) in Berkeley, California, is the only freestanding Franciscan graduate theological school in North America. It is a member of an ecumenical consortium called the Graduate Theological Union. In addition to preparing Franciscan friars and other seminarians for ordained priesthood, FST is committed to the academic and professional preparation of lay ministers for leadership in the church.
Nearly 800 years ago, St. Francis of Assisi found that one of his more learned friars, Anthony of Padua, was interested in teaching theology to other friars. In response, Francis wrote: “It is my pleasure that you teach theology to the brothers, provided, however, that as the Rule prescribes, the spirit of prayer and devotion may not be extinguished.”
Rooted in the Franciscan tradition, FST is a place where the issues and concerns of society intersect with theological education. The theology school is committed to keeping the Franciscan tradition alive, not just for Franciscan brothers, but for laity and vowed religious seekers who hunger for the Franciscan message.
Since its establishment in Berkeley in 1968, more than 75 percent of the Franciscan friars of the St. Barbara Province have studied at the academic institution. Intent on preparing students to minister in a multicultural church, FST is continuing the tradition established by Franciscan predecessors who came from the learning centers of Majorca, Saxony, Zacatecas and Santa Barbara.
FST students and alumni are workers in the fields of a spiritually starving world. They provide for the poor, promote social justice, care for the suffering in homes and hospitals, console the dying and comfort to the neglected in community centers. They teach the stories of faith in schools, educate the young and the old in parishes and celebrate the sacraments in churches. They are — in the spirit of Francis and Clare of Assisi — Christian witnesses in the world.
The theological tradition imparted at FST encourages students to emphasize the unique revelation of God in each person, in every culture and in all creatures. Academic development, worship, community life and social justice are all integral parts of FST’s life.