The Franciscan International Study Centre in Canterbury has announced that it is to close.
The following statement from the Board of Trustees of Centre was issued:
'After forty-six years of existence, the Franciscan International
Study Centre in Canterbury will close on the 30th of June 2017. Its
Board of Trustees passed the following resolution on 1st December 2016.
The Franciscan International Study Centre in Canterbury shall cease
functioning at the end of Trinity Term 2017, and begin the process of
closure and the eventual alienation of the property.
The Trustees expressed their hope that the Franciscan ethos, with its
intellectual and spiritual tradition, would find new ways of expression
and growth throughout Great Britain and the English-speaking world.
Many of you are aware that the FISC has been struggling to survive
for a number of years.
Academic programmes were redesigned; external
validation of programmes was discontinued; teaching and support staff
were reduced in number; securing visas for students who needed them
remained a challenge; the number of qualified friars from the ranks of
the founding Orders to assume staff positions decreased; student
enrolment has not been able to offset operational costs.
year we have no students enrolled in the Franciscan Studies Certificate
or the Training for Franciscan Formation Certificate. The Ecumenical
Training Programme in Spiritual Direction continues to thrive, and we
are hopeful that the Resident Training in Spiritual Direction programme
to be offered in Trinity Term will succeed in attracting a sufficient
number of students to allow the programme to run one last time.
During the Summer and Autumn several proposals were made by
supporters of FISC to restructure the Centre. The Trustees expressed
their gratitude for these initiatives. In the end, the Trustees judged
that the adverse conditions of the past five years have put the FISC in
an unrecoverable state.
Despite the sadness we feel today we cannot forget the innumerable
blessings that the FISC represents. So many people have shared life
experiences in our chapel, library, classrooms and refectory. So much
learning has taken place as some spoke and others listened. So many good
things have happened here. We want to celebrate these blessings, and
planning has already begun. We are mindful and grateful for the
forty-six years of the FISC's existence.'
Fr Thomas Reist OFM Conv