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Center for Action and Contemplation

Course Description

A 7-week online course on St. Francis and Franciscan thought and practice with Franciscan Richard Rohr. Learn more about concepts like the Alternative Orthodoxy and how to cultivate Franciscan wisdom through reflection and engagement with the teaching.

The Franciscan Way offers a unique window into Franciscan thought and practice. St. Francis of Assisi, an icon of gentleness and compassion, is also a radical prophet who challenges people of many faiths. His path closely adheres to Jesus’ way of simplicity, justice, and inclusivity through a counter-cultural movement — an “alternative orthodoxy” that values vulnerability and union over power and independence.

Step outside your comfortable ideas and habits and get a unique window into Franciscan thought and practice. Move into new experiences of God, self, and others. Dive into the ocean of God’s love that knows no boundaries or limitations.

In this online course on St. Francis, students will learn about the history, persons, and themes of the Franciscan Way, including the Alternative Orthodoxy, Univocity of Being, and the Great Chain of Being. Students will also develop contemplative practices to support freedom from the dominant ego self.

Learning Objectives

  • Cultivate Franciscan wisdom in your daily life through reflection and engagement with Fr. Richard’s teaching
  • Expand your awareness of the themes and founders of the Franciscan way, including the Alternative Orthodoxy, Univocity of Being, and the Great Chain of Being
  • Develop a contemplative practice to grow alternative consciousness, which provides the only freedom from the dominant ego self and from cultural falsities
  • Connect and learn with other spiritual seekers

“I love Fr. Richard’s Franciscan incarnation theology of the ‘Christ-soaked world.’ Nothing is wasted. Everything is sacred.”

—Liz M.

Course Impact

Participants enroll in our online contemplative courses, like The Franciscan Way, for many reasons.  

Some said the course helped them find a more loving Christian faith, an especially transformative experience for people working through feelings of religious shame and spiritual abuse.   

Christians deconstructing their faith — or moving through order, disorder, reorder — found greater confidence in inner authority, learning to trust their own ideas and intuition about God.  

Participants who engaged fully with the course shared that they: 

  • Expanded their understanding of the Gospel through the works of Franciscan scholars such as St. Bonaventure, John Duns Scotus, St. Clare, and more. 
  • Began to live more simply and lovingly by learning about the life of St. Francis — a wealthy man’s son who tossed aside his golden robes for a burlap sack.   
  • Found comfort and validation with scripture-based contemplative practices that shift dualistic thinking (a worldview of good vs. bad) into unitive consciousness (oneness in Love). 
  • Participated in discussions with a supportive and validating online community of spiritual seekers travelling on their own transformational journeys. 

Course Schedule

Below you will find the course schedule for all upcoming offerings. You can register or sign up to be notified of an upcoming course by clicking the buttons below.

September 6, 2024 – October 15, 2024
Start Date
October 23, 2024
7 weeks
Remind me to register

Course Details

The Franciscan Way is a 7-week online course with Richard Rohr. Students should expect to invest 4–6 hours of work each week on course material, reading assignments, online discussions with other students, and time for personal reflection.

  • This course is taught in English.

Students will have access to course content for the duration of the course. Course content will be available four weeks after the course ends.

Course Audio Quality

Some of the videos used in this course have degraded audio quality that can be difficult to hear at times. To improve understanding of the video content, all the videos with Fr. Richard teaching have transcripts and closed captioning available.

Financial Assistance

To apply for financial assistance, please complete the online Financial Assistance Form at least 1 week before registration is scheduled to close. Please do not register for the online course until your request for financial assistance has been processed.

This is a sample video from the course.

Course Overview

Each week students will explore a new topic of study through teaching material, a contemplative practice, and student discussions. Students can progress through each week at their own pace.

This 7-week online course is designed so you can bring the teachings, contemplative practices, and conscious work into your own routine and deepen its impact on your life.


  • Week 1 — Course Overview & Pre-Course Work
    Prepare yourself for the course and get a feel for the lessons and functions that follow.
  • Week 2 — Themes of the Franciscan Way
    Explore and unpack the themes of the Franciscan Way and come to see how Francis rejoiced in the cosmos through the particulars of his experience.
  • Week 3 — Lessons from St. Bonaventure and John Duns Scotus
    Explore the teachings of these two Franciscan intellectuals, and witness how St. Bonaventure and John Duns Scotus took the intuitive wisdom of St. Francis and created a philosophical framework around it.
  • Week 4 — Image of God
    By the end of this lesson, you will have reflected on the question “How does my image of God shape my worldview?”
  • Week 5 — Starting Points of the Franciscan Alternative Orthodoxy
    Fr. Richard will teach on the six starting points of the Franciscan Alternative Orthodoxy and how they open you up to a different way of relating to God, others, and yourself.
  • Week 6 — Mystery of Participation and the Four Splits
    Fr. Richard names and unpacks each of the four splits that everyone experiences and works to overcome in their lives. By using St. Francis as an example, you may see the inner work that lies ahead for you on your spiritual path.
  • Week 7 — Connecting the Franciscan Way to the World’s Questions
    Through the video teachings, Contemplative Practice, and a recorded interview with Fr. Richard, you will continue to see how the Franciscan Way can be integrated into your daily life.
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