"St. Francis of Assisi: Pacifist, Ecumenist, Arabist" the Keynote Address at Viterbo Humanities Symposium Feb. 25

Feb. 23, 2015

Contact Robyn Gaier at 608-796-3710 or rrgaier@viterbo.edu

“ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI: PACIFIST, ECUMENIST, ARABIST” THE KEYNOTE ADDRESS AT THE ANNUAL VITERBO UNIVERSITY HUMANITIES SYMPOSIUM FEB. 25

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Rev. Dr. Michael Cusato, OFM, an expert in the life of St. Francis of Assisi and the former director of the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University, will give the keynote address, “St. Francis of Assisi: Pacifist, Ecumenist, Arabist” at the annual Viterbo humanities symposium from 12:30–2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25 in the Fine Arts Center Main Theatre.

The event is free and open to the public. It will also feature original music by Viterbo students and a performance of Hallelujah! by Mary Ellen Haupert, music, and the Viterbo Concert Choir, directed by Jean Saladino.

“Coinciding with current events, this year’s symposium highlights the peace-making efforts of St. Francis,” said Robyn Gaier, religious studies and philosophy. “The symposium is intended to provide not only a historical framework for understanding the peace-making efforts of St. Francis, but also an inspiring path towards how all of us may emulate St. Francis by bringing more peace into our lives and into the world that we share.”

In 1219 during the Fifth Crusade, St. Francis of Assisi travelled through enemy lines and gained an audience with Sultan Mailk al-Kamil of Egypt. St. Francis undertook this dangerous endeavor with the goal of bringing about peace by converting the Sultan to Christianity. St. Francis was unable to convert the Sultan, but he left the peaceful meeting with the idea that Christians and Muslims should live in peace.

The humanities symposium is sponsored by the Viterbo College of Arts and Letters and is free and open to the public. It is designed to provide a common topic that upholds the values of the university’s Franciscan heritage while offering opportunities to apply those values through an interdisciplinary lens.

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