Alvernia’s Franciscan heritage includes a rigorous intellectual tradition that recognizes and values the importance of diversity of thought, faiths and cultures. We challenge our students to shape the world and transform it as working professionals, concerned citizens and caring community members, consistent with the principles and teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi.

The Bernardine Franciscan Sisters, who founded Alvernia in 1958, are members of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. The Third Order was a spontaneous lay movement influenced by St. Francis and the early brothers as they worked and preached in cities and towns of Italy and across Europe, encouraging people to live the gospel and embrace a life of conversion in their own homes. Some people eventually decided to live a common life under the Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis, and the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters are one of many religious congregations sharing this Third Order charism.

As one of only 22 Franciscan institutions in the country, our identity is based on life-changing ideals that stress unconditional love for all people, compassion, humility, and forgiveness through an understanding of the gospels of Jesus Christ.

Our Franciscan mission influences all that we do – our curriculum and culture, what we teach and how we teach it. This creates a learning environment that encourages students to develop their individual gifts to transform themselves and the world around them. Core to our mission and intellectual tradition as Franciscans is the belief in the sanctity of creation and the protection of human rights through active participation in the economic, political, legal and social policy dialogue that affects human dignity.

Service, humility, peacemaking, contemplation, and collegiality are the core values of Alvernia. These basic values are intended to inform a way of life, a view of the world, and a definition of men’s and women’s relationships to their Creator that is more relevant today than ever before.

Franciscan Attributes in Higher Education

  • Reverence for the dignity of each individual.
  • Service to others in the local and global community.
  • Hospitality as expressed in an openness to all.
  • Formation of a caring community.
  • Education of the whole person—mind, body, heart and spirit.
  • Gospel-centered values.
  • Reverence for all creation.
  • Care for the environment.
  • Belief in the basic goodness of life as demonstrated through the expression of joy and optimism.
  • Franciscan intellectual tradition in education.
  • Commitment to social justice.
  • Sense of responsibility to others.
  • Development of moral integrity.

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A Franciscan Tradition