From May 15 to June 12 2023, the Order once again gave our young friars from Africa the opportunity to take part in the “Assisi Experience,” a continuing formation event also known as the Rivotorto Course.

The main purpose of this “experience” is to acquaint new generations of friars with the spirit and history of the Franciscan movement, a movement which began in the thirteenth century. During the experience, friars gain first-hand experience of different Franciscan places and learn about the origins of Christianity in Italy. Normally the participants are friars who have been solemnly professed or ordained to the priesthood for five years or less.
This year’s eight participants came from the Province of St. Francis of Assisi in Kenya, the Provincial Custody of St. Anthony of Padua in Ghana and the Provincial Custody of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in Tanzania.
They visited two important places regarding Conventual Franciscan formation, namely the Sacred Convent in Assisi and the Seraphicum College in Rome.
The course was organized by the Assistant General for the African Federation of Conventual Franciscans (AFCOF), Friar Anthony Bezo KUTIERO, and various other friars who made valuable contributions in the areas of spirituality, history, and the apostolate through lectures on the origins of the Franciscan experience and current challenges facing the Order. Due to binding commitments, the Assistant General for the AFCOF Federation asked Friar Tadeusz ŚWIĄTKOWSKI to take over leadership of the course. Friar Tadeusz is a former Assistant General for the AFCOF Federation and is currently a member of the Sacred Convent in Assisi.
The Order is currently present in seven countries in Africa: Zambia (since 1930); Ghana (since 1979); Kenya (since 1984); Tanzania (since 1988); Uganda (since 2001); Burkina Faso (since 2001); and Malawi (since 2008—when the Province of the Franciscan Protomartyrs in Zambia opened a mission there).
In Africa, there is a strong surge of vocations to the Order. Formation is conducted in common with the other Franciscan families. There three common novitiates, one in Itimpi, Zambia, one in Saltpond, Ghana and one in Arusha, Tanzania. Philosophy studies are undertaken at the Inter-Franciscan Center in Lusaka, Zambia and in Accra, Ghana. Theology studies take place at the Interreligious College in Nairobi, Kenya. All of the current formators are from Africa. They urgently need solid, Conventual Franciscan continuing formation in order to form new vocations well.
The participants in this important experience sincerely thank the Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVARELLI; the General Custos of the General Custody of the Sacred Convent of St. Francis in Italy (Assisi), Friar Marco MORONI; the friars of the Custody of Assisi; the Community of the Seraphicum College in Rome; and the whole Order, for sponsoring the course, for their kind and fraternal welcome, and for their witness of the Conventual Franciscan life and charism.