News & Events


To Sin No More: Franciscans and Conversion in the Hispanic World, 1683-1830

February 2, 2018
A new book by St. Francis and the Americas project partner David Rex Galindo is available from Stanford University Press.
About the book: For 300 years, Franciscans were at the forefront of the spread of Catholicism in the New World. In the late seventeenth century, Franciscans developed a far-reaching, systematic missionary program in Spain and the Americas. After founding the first college of propaganda fide in the Mexican city of Querétaro, the Franciscan Order established six additional colleges in New Spain, ten in South America, and twelve in Spain. From these colleges Franciscans proselytized Indians in frontier territories as well as Catholics in rural and urban areas in eighteenth-century Spain and Spanish America. 

To Sin No More is the first book to study these colleges, their missionaries, and their multifaceted, sweeping missionary programs. By focusing on the recruitment of non-Catholics to Catholicism as well as the deepening of religious fervor among Catholics, David Rex Galindo shows how the Franciscan colleges expanded and shaped popular Catholicism in the eighteenth-century Spanish Atlantic world. This book explores the motivations driving Franciscan friars, their lives inside the colleges, their training, and their ministry among Catholics, an often-overlooked duty that paralleled missionary deployments. Rex Galindo argues that Franciscan missionaries aimed to reform or "reawaken" Catholic parishioners just as much as they sought to convert non-Christian Indians. 

About the author: David Rex Galindo is newly appointed at the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Santiago, Chile.

The book may be ordered at

Postcard from Gabriela Mistral

November 22, 2016

Professor Elizabeth Horan shared with us a postcard view of Assisi that celebrated poet Gabriela Mistral sent to Eduardo Barrios in 1924. The image is courtesy of Notre Dame University. The message written on the back reads as follows (Spanish only):

Sobre la ciudad de Asís

Gabriela Mistral a Eduardo Barrios, 16 julio 1924
(Mediante Elizabeth Horan, profesora, Department of English, Arizona State University)

“Asís es un pueblo medieval entero, [pero] mas, conservado y hasta integro con una belleza de arquitectura noblísma i con una llanura que serena enormemente. Leo y escribo, con calma. Salí de Roma por el horrible calor. [Aquí] esto es ardiente, pero tolerable. Me siento mal en la parte alta, bien la baja. La cuidad es verdaderamente franciscana: recogida como un corazón, severa, simple y callada. La han alabado menos de lo que merece; vale casi tanto como el Pobrecillo. La agitación política – el odioso fascismo—no se siente aquí. Si hubiese vuelta—como se cree—aquí no me dañará. Si sigue la temperature mediana, quedo un mes; si no sigo a Perugia, o Ancona, o Venecia pronto.”

Why the New Pope Chose the Name Francis

November 17, 2016

When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was asked why he chose the papal name of Francis, his response was instructive: He thought of the poor, of war and strife, and immediately of Francis of Assisi, “the man of the poor, the man of peace.”

See Pope Francis’s explanation here.

Originally published March 21, 2013.

Pope Francis Prays at the Place Where St. Francis of Assisi Placed the First Nativity Scene

January 4, 2016

The Pope prayed in the grotto where St. Francis of Assisi established the tradition of the nativity scene in 1223.

It is in the Italian town of Greccio, about 100 kilometers from Rome. Pope Francis arrived in the afternoon, in the car he normally uses. The Pope visited Greccio to pray a few days before the Epiphany. It was such a private event, that TV cameras were not there to captured the moment. The diocese media were the only ones present.
In fact, the only ones that knew of the Pope's visit was the bishop of Rieti and the Franciscan community of the monastery where the grotto is located.
This was a surprise of great magnitude for about 150 young people from the diocese who were participating in a meeting when this took place. The Pope improvised a speech in which he invited them, as did the three Kings, "to follow the signs for Jesus”.

Voice of Peace: New CD by Friar Alessandro Brustenghi

October 25, 2015

Friar Alessandro Brustenghi’s new audio CD, his 3rd, Voice of Peace, has been released.  A link to a lovely video of a song from that collection, "Resta con noi, Signore” (Stay With Us, Lord), is available here:

Duncan Knowles observes, "Friar Alessandro works at Saint Francis’s spiritual home, the Porziuncola inside the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli near Assisi. Alessandro's beautiful singing voice has made him perhaps the most famous Franciscan in the world today. He made his very first trips to America just to sing for several thousand inner city children in Washington, DC, Baltimore, and Oakland, CA, as part of the free day-long Francis in the Schools program which seeks to inspire these children with the living spirit and joy of Saint Francis and his example of kindness, brotherhood, and service to others."

Voice of Peace may be purchased from Amazon at

For more information about Friar Alessandro

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September 12, 2018

Lattie F. Coor Hall Room 4403
976 S Forest Mall 
Tempe, Arizona 85281 

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Speakers Clague Van Slyke III and Craig Reid will describe the history of Mission San Xavier del Bac , known as the White Dove of the Desert, one of the most iconic mission churches in the U.S. Southwest often described as the finest example of Mexican baroque art and architecture in the United States.  The mission was founded by Padre Eusebio Kino in 1692 and the church built a century later as a collaboration between Franciscan friars and the surrounding indigenous community.  The presentation will touch on the 10,000 year history of indigenous inhabitation of the area, the geopolitical forces that shaped the area and the blending of cultural traditions that continue to this day.  Van Slyke and Reid are active in the restoration of the church and have fascinating stories to tell about the community efforts to maintain the building. Many exciting projects both on the structure and interior are in progress. Their presentation will include slides and video.

As part of its St. Francis and the Americas project, the Hispanic Research Center has produced a video about the mission explained by Clague Van Slyke III:

About the Speakers: Native Tucsonan Clague Van Slyke III has a life-long, multigenerational connection to Mission San Xavier del Bac. Clague’s father was the Patronato Board President during the 1990s and Clague has been a Board member since 2013. In 2015, he participated in the docent training, primarily to increase his knowledge about Mission San Xavier. He was inspired to share the incredible story with the Mission’s many guests. This year, Clague assumed the duties of Docent Education Coordinator, returning to his roots as a lifelong student of Southwestern history.

 Long-time docent Craig Reid has been bringing the Mission to life for audiences around Southern Arizona and is expanding the outreach program with other docents to include other Arizonans interested in a good story. Craig is a retired police chief from Minnesota, a terrific story teller, and has traveled extensively exploring church architecture around the world.

The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP at

Light refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

October 2, 2015

St. Francis Retreat led by Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, CSJ at the Franciscan Renewal Center, Scottsdale, AZ, Oct. 2-4, 2015. Download the flyer for more information.

Friday, October 2, 2015 (All day) to Sunday, October 4, 2015 (All day)

August 10, 2015

With the aim of continuing the celebration of the 290th anniversary of the founding of the Convent of Santa Rosa de Ocopa, a series of conferences on "Religion, Science and Culture" will be held in August in the cities of Huancayo and Lima.

This lecture series is recommended for anyone interested in the Franciscan history of the Americas. The conferences are scheduled for the week of Monday, August 10 through Friday, August 14, 2015, in Lima and in the Convent of Santa Rosa de Ocopa in Huancayo.

According to Fr. Jorge Cajo R., OFM, Superior of the Convent of Ocopa, this will be a momentous event that will gather renowned figures on the national and international levels who specialize in various disciplines in the fields of philosophy, history, anthropology, linguistics, and ethnography.

For more information visit:

Monday, August 10, 2015 (All day) to Friday, August 14, 2015 (All day)
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