Cross ChapelTradition




Bernardine of Siena - St. Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444) is the patron of the college. The original name of the college was St. Bernardine of Siena College and the friary is St. Bernardine of Siena Friary. St. Bernardine of Siena was a Franciscan Friar who lived at the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th centuries. He was a famous preacher who also risked his life to assist victims of the plague. He popularized devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus-thus the emblem of the Holy Name on the seal of the college. Coincidentally, St. Bernardine's feast day is May 20 which often happens to be the day of Siena's commencement exercises. Back to glossary terms.



Clare - St. Clare (1193-1253), the daughter of a noble family, was the first woman to join St. Francis. She is in many ways the co-founder of the Franciscan movement. Back to glossary terms.

Francis - St. Francis (1182-1226), the son of a wealthy merchant, is one of the world's best known saints. He is noted for his single-hearted dedication to the imitation of Jesus Christ and for his ability to appreciate the sacramental nature of all creation. Back to glossary terms.



Feast - The Feast of St. Francis is celebrated each year on October 4th. A number of activities are usually planned to commemorate the day at Siena. Back to glossary terms.

Friary - The building in which the friars live. Our friary is St. Bernardine of Siena Friary. Back to glossary terms.


Habit - This is the name given to the garb that is worn by the friars. It consists of a long robe, a "capuche" or hood that is removable, and a rope around the waist. The rope has three knots which represent the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience that are taken by all friars. Back to glossary terms.

Mendicant - The Franciscan Friars are itinerants and mendicants--a fancy way of saying that we move around and engage in begging. Few friars are actually engaged in begging today, but we do take a vow of poverty, which entails turning over the ownership of all our possessions to the order. Please note that we are NOT monks, though this word is often used inappropriately to describe us. One of the main differences is that monks are attached to one monastery for their entire lives. Most friars live in a number of different houses during their lifetimes. Back to glossary terms.



Transitus - This word refers to the death, or "passing to eternal life" of St. Francis. Each year it is celebrated at Siena and in Franciscan communities around the world on the evening of October 3rd. Back to glossary terms.

Affiliate - This word has two meanings in the Franciscan movement. It sometimes refers to men who are in the first year of our program for incoming friars. It can also refer to persons who, because of their commitment to the friars or to Franciscan ideals, are given the habit and made "honorary" members of the Province. For example, the late Mrs. Connie Owens, former Director of Postal Services at Siena, was an affiliate of Holy Name Province. Back to glossary terms.

Brother or Father? — The word "friar" means brother. All of us are therefore brothers. Some of the brothers choose to become clergymen. They have chosen a path that allows them to preach, hear confessions, and preside at the Eucharist. These men are generally referred to as "Father."  Brothers and Fathers have equal status within the community; and no, there is no way to tell them apart without asking. Back to glossary terms.

Chapter - A chapter is an official gathering of friars to discuss business or spiritual affairs. A Chapter is the locus for legislative decision making among the friars. Chapters happen on several levels. At the Siena friary we hold a house chapter each month. Provincial chapters occur every three years. A provincial chapter is presided over by a visitor from a different province. It is his responsibility to visit every friar and to make recommendations for the future.  At the provincial chapter legislation is approved and elections are held for the provincial, the vicar provincial, and for the provincial council. An international chapter with representatives from provinces around the world provides a similar function on the global level every six years. Finally, there is a form of chapter called a "Chapter of Mats." It receives its name from a gathering during the life of St. Francis at which all the friars sat on mats. This type of chapter is not for business but for fraternal sharing and the enjoyment of each other's company. Back to glossary terms.

Franciscan Family — The Order of Friars Minor is one part of the Franciscan Family. Other large branches include the Order of Friars Minor, Conventual (OFM, Conv.) ; the Order of Friars Minor, Capuchin (OFM, Cap.); The Third Order Regular (TOR) and the Poor Clares. The first three are orders for men. The Poor Clares are a community of contemplative women. There are numerous other "active" orders for women—(ex. The Franciscan Sisters of Allegheny (OSF). The largest branch of the family is the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) which is comprised of several million lay persons who belong to local fraternities and may be married or single.  Back to glossary terms.

O.F.M. - Letters appearing at the end of a friar's name.  O.F.M. stands for Order of Friars Minor, roughly speaking the Order of Lesser Brothers. It does not stand for Old Fat Men or Out For Money. Back to glossary terms.



Province — The Franciscan Order (Order of Friars Minor) is divided into jurisdictional and geographical entities known as Provinces. The Friars at Siena College belong to the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. (The symbol of the Holy Name is found on the Siena College Seal.) The head office of our province is at St. Francis of Assisi Friary on West 31st Street in New York City. We are sometimes referred to as the "New York Province." There are approximately 350 friars in our province (24 at Siena). We minister to people from our friaries on the east coast of the United States. Some members of our province work in countries outside the borders of the United States. In 2001 we celebrated the 100th anniversary of our province's founding. Back to glossary terms.

St. Francis Chapel, Wolf Road - Some of the friars who reside at St. Bernardine of Siena Friary are not engaged in college ministry. A number of these friars work at a chapel located at Shoppers Park, 145 Wolf Road in Colonie. The chapel provides opportunities for mass and confession. It also provides educational programs for adults. The director of the chapel is Fr. Gerard Lee, O.F.M. Back to glossary terms.



General Minister - Often referred to as the Minister General, this friar is considered the successor of St. Francis. He has as his charge, the oversight of the entire order. He resides in Rome at a place known as the "Curia." The current General Minister is Fr. José Rodríguez Carballo from the Province of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The previous General Minister was Fr. Giacomo Bini, O.F.M. of Italy. A few years ago, we were honored by a visit from Fr. Giacomo. At that time he received an honorary degree from Siena.

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Guardian — The Friar charged with oversight of a local community. The Guardian of the Siena Friary is currently Fr. William L. Beaudin, O.F.M. Back to glossary terms.


Provincial Minister - The provincial minister is the friar who oversees a particular province. He is commonly called "The Provincial" and his place of residence is sometimes called the provincialate. The Provincial Minister is elected at a Chapter and serves a term of six years. He may be re-elected for one more three year term, but may not serve more than nine years. The current Provincial of Holy Name Province is Fr. John O'Connor, O.F.M. The Provincial is always a member of the Siena College Board of Trustees. It is also the Provincial who officially "assigns" a friar to Siena after a period of consultation and preparation. Because of our vow of obedience, all friars need to ask the Provincial's permission to accept an offer of employment, and offers from Siena are no exception.  The Provincial is assisted by a Provincial Vicar (Fr. Dominic Monti, O.F.M.) and a Council of six friar advisors elected by the chapter. Two friars from Siena currently serve on the Provincial Council: Br. Brian Belanger and Fr. Bill Beaudin.   Back to glossary terms.

Vicar - The friar who oversees the local friary in the absence of the Guardian. The vicar also assists the Guardian in the management of Friary affairs. Back to glossary terms.