What is it about an 800-year-old Saint that is so appealing for young adults today?

Today’s young adults see something inspiring in the life and spirituality of Francis of Assisi. In a survey conducted in Washington, D.C., and published in the book American Catholics Today: New Realities of Their Faith and Their Church (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2007), young adults were asked which people in all of Church history are the most inspiring to them. After a first-place tie between Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II, St. Francis was next.

For more on the inspiration and appeal of St. Francis and the Franciscan tradition for today’s young adults, check out “St. Francis and the Millennials: Kindred Spirits.” I thought this would be something readers may be interested in looking at in light of the student service trips going on this week from Siena College and other Franciscan schools.

Young adults, including college students that I teach and minister to at Siena, are very interested in the life and tradition of St. Francis. This is a significant dimension of the service trip to the Dominican Republic that I am on right now — not only am I a Franciscan friar and the students are from a Franciscan college, but we are working with a group of Franciscan Sisters who run a school and other ministries. This is no accident. We want our students to be aware of the broader Franciscan community worldwide and have an experience of the Franciscan family working together for the sake of all humanity, particularly the poor and marginalized.

Note: This post was pre-written and scheduled to be published while I am away on a service trip to the Dominican Republic with students from Siena College. Regular daily posts will resume upon my return. While away I am unable to respond to comments posted here.

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