University description (as per official university website)
Nearly 800 years ago, St. Francis of Assisi, found that one of his more learned friars, a certain 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. Farewell.
The Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, California - a thriving community of teaching, learning, and ministry - continues that tradition. FST is a place where the issues and concerns of society intersect theological education.
FST At A Glance
FST is a Roman Catholic graduate theological school, owned and operated by the Province of Saint Barbara of the Order of Friars Minor. Rooted in 800 years of Franciscan tradition, FST is a place where the issues and concerns of society intersect theological education.
FST is a member school of the Graduate Theological Union, an ecumenical consortium of nine schools. FST is accredited by The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
FST students and alumni are workers in the fields of a spiritually starving world. They provide for the poor; they promote social justice; they care for the suffering in homes and hospitals; they learn from their brothers and sisters in other cultures; they console the dying; they provide comfort to the neglected in community centers; they teach the stories of our faith in schools; they educate adults, young and old, in our churches; they celebrate the sacraments in our parishes; they are – in the spirit of Clare and Francis of Assisi – Christian witnesses in the world.
The Franciscan School of Theology brings together three important words: Mission, Franciscan, and California. The Franciscans have provided theological training in California since the beginning of the state’s history and have worked with California’s diverse population since then.
In 1854 Mission Santa Barbara was chartered as an apostolic college and continued in that capacity until 1885. From 1869 to 1877, it also functioned as a college for lay men. In 1896, it began a four-year high school seminary program. The high school became a separate institution in 1901, and the college department became a separate institution at San Luis Rey, California, in 1929. Over the course of the years, the college department expanded into a four-year accredited liberal arts college.
Mission Santa Barbara remained the center for theological studies and continued to operate as a seminary until 1968 when the theological school moved to Berkeley, California as the Franciscan School of Theology, a member school of the Graduate Theological Union.
As our history indicates, once we were a seminary preparing men for service as priests; now we are a seminary and a theology school preparing lay women and men, religious and clergy for shared ministry in the Roman Catholic Church. Once we were one of a number of Franciscan seminaries in the United States; now we are the only Franciscan seminary/theology school whose mission it is to prepare professional ministers for the Church.
From its earliest history, the Franciscan School of Theology has responded to the changing cultural, social, and religious realities of California and the West. Today, FST’s Berkeley location puts it in the center of one of the most culturally diverse and intellectually stimulating areas in the United States. Like the students who journey with us in their preparation for ministry, the history of the Franciscan School of Theology is a story in process.
Guided and governed in its educational mission, community life, and degree programs by the Order of Friars Minor, Ratio Studiorum, “In notitia veritatis proficere” (Rome, GSFS, 2001), the Franciscan School continues to bring the questions of contemporary culture, society, and Church into dialogue with the ever-ancient and ever-new Word of the Gospel.
The Franciscan School of Theology offers two scholarships to incoming degree students: the Mary Stuart Rogers Scholarship and the Oliver Lynch Scholarship, both for up to full tuition. Scholarships are awarded to applicants who have shown exceptional academic achievement in their previous academic work and who demonstrate financial need. For the Mary Stuart Rogers Scholarship, preference is given to applicants from the Diocese of Stockton, California.
Through the generosity of friends and benefactors, FST is able to grant tuition aid to qualified full-time degree students.
Federal Stafford Loans (Title IV)
FST participates in the federally-insured Stafford Loan Program (Title IV), open to US citizens and permanent residents.