Sharing Faith and Service

Father Mike Higgins of the Franciscan School of Theology.


This summer, the Franciscan School of Theology (FST) will relocate to the University of San Diego campus from its current home in Oceanside, California. The graduate-level school has a mission to prepare women and men for professional ministry in the Roman Catholic Church, careers in theological education and living a life dedicated to solidarity with those on the margins of society.

“Our move builds upon our relationship with USD and provides FST an opportunity to explore new ways of expressing and sharing our faith and service,” says FST President Father Michael Higgins (pictured), who’s excited about having his school and its students physically on USD’s campus.

“This will allow our students to take advantage of USD’s student services. And being in close proximity will let us build upon our affiliation even more.”

In 2013, USD and FST entered into an affiliation agreement that allows FST graduate students to enroll in selected USD graduate courses as well as in certain undergraduate philosophy courses. Likewise, USD students may complement their graduate education with select coursework in theological studies through FST. “Even though FST will remain an independent graduate school of theology, we hope to be active collaborators with the great USD faculty here on campus,” says Father Higgins.

“We’re excited about bringing together the spiritual, theological and social riches of the Franciscan tradition and USD’s excellence in contemporary sciences, nonprofit management, public service, peace work and more. USD’s strong dedication to its Catholic heritage and its vibrant Catholic community create a supportive environment for graduate studies in theology in the Franciscan intellectual tradition,” says Father Higgins.

FST temporary facilities at USD will be located adjacent to the St. Francis Center for Priestly Formation.

“As an anchor institution for the region, we look forward to warmly welcoming FST faculty and graduate students to the USD campus community in the coming months,” says USD President James T. Harris.

Father Higgins is a living example of the benefits of academic inquiry. After entering the Franciscan community at the age of 27, he subsequently earned a master’s in divinity, a second master’s in sacred theology, and a third master’s in spirituality. He then received a doctorate in Franciscan history and spirituality along with a PhD in higher education administration.

He’s well aware that having so many degrees is a bit unusual. “I didn’t start out trying to collect degrees,” he says. “But it just seemed a natural progression in getting the intellectual and academic background necessary to do ministry well.” — Julene Snyder

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