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San Damiano Scholars Program
Marian University
San Damiano Scholars Program 

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Eight centuries ago in the Italian town of Assisi, a young man named Francis prayed in the crumbling little church of San Damiano. As he knelt before the crucifix, Francis heard Christ speak: “Francis, go rebuild my church, which is falling down.” Soon, Francis understood that the voice called him to rebuild not the physical structure, but the Church—the body of believers.

At Marian University, our mission is to be a Catholic university dedicated to excellent teaching and learning in the Franciscan and liberal arts traditions. As St. Francis was called to rebuild the Church, so we believe that it is part of our responsibility to prepare students for ordained ministry or religious life, for lay leadership, and for careers pursued in light of the call to service from God.


Applicants for the San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership Award must:

  • Have completed the Marian University admissions application process and been admitted in good standing.
  • Have earned a minimum 3.25 grade point average (4.00 scale) and a minimum composite score of 1100 on the SAT (critical reading and mathematics sub scores combined).
  • Demonstrate involvement in the church or religious organization.
  • Demonstrate service to others.
  • Demonstrate leadership abilities.
  • Commit to an educational and formational experience framed within the context of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Statement, “Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry” and Marian University’s Franciscan values of dignity of the individual, peace and justice, reconciliation, and responsible stewardship.

Application Process

  1. Applicants must complete the admission process and have been admitted to Marian University no later than January 1, 2013.
  2. Applicants must complete and submit the San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership Award Application no later than December 1, 2012. This application requires at least two letters of recommendation.
  3. Eligible candidates will be invited by phone to participate in one of two San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership Award interview days which will be held on Saturday, February 09, and Saturday, February 16, 2013.


Awards are given by the leadership team of the San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership based on a number of factors:

  • The candidate’s record of involvement and achievement in religious organizations, school, and community as evidenced in the application and interview;
  • Relationship with God as evidenced by involvement in church-related activities and prayer life;
  • Understanding of one’s vocation;
  • Commitment to being involved in church after graduation;
  • Openness to others;
  • Openness to a communal experience; and
  • Potential contribution to the program and Marian University.

Award notifications are made by phone the second week of March.


The San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership Award is renewable for seven consecutive semesters by meeting expectations in four areas: curricular, co-curricular, general, and post-graduate:

Curricular Expectations

  • Maintaining a 2.50 accumulative grade point average
  • Successfully complete THL 270 “The Franciscan Person” coursework
  • Degree requirements and theological exploration of vocation curricular requirements:
  • Students majoring in Catholic studies, pastoral leadership, religious education, and theology need at least 36 hours of theology courses.
  • Education majors need to be enrolled in the Catholic School Educator Preparation Program and take a minimum of 13 hours of theology courses.
  • Nursing majors need a minimum of 14-15 hours of theology courses.
  • Business and all other majors need 22 hours of theology courses.

Co-Curricular Expectations

  • Attend mandatory monthly meetings (third Sunday of each month)
  • Perform eight hours of service each month
  • Complete service reports on time (due on the 2nd of every month)
  • Complete a theological reflection paper every month (due on the 2nd)
  • Attend the mandatory scholar orientation program (August)
  • Attend the mandatory scholar retreat (March)
  • Successfully complete sophomore service projects (sophomore year)
  • Successfully complete internships in the junior and senior years
  • Complete the self-evaluation (spring)
  • Attend Franciscan Speaker Series events (fall and spring)
  • Gather every four to six weeks with your San Damiano Scholar small faith sharing group

General Expectations

  • Attend one religious service during the week in addition to Sunday worship
  • Be involved in campus life by being a leader
  • Utilize spiritual direction/spiritual companionship
  • Make a pilgrimage to Assisi (optional)

Post-Graduate Expectations

  • Church-related employment or significant volunteer service in a religious organization
  • Ongoing involvement in the “Rebuild My Church” program