William Short, OFM

Professor of Spirituality



Name: William Short, OFM
Specialization: The Writings of Francis and Clare of Assisi; Franciscan Spirituality
Phone: 619.574.5800


“My great passion is to help others unpack the revolutionary insights of Francis and Clare of Assisi. It is amazing to realize that these two friends had a vision of an inclusive Church community 800 years ago. I am delighted to be at the Franciscan School where I have the freedom to explore their wonderful vision and do that in a community of brothers and sisters trying to live that vision today.”


Brother Bill was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. After graduating from the University of San Francisco, he entered the novitiate of the Franciscan Friars of St. Barbara Province, making his solemn profession of vows in 1978. After graduate studies in Berkeley and Rome, he was appointed to a teaching position at FST, where he has subsequently served as Academic Dean and President. In addition to his academic work, he is also an amateur wine-maker, a native-plant gardener, and an interpreter – translator for many international Franciscan meetings.



  • S.T.D. Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome
  • S.T.L. Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome
  • MA Franciscan School of Theology, GTU, Berkeley
  • BA University of San Francisco


The Franciscan Contemplative Tradition

An exploration of predominant themes in Franciscan spiritual writing with special attention to Bonaventure, Angela of Foligno, Franciscan mystics and contemplatives and the Eremetical tradition 13th to 17th centuries.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents

Presents the principal events in the life of Francis of Assisi and discusses the historical context of early Franciscan documents written between 1228 and 1280. Students will be able to offer a critical reading of early Franciscan documents according to the peculiar emphases of each text.

Writings of Francis and Clare of Assisi

A careful reading of the complete writings of the two saints of Assisi, exploring their “Gospel form of life,” the bases of Francis-Clarian spirituality; their images of God, Christ, Church, and the human person. All texts are available in English translation.

Select Publications


Saints in the World of Nature: The Animal Story as Spiritual Parable in Medieval Latin Hagiography (Rome: Pontifical Gregorian University, 1983).

The Franciscans (Collegeville MN: The Liturgical Press/Michael Glazier Books, 1989).

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, (with R. Armstrong, W. Hellmann, eds.), 3 Vols (+ Index) (Hyde Park NY: New City Press, 1999-2002).

Thomas of Celano, The Francis Trilogy. The Life of Saint Francis, The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul, The Treatise on the Miracles of Saint Franci. (with R. Armstrong, W. Hellmann, eds) (Hyde Park NY: New City Press, 2004).

Poverty and Joy: The Franciscan Tradition (London/ Maryknoll NY: Darton, Longman & Todd; Orbis Books, 1999).

United States Documents in the Propaganda Fide Archives Vol. 12 (editor) (Berkeley: Academy of American Franciscan History, 2002).

United States Documents in the Propaganda Fide Archives Vol. 13 (editor) (Berkeley: Academy of American Franciscan History, 2006).

Book Translations

Paolo Sacchi, Jewish Apolcalyptic: A History (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997).

Maria Pia Alberzoni, Clare of Assisi and the Poor Sisters in the Thirteenth Century (St. Bonaventure NY: The Franciscan Institute, 2004).


“Eden Restored: A Medieval Vision of Saints and Nature,” Continuum (Spring, 1992).

“Hagiographical Method in Reading Franciscan Sources,” Laurentianum (1994), repr. in Greyfriars Review (1996).

“Popular Religion: The Turn of the Last Millennium,” Chicago Studies, 37: 268-279 (December, 1998).

“Recovering Lost Traditions in Spirituality: Franciscans, Camaldolese and the Hermitage,” Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality 3:2 (Fall 2003) 209-218.

“Francis, the ‘New’ Saint in the Tradition of Christian Hagiography: Thomas of Celano’s Life of Saint Francis,”in Jay M. Hammond, ed., Francis of Assisi: History, Hagiography and Hermeneutics in the Early Documents (Hyde Park, New York: New City Press, 2004).

“The Conversions of Francis of Assisi,”, Listening: Journal of Religion and Culture (Spring 2006) (commemorative issue for 800th Anniversary of the conversion of Francis of Assisi).

“Hendrik Herp, OFM, Directory of Contemplatives: Book Three,” trans. and intro. (St. Bonaventure NY: The Franciscan Institute) in Festschrift honoring Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F. (Franciscan Studies, 2006)

(Chapter): “From Contemplation to Inquisition: The Franciscan Practice of Recogimiento in 16th Century Spain,” in Timothy Johnson, ed., Franciscans at Prayer (Leyden: Brill, 2007).

(Chapters) “The Earlier Rule,” “The Later Rule,” “Fragments on an Earlier Rule,” in M. Blastic, ed., The Writings of Francis of Assisi: Rules, Testament and Admonitions Rules (St. Bonaventure NY: Franciscan Institute) 2011.

(Chapter) “The Rule and Life of the Friars Minor,” M. Robson, ed., The Cambridge Companion to St. Francis of Assisi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) 2011.

(Chapter) “Preface,” in Christopher Stace, A sua immagine/ In His Image: The Life of St. Francis in the frescoes of the Convent in Borgo a Mozzano (Borgo a Mozzano, Italy: Maria Pacini Fazzi Editore, 2016) 8-9.

(Article) “The Liber de conformitate of Bartholomew of Pisa and its Sibylline and Prophetic Literature,” Carthaginensia 31(Enero-Diciembre 2015) 881-899.

(Article) “A Neglected Classic of Franciscan Spirituality, the Book of Conformities of Bartholomew of Pisa,” Berkeley Journal of Theology and Religion 2:2 (2016) 80-106.

Audio Visual

St. Francis of Assisi: A New Way of Being Christian. Lecture Series (Now You Know Media, 2007)

The Treasure of a Poor Man: St. Francis of Assisi and Franciscan Spirituality. Lecture Series (Rockville MD: Now You Know Media, 2008)

The Franciscan Intellectual Tradition. Lecture Series (Now You Know Media, 2009)

Saints and Animals. Lecture Series (Now You Know Media, 2010)

A Franciscan Retreat. Lecture Series (Now You Know Media, 2011)

Saint Bonaventure: The Soul’s Journey into God. Lecture Series (Now You Know Media, 2012)

The Writings of St. Francis of Assisi/ Los Escritos de San Francisco de Asís. Lecture Series (Oceanside CA: Franciscan School of Theology – Avalon Media, 2016)


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